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Full text of "Sonepore reminiscences. Years 1840-96"





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RiHEffflEHINH 







c7&. \sVury&e -S/sY/ //<// 











HARRY ABBOTT. 



Calcutta: 

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED AT THE "STAR" PRESS, 
19, LALL BAZAR STREET. 

1896. 



S F3 



HENRY MORSE 



DEDICATION. 



To my dearest and best friend, Mr. J. J. McLeod, I dedi- 
cate these reminiscences, for no one has done more to support 
Sonepore, than the brave Highland gentleman and keen 
sportsman, who, since 1862, has scarcely missed a meeting, and 
who has run and ridden hundreds of horses on its course, 
during his long and honored racing career. One, too, whom the 
officials have ever held in respect and estimation, not only 
as a model landlord, planter, and volunteer, but one who has 
been most useful to them as an adviser, and who was once told, 
and told truthfully, by a Civilian, that he was a bright example 
to both white and black. " Ave Jimmy Chumparun Imperator." 

H. E. ABBOTT. 



511464 



PREFACE. 



MY object in publishing these reminiscences is to hand 
down to future visitors as correct a history as is possible of 
meetings of bye-gone years, when under the mangoe groves 
the best sportsmen, and the best horses in India used to 
collect, meetings at which the parents of many of the young- 
sters who now frequent Sonepore, plighted their troths. It 
has not been a light task, for scant indeed are the records of 
ancient days, and it has taken me six months to compile what 
follows. My thanks are due to Mr. Minden Wilson for recalling 
to my recollection many an amusing anecdote, and for the 
account of Lord Mayo's reception of the great Jung Bahadoor, 
which I have copied from his little book " Reminiscences of 
Behar." Mr. Frank Vincent has also kindly put me right 
as to one or two errors which crept into the original M. S. S. 
published in' the Indian Planters' Gazette. But long as the 
work has taken, it has been a labour of love ; for exiled as I 
have been in India for over thirty-fidHP years and with only 
a five weeks' holiday to England ad interim, Sonepore has 
been to me what Christmas is to home folk. I can never forget 
and never repay the kindness and courtesy which have been 
accorded me by my brother Stewards, especially Mr. R. S. 
Lockart, ever since I have acted as their Honorary Secretary. 
My happiest hours have been spent at the dear old meeting 
under the trees, and if I have gushed a bit too much over the 
men and horses of my time, I can only plead for forgiveness. 
With infinite sadness of heart has it been my heavy task as 
Editor of the Indian Planters' Gazette to chronicle the 
deaths of many of my dear old pals, but the memories of poor 
Monty Turnbull, Albert Mangles, Gwatkin Williams, George 
Thomas, Willie Elliot and Sammy Ayres, will remain green 
with old Soneporeans till the last of us crosses the bourne. 

H. E. ABBOTT. 



CONTENTS 



PAGES. 

CHAPTER I. EARLY YEARS ....... i 

CHAPTER II. YEAR 1840-46 ....... 6 

CHAPTER III. YEAR 1847 . ....... 10 

CHAPTER IV. YEAR 1848 ....... 12 

CHAPTER V. YEAR 1849 ..... .16 

CHAPTER VI. YEARS 1850-51 . f . 20 
CHAPTER VII. YEARS 1852-53 ...... -25 

CHAPTER VIII. YEARS 1854-55 ...... 28 

CHAPTER IX. YEAR 1856 ........ 36 

CHAPTER X. YEARS 1857-58 UP TO 1864 .... 41 

CHAPTER XI. YEAR 1865 ........ 47 

CHAPTER XII. YEAR 1866 ...... . 49 

CHAPTER XIII. YEAR 1867 . . . . . . . . 56 

CHAPTER XIV. YEAR 1868 ....... 60 

CHAPTER XV. YEAR 1869 ........ 65 

CHAPTER XVI. YEAR 1870 ....... 69 

\JCHAPTER XVII. YEAR 1871 %- . ^ ...... 70 

CHAPTER XVIII. YEAR 1872 ...... 86 

CHAPTER XIX. YEAR 1873 . . . * . . 92 

CHAPTER XX. YEAR 1874 ....... 97 

CHAPTER XXI. YEAR 1875 ....... 102 

CHAPTER XXII. YEAR 1876 ....... 107 

CHAPTER XXIII. YEAR 1877 ....... no 

CHAPTER XXIV. YEAR 1878 ...... 115 

CHAPTER XXV. YEAR 1879 .122 

CHAPTER XXVI. YEAR 1880 . . . . . . 126 

CHAPTER XXVII. YEAR 1881 ^^ ...... 136 

CHAPTER XXVIII. YEAR i8&2*\ ..... 147 

CHAPTER XXIX. YEAR 1883 ....... 158 

CHAPTER XXX. YEAR 1884 ....... 161 

CHAPTER XXXI. YEAR 1885 ..... . 167 

CHAPTER XXXII. YEAR 1886 . ..... 174 

CHAPTER XXXIII. YEAR 1887 ....... 188 

CHAPTER XXXIV. YEAR 1888 ..... 194 



viii CONTENTS. 

PAGES. 

CHAPTER XXXV. YEAR 1889 .200 

CHAPTER XXXVI. YEAR 1890 209 

CHAPTER XXXVII. YEAR 1891 218 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. YEAR 1892 228 

CHAPTER XXXIX. YEAR 1893 . . . . . .232 

CHAPTER XL. YEAR 1894 ....... 241 

CHAPTER XLI. YEAR 1895 3^'v/ 270 

CHAPTER XLII. YEAR 1896 298 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



CHAPTER I. 
EARLY YEARS. 

THE raison d'etre of the yearly European gathering at 
Sonepore is of course the fair, which the local officials have to 
attend to keep order, and see to the sanitary arrangements. 
In the olden days planters visited it to buy horses, and gra- 
dually it has become one of the most popular and enjoyable 
social gatherings in the country. Its racing has had its ups 
and downs ; at one time it held pride of place and in the sixties 
and seventies was known as the Goodwood of India. Latterly 
the breaking up of the local stables of Lall Seryah, Jaintpore, 
and Burhowley, added to the superior attractions of meetings 
like Lucknovv, and Calcutta, have combined to make it less 
patronised than of yore. But there is no other meeting 
throughout the length and breadth of the land, where visitors 
can enjoy themselves so thoroughly. There is not an idle 
moment from beginning to end, every camp is free of the 
others, strangers find such a warm welcome that they feel at 
home from the very first, and three days racing, and three 
balls, with cricket, tennis, polo, gymkhanas, and other fun 
thrown in, satisfy even the most exigeunt epicurean. 

It would be interesting, were it possible, to collect facts 
showing when the fair began to be held and its origin. There 
can be no doubt that the particular spot was chosen on account 
of its sanctity being situated at the confluence of the Gun- 
duck and the Ganges, such junctions being considered especial- 
ly holy by the Hindus. The " Salig Ram " or Gunduck 
is mentioned in the Ramayana, and is the river where the 
Saligrami is said to be found to this day. The story of the 
origin of the fair is thus told : Once upon a time in days of 



HEMIWSGERGES OF SONEPORE. 



yore, just where the Gunduck pours its waters into the Ganges, 
there was a terrible fight between an elephant and an alligator, 
the two monsters of the land and water. In those days Sone 
pore was a wilderness, and elephants roamed about there free- 
ly. When the battle was raging at its fiercest, both the com- 
batants invoked the help of their respective gods. The two gods 
came to the spot at once and brought about an amicable settle- 
ment between the two foes. In token of their friendship and the 
kind intercession of the deities, both the combatants asked to 
be allowed to build a temple on the spot to be called after the 
two gods. The permission was granted and the temple of 
Hori Hora was built which is simply a combination of the 
names of Vishnu and Siva and represents the union of the 
two deities in one a combination which is variously account- 
ed for. Chattar means a collection or gathering, an assem- 
bly ; thus we have the origin of the Hori Hor Chattar Mela. 
The fair was never held on such a large scale as it is now. 
It began to resume this proportion about 50 years ago. The 
fair extends about three miles North and South and two miles 
East and West. The temple of Hori Hora is the principal 
place of worship, but smaller temples have sprung up chief 
among which are the Kali As than and Panch Diota Mandil, 
which claim pilgrims' donations and offerings. There are 
others of minor importance but a pious pilgrim, to derive the 
full benefit from his pilgrimage, must visit and do devotion in 
all the temples. 

The Panch Diota Mandil which is a collection of various 
deities is presided over, strange to say, by a Priestess. She 
says she has built the temple with the offerings she has collected 
herself single-handed, and has now taken up her quarters per- 
manently there. It is an unusual sight to see a Hindu 
priestess in these days especially one who is such a fine woman 
as the " Maiji" as she is called. She is a grand old lady, and 
appears from her talk to be a native of Guzerat. But she can 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



never be induced, people say, to enter into her previous 
history, so there is a good deal of mystery attaching to her. 
No one knows whence she came, or how she collected the 
large sum of money which has enabled her to build the temple. 
People say when she arrived here twenty-five years ago 
she had an immense quantity of valuable jewellery about her. 
She is still handsome, is much fairer than natives of these parts 
and speaks intelligently and is not above accepting an offering 
from any one. She has a brother disciple in the same temple, 
who is also a native of Guzerat, and people say both are very 
respectably connected ( some say the old lady is a Rani ) and 
have left their home to become fakirs or sadhus being weary 
of the vanities of this w r orld. The old lady has her hair tied in 
a coil on the top of her head, which, with the ornaments she 
puts on, gives her quite a dignified and queenly appearance.. 
The temple of Hori. Hora Nath has at present an English 
speaking mohant, by name Gobind Gir. He is a native of 
Patna, and was adopted by the old Mohant and educated in 
the Zillah school of Chapra. He is the junior disciple. The 
senior disciple Jai Keshun Gir who ought to have succeeded, 
turned out to be a spendthrift, and so the junior disciple was 
elected. The present Mohant is very intelligent and affable 
and claims acquaintance with all the big rajas of India. 

Previous to some fifty years ago, the Sonepore Race 
Meeting was held on the Tirhoot side of the Gunduck at Ha- 
jeepore, but the course got so cut away, that it was necessary 
to choose a fresh site, and the present track at Sonepore was 
laid out. Up to some ten years back, the ruins of the old 
grandstand were still in evidence on the banks of the river. 
Even in those days the fields were small, three or four being 
the average number of starters in each race, but they were 
the best horses in the country, and competition was keen. 
Owners were not merely Military Officers and planters, but the 
old Haileybury Civilians were keen as mustard, and patronised 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



the turf right royally. In 1806 after the British Army had re- 
turned from pursuing the fugitive Holkar, we find young Lieute- 
nant Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert winning both the Behar Plates 
at Hajeepore, Sir Walter only retired in 1852, and he was then 
Major General and a K.C.B., but he raced all the time he 
was in India. 

In 1833 the Hajeepore Race Meeting was a four days' 
one, and was run by a Lieutenant Gwatkin of the Pusa Stud, 
the races all of a mile and a half, or more, were run in heats. 
Arabs predominated ; in fact no provision was made in the 
programme, for any classes but Arabs and country -breds. In 
1834 and for the next few years, a Mr. D. W. Fraser, who 
had be^n a great racing man on the Bombay and Madras side, 
was transferred to Sarun, and acted as Secretary ; he rode and 
raced under the name of Mr. Hill, and won a good many races 
with his string, both in 1834 and succeeding years, on our local 
courses. A famous Arab called Hoomayoon ran at Hajeepore 
in 1834. He afterwards, like poor Sting, dropped down dead in 
Calcutta, after passing the post, having won his race. On the 
third day of that year the Beharites witnessed one of the 
gamest struggles ever seen on a race course Five heats were 
run for the mile and three quarters, hundred gold mohur cup. 
Four Arabs, and a country-bred mare, competed, the mare 
Sapphire, broke down in the third heat, Mr. Charles' Godolphin 
ridden by Mr. Fraser, proved the winner. In those days the 
gathering of fair ladies was not as numerous as in 1896 and 
scarce a dozen graced the ball room. Neither did champagne 
flow as nowadays, our forbears contenting themselves with 
the beer of old England. Hodgson's was the favorite tipple 
then, Hodgson was a very handsome man and ran away with 
the lovely Mrs. Trower, wife of an Indian Army officer, she 
was one of the reigning beauties of Paris for many years after- 
wards. Edwin Abbott, grandfather to Harry, was Hodgson's 
partner in the Sun Brewery at Wapping, and Bow Brewery on 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



the Lee, and they made a lot of money out of their " rare good 
stingo ". The following was a song which used to be sung at 
many a pigstick party and race meeting in the thirties, forties 
and fifties. 

Who has not tasted of Hodgson's pale beer 
With its flavour the finest that hops ever gave ? 
It drives away sadness, it banishes fear, 
And imparts a glad feeling of joy to the grave. 

! to drink it at morning, when just from our bed 
We rise unrefreshed, and to breakfast sit down, ' 
The froth-crested brimmer we raise to our head, 
And in swigging off Hodgson, our sorrows we drown. 

Or to drink it at tiffin, when thirsty and warm, 
We say to the khidmutgar, ' bring me some beer,' 
Soon, soon do we feel its most magical charm, 
And quickly the eatables all disappear. 

Or at ev'ning, when home from our ride we return, 
And jaded and weary we sit down to dine ; 
We ask but for Hodgson, and willingly spurn 
The choicest the dearest the rarest of wine. 

Then hail to thee Hodgson! of Brewers the head, 

Thy loss we in India would sadly bewail; 

May you live long and happy, and when you are dead, 

1 will think of you daily whilst drinking your ale. 

Two days were always devoted to racing at Hajeepore in 
those days, and the present Australian trainers and jockeys 
were unknown in the land. Neat and dapper little Englishmen, 
sent out from the best home stables, trained and rode in the 
forties, fifties and sixties, their masters occasionally figuring 
in the pigskin as well. Among the professionals in the early 
forties, was a dry old original, named Jack Barnett, who like 
many of his class dearly loved to get full whenever opportunity 
offered ; and who was, in consequence, always changing his 
situations, but he was a good man in the saddle, if locked up 
the night before the race. Jack was a married man, but his 
spouse unable to stand his vagaries, left him, and afterwards 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



contracted a bigamous marriage with an up-country parson. 
The news of this did not seem to affect Master Jack much, he 
merely remarked that she always was fond of the Church, and 
that he wished the parson joy of her. Jack's education was 
not of the highest order, and some of his epistles were fully 
as delicious as any of Teddy Weekes' graphic productions. 
Over each horse's stall he had a board covered with foolscap, 
on which he used to note the amount of grain allowed the 
occupant. Here is one of his masterpieces of orthography : 
' Gra fille wun ser hots for gram', which being interpreted 
meant, 'grey filly, one seer oats, four gram.' Another equally 
amusing effort read as follows : ( Ba kolt, three ser hots three 
gras' which meant 'bay colt, three seers oats, three grass. 

One of the last races the old man rode was at Hajeepore, 
when he won the Meturjee Cup on Mr. Hill's Smoker after 
three severe heats. A straight and honest servant, with but 
the one failing, a too well defined love of the "craythur." It 
was in 1839 that the races had to be run at Sonepore, the 
programme for the first meeting was headed " The Sonepore 
Park Meeting" and the first event run for, was a Silver Break- 
fast Set presented by the Stud officers, it was won by Mr. 
Eraser. Mr. Burgess acted as Honorary Secretary and Messrs. 
Lushington, Napier and Captain Arthur were Stewards. This 
was the first year of Kenneth McLeod's racing career. 



CHAPTER II. 
YEARS 1840-46. 

As far back as 1840 we find the Maharajahs of Hutwa, 
Dumraon, Bettiah, and Durbungah, presenting cups, so that for 
close on sixty years they have been generous patrons of the 
local turf. Chutterdharee Sahee Bahadoor was then on the 
throne of Hutwa, while the proud house of Bettiah was re- 
presented by Rajah Newul Kishore Singh Bahadoor. In 1844 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 7 

Captain Lovatt, Mr. DeVaux, and Mr. Lovell were the chief 
winners. That grand old indigo planter Mr. McLeod (not 
the well beloved Jimmy of our days) only pulling off one race, 
the Ladies' Purse with his grey Arab Gregor. 

In 1845 and 1846 much the same lot of sportsmen were 
to the fore, with the addition to their number of Mr. Thomas, 
a Mr. Norval, and a gentleman racing under the nom dc 
course .of Mr. Namreh, which but thinly veiled the identity 
of Mr. Sherman, Managing Proprietor of the Jeetwarpore 
Indigo concern, in the Tirhoot district. Till he got broke 
over Indigo, Mr. Sherman was a staunch supporter of both the 
Sonepore and MozufTerpore Meetings, and some years after- 
wards his youngest son George, followed worthily in his 
father's footsteps, owning at different times several good 
ones, notably Spider, Gamecock, Avenger, and many smart 
ponies. Both father and son were absolutely straight, ran for 
the true love of sport, and were most excellent losers. Cape 
horses were then well to the fore, and had a special scale of 
weights allotted them. Terribly meagre are the records of 
those days, for there was no Turf Club to force the easy-going 
Stewards and Secretaries to furnish a lucid description of the 
races, the riders' names or weights carried, and it was only 
when some Iccalite afflicted with the caccethes scribendi 
thought it incumbent to send an account to The Sporting 
Review, that we find any data to go upon. Frequently 
these accounts were written weeks after the meeting was 
over, were based on mere recollection, and are consequently 
scarcely reliable. A Doctor Sawyers was then one of 
the most consistent patrons of racing in India, and bore 
the proud title of Father of the Indian Turf. He owned, 
bred, and raced many good horses, Cape, English, Arabs and 
his own country-breds. He took his best Arabian, Selim, home 
with him in 1846, with a view of having a try for the Good- 
wood Cup, but of course the game little horse was no good 



8 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

against even English hacks. Mr. A. de H. Larpent, scion of a 
well-known old home family was Honorary Secretary of the 
Calcutta Races, backed up by Messrs. Moffatt-Mills, Hume, 
Patton (The Squire) and others. Perhaps one of the most 
remarkable differences between those and modern times, is the 
difference of treatment accorded to owners. Then owners 
were the chief donors of purses, and added to that, the charge 
for entries was abnormally large. In 1846 we find Mr. James 
Hume, who had taken over the reins of Calcutta, from Mr. A. de 
H. Larpent, sending round the hat for an Arab Dealers' Plate, 
and the dealers bled freely ; Abdool Ryman and the grand old 
Sheik Ibrahim putting down their hundred gold mohurs each 
and Mahomed Bin Ushur fifty, this merely as a preliminary. 
Then look at the terms of entry " five gold mohurs each, for 
horses named ist January, ten gold mohurs ist April, fifteen 
gold mohurs ist July, twenty gold mohurs for each horse de- 
clared to start. No horse to start whose owner has not sub- 
scribed at least fifty gold mohurs to the plate ! ! ! Great Scot 
if our ever popular " Flummery" signed his name nowadays 
to such a programme, would he escape scathing at the 
hands of sporting writers ? In a minor way, Sonepore and 
Mozufferpore followed suit. The former meeting advertised 
a forty gold mohur purse, but in addition to expensive entries 
the Stewards added a sweepstake of 15 gold mohurs as a 
tax on each starter, to be wolfed by the winner, nothing 
being voted for either second or third. In fact one looks through 
the programmes of those days, and searches in vain for any 
real encouragement to sport ; and be it remembered that 
there were then no blatant bookies, totalisators, or such other 
gambling mediums, as are in vogue nowadays ; so that it 
stands to reason men ran rather for love of sport than for 
filthy lucre. In forty-six, the day before the first day's fixture, 
the Sonepore course was under water, and no galloping was 
possible; just fancy the misery borne by the lovers of racing, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



camping under such circumstances. The bathing day fell 
early that year, and the first day's racing was consequently 
fixed for the 2gth October, nice and muggy it must have been, 
and feverish to boot. Two new owners appeared on the scene 
to do battle with the owners of the previous year's cracks, 
and fairly held their own, Messrs. Cunningham, and Fulton, 
the latter was Mr. George Powden ; Barnes and Sherburne 
were the only European professionals present at the meeting. 
Still in spite of the bad going, and goodness only knows what 
the experience of the martyred visitors tented on the saturated 
soil must have been, they spun out the meeting to six days, 
and seemingly managed to have fairly good fields through- 
out ; but the chronicles go to show that the gathering was 
confined chiefly to the inferior sex, and that fair women were 
decidedly in the minority ; whereas now the difficulty is to 
keep down their numbers. The problem of giving dances 
without champagne seems to be an acknowledged impossi- 
bility for secretaries to grasp successfully, and consequently 
while the racing always shows a surplus, the entertainments 
scarcely ever cover expenses. Comparatively alongside Sone- 
pore, was the then favorite health-seeker's resort, Monghyr, 
where one of the best sportsman India has ever been able 
to boast of, Mr. Wallace, the Calcutta tailor, had started a 
breeding stud, and some real clinkers he managed to turn 
out ; Meg Merrilies and Grace Darling, could give the best 
Arabs in India weights and beat them, and the straight-going 
old Snip collared three Viceroy's Cups with Monghyr country- 
breds, giving battle to English, Cape and Arab horses. Still 
does the dear old man, whose tall figure was, even when the 
writer arrived in India in 1862, a well-known landmark on the 
Calcutta course, live, and up among the banks and braes of 
Bonnie Doon, he can perhaps remember how he made for me 
my first set of colors, the black and yellow stripes which I 
have never forsaken. Moreover he refused to accept payment 



10 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

for them, on the ground that a youngster who did not mind 
what he got up on, should not be made to pay for his jacket. 
May he see the century out, but India will never be able to 
boast of a straighter or truer sportsman, than he, who for so 
many years held the flag at the premier meeting. Barker one 
of the best jockeys and trainers of those days was then train- 
ing at Mozufferpore, and he had some rare good ones under his 
charge, Battledore, Paris, Eous, Toby and others. Messrs. 
Darcy, Grey, and Fitzpatrick were additions to the Sonepore 
patrons in 1847, training at their own head centres, while Mr. 
Cunningham trained at Sonepore itself. Chupra, too, was not 
devoid of sporting elements, for a goodly array of horses used 
to appear every morning on its race course, Mr. DeVaux 
having at least a dozen in training, while Mr. Walker had some 
expensive ones, under the charge of a promising young amateur 
Mr. Forrester who in propria persona was Mr. Charles Camp- 
bell, a Civilian. Sonepore was then described by the sporting 
papers as the First Provincial Meeting in India. Mr. Hewett, the 
Opium Agent of Chupra, whose racing name was Mr. Hawke, was 
its Honorary Secretary, and it says something for the sporting 
feeling of the Chupra district, that up to date the residents have 
done their best not to let the time-honored fixture deteriorate. 



CHAPTER III. 
YEAR 1847. 

Eighteen-forty-seven seems to have been a most success- 
ful year. Mr. Hewett had evidently worked the meeting up, 
and for the first time on record six European professionals 
were seen donning silk for the Maiden Arab race Barker, 
Baker, Barnes, Watling, Ross and Sherburne. Mr. Fitzpat- 
rick's Honeysuckle won the blue ribbon after a good race with 
Mr. Fulton's Chancellor. 

The best race of all was, as is usual at Sonepore, the 
Durbangah Cup, a mfle and three quarters, George Barker 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. II 

when close to the winning post bringing up Mr. Green's Cape 
horse Battledore, and defeating by a neck Mr. Walker's 
bay Arab, Cadwallader, who was favorite, but the Welshman 
turned the tables on his conqueror the next day, and after 
winning the mile and three-quarters Chumparun Cup, this 
game Arab came out and beat Battledore, who was fresh, in a 
mile and a half sweepstakes, truly a grand performance. He 
also won the Sonepore Cup on the third day, and the Civilians' 
Cup on the fourth ; not starting on the fifth and sixth days as 
he had to return to Calcutta. Four wins and one second out 
of five starts ; and C. Barker declared he would have won the 
Durbangah Cup, but for being shut in at the distance. Mr. 
Fulton was the nom de course of Mr. George Plowden, a scion 
of a family which has always provided a vast majority of 
sportsmen to the country. It was in 1831 that George Plow- 
den, a long, lean weed of a sucking civilian, made his debut 
in silk at the Hajeepore meeting, he was built to ride, and his 
maiden effort was a winning one, over hurdles too, and against 
such good riders as Messrs. James, Charles Quintin and A. 
Dick, the latter a smasher. It was only in 1846 that he 
bloomed fourth as an owner. Another sportsman, better 
known to our Behar residents, who used to figure in the pig- 
skin at Hajeepore before the course was transferred to Sone- 
pore in 1839, was handsome Fred Collingridge, that wonder- 
ful old evergreen planter, who can still hold his own with the 
hounds in England. It was during this year, that the present 
father of the Behar planting community, Mr. Minden James 
Wilson, came up to Tirhoot from the Mauritius and started as 
an assistant at Kumtoul then under the management of Mr. 
James Wilson his elder brother ; Minden's first introduction to 
an indigo planter was when he arrived per palkee early in 
the morning at Mun jowl Factory, where he was received by 
Mr. Phil Crump, the manager, who was gorgeously arrayed in 
a black velvet cap, knee breeches, top boots and a bright 



12 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

colored dressing gown, a costume he seemingly never got out 
of, save when in bed. 



CHAPTER IV. 

YEAR 1848. 

During 1848 Mr. Hewett still held office, and elaborate 
indeed was the programme published for that year, but the 
meeting was still marred by the heavy disproportion of en- 
tries and stakes, 25 gold mohurs being the entrance money 
for the Rs. 500 Durbungah Cup. The rules laid down in those 
days, must have been a puzzle to owners, no less than thirty- 
seven appearing at the end of the programme ; yet entries 
were good, in spite of the heavy taxation, and the fact that times 
were more than usually bad, for this meeting followed on 
the disastrous failure of the Union Bank, which had been 
started by Mr. Larpent and Baboo Dwarkanath Tagore, and 
went smash, owing over a crore of rupees. Poor Dwarka- 
nath committed suicide. The closing of the Bank doors 
brought grief to hundreds of shareholders, and then to add 
to the troubles, the proud house of Cockerell and Company 
suspended payment. Still Sonepore was as gay as ever, 
and the pretty girls of Behar footed it none the less merrily 
than when the fickle goddess had smiled more sweetly upon her 
votaries. Honeysuckle, the game grey Arab, of Mr. Fitz- 
patrick, who was a sporting Calcutta dentist, and which ran so 
well the previous year, and at Calcutta had put down the mighty 
Elipoo, had met a watery grave when crossing the Ganges, in 
the illfated Benares ; Baker his trainer and rider going down 
too. But Mr. Fitzpatrick had a decent maiden Arab called 
Clear-the-way, and a couple of good maiden Australians, one, 
Woodbine, a fine looking mare ; Ould Ireland, and the Cape 
horse Sir Harry, were also among his string, which was now 
under the charge of Evans. On the Chupra course, the local 
sportsmen Messrs. DeVaux, Walker, and Grey, were working 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 13 

their respective lots, Mr. Campbell still training for the two 
latter sportsmen. Mr. DeVaux had Brunette a waler, a Cape 
yclept Voltaire, and a rattling good country-bred called Van- 
guard ; a maiden Arab Sultan, and others. Old Cadwal- 
lader, and Bendigo, a ragged-looking four year old English 
colt, Quicksilver, and Intrepid with a couple of country-breds 
comprised Mr. Grey's stud. G. Barker, and Hall, were 
training at Mozufferpore. Even Mirzapore could boast of 
a racing string that year, Mr. Fox having a Cape mare, and 
two maiden Arabs, training under C. Barker. The meet- 
ing of '48 was much marred by a lot of transfers among the 
local officials, which greatly affected the camps. Racing 
opened with the Sonepore Derby for maiden Arabs, for which 
six came to the post out of twenty entered, the favourite, 
Don Juan, ridden by Joy, won easily. The Don was the 
property of a gentleman running as Mr. Charles, in reality 
Mr. J. Johnstone, a real bruiser over a country. He was 
the first importer of any Australian of decent breeding, a 
chestnut, called Selim: The Sonepore Colonials was won 
by the local sportsman Mr. Campbell with his chestnut 
country-bred Pretender, ridden by Sherburne, beating three 
Australians, of whom Mr. Fitzpatrick's Woodbine was made 
a hot favourite. Sherburne followed up his luck by scoring 
again in the Durbungah Cup, winning it for Mr. Williams 
on an Australian mare called Greenmantle, the great Arab, 
Cadwallader, second. The surplus of funds accruing from 
the previous year had enabled Mr. Hewett to offer the hand- 
some prize of sixteen hundred rupees for a 2\ mile handicap. 
They were not afraid of distances then. An attempt was 
made that year to inaugurate a Behar Turf Club, but it 
fell through for want of unanimity. The Bettiah Cup, on 
the second day, fell to Pretender, Barnes steering him ; the 
crack maiden, Child of the Isles, a beautiful high caste bay, 
running third, the Australian Brunswick splitting the pair. 



14 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Maid of Athens, a comparatively unknown English filly, upset 
a big pot, and waltzed home for the Doomraon Cup, beating 
Mr. Charles' Arab Repudiaton, and Mr. Fitzpatrick's country- 
bred Carlotta, who started a hot favorite. On the third day, 
although only three horses started for the Civilians' Cup, 
Brunswick, Greenmantle, and Prestwick, it proved a great 
race, the first and last were stable companions, Joy on Prest- 
wick made running for Brunswick, not a length divided the 
three, Brunswick beat Greenmantle by a head. Then Referee 
beat Cadwallader and Lunatic, in the Welter, and the 
Australian Nimrod easily beat the Arab Ugly Buck in the last 
event but one. Peter Irving scored with a Pusa reared country- 
bred filly, Miss Julia, in the Pusa Oaks. The fourth day opened 
with the Sonepore Cup fifty gold mohurs a slow run race, 
resulting in a dead heat between the Australians Prestwick and 
Greenmantle, the rival jockeys Barker and Sherburne in the 
saddle ; the gelding won the run off easily. Two races fol- 
lowed, two horses only competing in each, and then the Arab 
Referee finished a poor day's racing, by winning Rajah Moder- 
narain's Cup, beating the vaunted Selim. The fifth day opened 
well, four good maiden Arabs going out to compete for the Hutwa 
Cup, a race to be run in mile heats. Pluto won the first heat, 
Sultan running second, and Repudiaton third but the next, 
two heats were won easily by the latter, Pluto second in each. 
Two walks over for Minuet, and Greenmantle, and then a 
fine field of eight stripped for the sixteen hundred rupee con- 
test, which Brunswick won with fair ease, doing 2jmiles in 
4mins., 21 sees., decent going for the class. The last day saw the 
country-bred Pretender, who had only been six weeks in 
training, open the ball by pulling off the first race for Mr. 
Forrester, the Australian Prestwick having to be content with 
second honors. Then Cadwallader beat an English filly, Alice, 
and a poor meeting finished, by the Cape Voltaire winning 
both the heats in the Consolation Purse. It was the year pre- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 15 

vious to this, that the first properly organised Calcutta Turf 
Club was started by thirty-six gentlemen. Messrs. Stainforth, 
Beckwith, Grey, Grant and Fergusson, being the members of 
committee, Mr. James Hume the Able East of the Sporting 
Review, Secretary; the racing Stewards for the year were 
J. Beckwith, G. Bushby, W. Grey, Captain Lang, and last, 
but not least, debonair, Charley Marten, brightest, cheeriest, 
and straightest of sportsmen. One of the most conspicuous 
figures on Bengal, and Behar race courses, at the time we write 
of, was the famous Calcutta Arab horse Commission Agent 
Sheik Ibrahim Bin-Alee, a native of the Nedsjed, who came 
to India about 1820, accompanying a Colonel Lithfield, who 
had been sent to Arabia to buy horses on Government account. 
He went back to his native land, and brought to Bombay, 
and Madras, several shipments of horses, with which, being 
a born judge, he did well. Meanwhile Colonel Lithfield had 
established a depot at Bussorah and in connection with a 
Doctor Todd, and a Colonel Taylor, got up some races. The 
wily Sheik scented plunder in the air, and wending his way 
thither won every race, on a single horse of his own selection, 
meeting in most cases fresh animals. Four or five years after- 
wards he came to Calcutta, and was at first located at Messrs 
Cook and Company's. A dealer he could scarcely be termed, 
as for the major portion of his career, he acted merely as a 
Commission Agent. But the influx of Australian racing stock 
to the Calcutta market, ruined the Arab trade, and broke up 
the Sheik's business, his courteous and equally straight partner 
Esau Bin Courtas leaving for Bombay about twenty years ago, 
where he died, to the regret of many Calcutta European friends 
who could like and respect one who, though merely an Arab 
of the desert, was every inch a man, a gentleman and a 
sportsman. 



16 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

CHAPTER V. 

YEAR 1849. 

In spite of the poor support afforded the meeting in '48, 
we find the Stewards putting forth a six days' programme for 
the fixture of 1849, the dates running from 2yth October to 8th 
November. Mr. Hewett had evidently flung down the reins r 
for the name of Mr. F. Harbord of Patna appears as Honorary 
Secretary. First entries were fairly promising, most of the 
patrons of former years weighing in with nominations, a 
decided increase being observable in the number of Australians. 
But if '48 was disheartening to all concerned, save the winners, 
'49 was even more deplorable ; for a profound listlessness and 
indifference characterised the meeting. The names of De Vaux, 
Williams, Grey, Charles, Cunningham, Return and D'Arcy were 
absentees, even Mr. Campbell appeared not in the pigskin, and 
Pretender sailed under other colors than those of the Chupra 
amateur, having been sold to Mr. Holdfast, a name under which 
Mr. George Plowden was now running. As early as the fifth of 
September it was evident that three of the big events were bound 
to fall through, and when the sportsmen assembled under the 
mangoe tope, their interests and suggestions were so varied, that 
it was difficult for the Stewards to decide what sort of conditions 
would ensure decent fields. Mr. Holdfast, a good name that for 
a greedy one, held fast to three cups, claiming that the terms of 
entry having been fulfilled he could walk over for them ; and 
walk over he did for the Chumparun, Doomraon, and Civilians' 
Cups, as well as for the Durbangah one. The first day opened 
with the Maiden Arab Race, for which Mr. Holdfast's Blood- 
royal, Mr. Fox's Gull, and Mr. Seymour's Soothsayer, sauntered 
out to do battle, finishing in a very slack manner as placed. Little 
or no enthusiasm was shown by the Europeans in the racing, 
but the shouts from the Aryan on-lookers, of " Wa, wa Col- 
lector Saheb ka ghora jita," whenever the Magistrate's 
horses won, showed that Civilians were better known and 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. IJ 

appreciated in those days than now, by our dusky brethren ; 
for what with the perpetual changing, and the want of sport 
and pageantry shown by present officials, added to the perpe- 
tual upheavals of their authority by the far too numerous 
courts of appeal, our Government authorities are held in but 
small reverence, by the masses they are supposed to rule 
over. For the Colonials, only two faced the starter, Firefly 
and Woodbine, the latter pulled up half a mile from home, 
and Mr. Holdfast secured a second inglorious victory. He 
then walked over for the Durbangah Cup with Bellona, and 
so ended the first day ; t.e, five horses altogether putting in an 
appearance, the winners scarcely being asked to canter. The 
second day was almost as discouraging, Mr. Holdfast walked 
over for three races, and one race only came off, the Sonepore 
Cup, for which Mr. Holdfast sent out Bonanza and Pretender, 
his pair being opposed by Mr. Fitzpatrick's Referee, Mr. 
Holdfast declared to win with his worst, Bonanza, and a sort 
of dhoby's donkey race was the result, the two miles being run 
in four minutes, and Barnes had nearly to break Pretender's 
jaw to hold him back ; Toujours Mr. Holdfast, and yet a round 
dozen had entered for this handsome prize of 50 gold mohurs. 
Even the very heavens could not refrain from mourning over 
such a decadence of sport, and on Wednesday the clouds wept 
copiously. Only those who have suffered at a wet Sonepore. 
can tell the awful misery entailed on the visitors, when slowly 
but surely the drawing room shamiana collapses in the centre, 
and the only dry roofings are those of the dining room and 
bedroom tents. Underfoot, the rain water invades these mer- 
rily ; yet given good sport during the previous days, and 
prospects of better when the clouds clear, spirits can be 
kept up by pouring spirits down. But verily the Sonepore 
of 1849 was a damper alike to man and beast. Now it is a well- 
known fact from one end of Indian sporting circles to the 
other, that meetings are made or marred by a judicious selec- 



l8 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

tion of secretaries, or the reverse. In those days Mr. Larpent 
had made the Calcutta Race Meetings what they were, just as 
Charley Marten did afterwards, and Ben Roberts as his suc- 
cessor. See what Neild, Renton, Turnbull and Kitty Apthorp 
have done for Lucknow, what poor Schuyller did for Ran- 
goon, and ye gods what a chaotic mess has been made of 
Burma racing under the mismanaging duffers since his day. 
Tom Le Mesurier keeps Bombay, and Poona, together, and 
Vinicombe Davis made Vizianagram. Never was the differ- 
ence between good and bad management better illustrated 
than was the case at this Sonepore under review. Mr. Har- 
bord who, in a combined spirit of good nature and false appre- 
ciation of his own capacity, had taken up the reins, flung down 
in a regrettable if natural enough pet by Hewett, proved in- 
capable of bringing horses to the post, and under the dripping 
canvas ungenerous and thoughtless murmurs were raised 
against his management. Mr. Hewett happened to be a mem- 
ber of one of the camps, and to him hied a body of the 
disaffected. " Pull us out of the hole " was the cry, and with 
the usual Cromwellian " Take away this bauble " he said 
he'd do his best. Poor Harbord, like the proverbial pursued 
ostrich, tried to hide his diminished head, and watched 
the rest of the meeting with mingled feelings of scorn 
and contempt. But the ablest men fail when trying to make 
bricks without straw, and when even Jews failed, at 
that game, small blame to Mr. Hewett, if without horses or 
jockeys he could do no better than let the third day's events 
fall through, and then for the fourth day get up a couple of 
events, one a half mile scurry, and the other Rajah Moderna- 
rain's purse of Rs. 500 with G. Rs. up ; the reason for this 
clause being that all but one or two professionals had fled the 
scene. Into the lottery room gathered about ten o'clock, a 
few of those determined to do their ultimatum to make things 
buzz ; but not even the charming of the Bayard who had come 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 19 

to the rescue, could induce the weary lot present to toss for 
tickets, on what looked like another dead certainty for the 
blooming Collector Saheb. But as the Ettrick Shepherd tells 
us " The best laid plans of men and mice aft gang agley," 
and beautifully in this instance, was it illustrated ; for the first 
time at the meeting did the " semper triumphans " one go 
wrong. He put up a festive youth who had eaten and drank 
far too freely at the previous night's supper, with the foregone 
conclusion that a turkey, ham, brandy and soda combination 
are not the concomitants to make victory a foregone conclu- 
sion ; the astute Mr. Fitzpatrick owning a far worse nag than 
the Australian Firefly, in the Arab Referee, abstained 
studiously from the craytur overnight, and scored cleverly and, 
amidst shouts of " Ould Oireland for ever," he passed the post 
first with a broad smile of delight on his benevolent coun- 
tenance. This is the cruel record of this never enough to be 
anathemised day ; for the Civilians' Cup Mr. Holdfast's g. a. h. 
Blood Royal walked over. The Sonepore Welter fell through, 
ditto the sweepstakes. A half mile Scurry which brought 
two starters only, was won by a lame Cabullee horse, ridden 
by a youth with a loose rein and one stirrup gone, the one 
excitement being provided by the upset of Firefly by Referee. 
Still did Mr. Hewett bravely persevere where others would 
have flung up the sponge in disgust, but the fifth day was 
merely a repetition of the gormandising, Mr. Holdfast winning 
the only two races that filled, with Pretender and Blood Royal. 
The sixth day was equally a failure, one race the Forced 
Handicap bringing out three starters, all of the poorest quality, 
again the monopolist winning. And then a weebit of 
balm to Gilead was accorded by Mr. Hawke'scountry-bred 
Alice easily defeating a poor field of four, one of Mr. Holdfast's 
among the number. To show how ,good a position Sone- 
pore held up to this as a meeting, Mr. Plowden alias 
Holdfast went down to Calcutta and cleared the board there. 



20 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE\ 

Mr. Charles, who was better known by his nick-name of Josto 
the King of Spaars, and was in propria persona Mr. J. John- 
stone, an ancestor of the present popular Calcutta sportsman 
of the same name, was the only other winner to any extent. 

CHAPTER VI, 
YEARS 1850-51. 

For 1850, we again find Mr. Hewett in charge, but adver- 
tising only a five days' meeting, and in spite of the fiasco 
of 1849, the ist of June entries were promising, a few 
new owners, too, figuring in the list, Messrs. Mortlock 
who was Edward Studd, Monghyr, and Cartwright, but the 
old opponents Messrs. Holdfast, Charles, and Fitzpatrick 
showed up strongly, the two former entering half a 
dozen each in the Civilians' Cup. Mr. Charles' string in 
charge of Joy had been training at Chupra, Barnes had Mr. 
Holdfast's lot at Mozufferpore, the course was then situated 
at Secunderapore, but was being rapidly cut away by the 
river. Stubbs was working Mr. Fitzpatrick's stable at Banki- 
pore, Mr. Wallace had his exercising at Monghyr, and a 
few were using the perfect galloping track at Pusa. Sone- 
pore had in those days one advantage over its present state, it 
had a fine lot of permanent mud built loose boxes, which were 
freely made use of in the hot weather by local owners and train- 
ers. The most that can be said for the opening day is, that it 
was a little better than that of 1849 f ur stripped for the Derby, 
all new to fame, and belonging to rival owners. Mr. Holdfast's 
good luck once more stood him in stead, and Do-the-Boys 
carried his colors cleverly to the front. He followed this up 
by winning the Colonials with Van Diemen, the Durbangah 
Cup with the gallant country-bred Pretender^ best of his class 
ever seen our course the mile sweepstakes with Do-the-Boys, 
beating the crack grey Don Juan, and finished the morning 
by pulling out Van Dieman again and winning the Syed's 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 2l 

Plate with him ; every race in the card falling to him. On the 
second day only two races filled, the Bettiah Cup bringing 
three to the post, two of which belonged to Mr. Hold- 
fast, whose Pretender gave Van Dieman and Young Zorab 
"two stone and a beating round the course. Then out came 
Van Dieman again, and round the course beat Mr. Charles' 
English filly Catherine of Arragon for the Doomraon Cup. 
At last Mr. Charles scored, but merely the barren honors 
of a walk over for the Welter, that ended an inglorious day. 
On the third day one race alone filled, with two competitors, 
Mr. Holdfast collaring the Civilians' Cup with Pretender, 
Zorab his sole opponent bolting off the course, then Zorab 
walked over for Rajah Modernarain's Cup, and sportsmen 
went back to their tents to mourn over the departed glo- 
ries of the once grand meeting. On the fourth day two 
races filled, Pretender winning the Turf Club Cup from 
Boomerang, and then Mr. Charles sent out two to win a two 
hundred rupee purse, Mr. Holdfast entering a duffer to 
make a race. One race won by Mr. Charles with Boomer- 
rang on the last day, all other events failing to fill, ended a 
truly awful meeting, enough to break the heart of all connect- 
ed with it. To pass the time, hack races and foot races were 
got up. But the cup of Mr. Hewett was full to overflowing, 
and feeling the utter hopelessness of rectifying matters, he 
resigned in toto, and said some one else might take up the 
reins, and who could blame him. 

Far enough afield the Stewards had to go to find any 
one bold enough to endeavour to restore the fallen fortunes 
of Sonepore, but Arrah came to the rescue, Mr. R. J. 
Dickenson of that station volunteering to take up the thankless 
post of Honorary Secretary, and as early in 1851 as the first 
of February a programme was published for a five days' meeting, 
commencing on the 5th November. But the deterioration 
of Sonepore, could scarcely be attributed to mismanagement, 



22 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

as it was undoubtedly due to the financial depression caused 
by the big failures in the metropolis," and discouragement cast 
on racing by those then in authority. The big Calcutta 
meeting suffered equally with the fashionable Behar one, poor 
fields, and small excitement; Messrs. Plowden and Charles 
pretty well dividing between them what spoil there was to be 
lifted. The former gentleman came in for severe criticism 
at Calcutta, having instructed Barnes to pull Do-the-Boys, the 
Sonepore Derby winner, to let his other string Blood Royal 
win, without having declared to win with the latter, although 
as the Stewards had omitted to ask his intentions, no enquiry 
was held, but the episode shows how lax management was 
in those days, even at the premier meeting. General Sir 
Walter Raleigh Gilbert, G.C.B., one of the leading north-west 
sportsmen, and who had for 48 years been a patron of Indian 
racing, training and riding his own horses, retired this year 
throwing a further damper on upcountry racing. In 1806 young 
Gilbert had won both the Behar plates, on the Hajipore course, 
with Sky Blue. In 1851 Mozufferpore seemed, as well as Sone- 
pore, in a bad way, for the local scribe wrote of it "Tirhoot 
had no racing men, no seasoned sporting character, racing 
was disapproved of, and consequently there would be no 
racing," and yet three years before this, three public trainers 
were training on the course, and no serious damage to public 
morality had seemingly been the result of allowing these 
ungodly men to live in the station. An unpopular, Collector 
at Mozufferpore had a good deal to do with it. He was a 
Mr. George Lewis Martin, whom "General " Argles described 
as too big for his breeches. He had married one of the 
daughters of the Honorable R. Forbes, the Judge, Alec 
Russell, the Joint Magistrate, a good chap had taken the 
other, but the Martins were very much too good for human 
nature's daily food. Messrs. Holdfast, Charles, Return and 
Fitzpatrick, who had so staunchly stood by Sonepore, gave 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 23 

out early in the year, they were unlikely to race there again, 
and bluer than ever in conse- quence, looked the pros- 
pects for the coming meeting. A dullness and apathy 
in everything connected with racing, seemed to be settl- 
ing over Behar, like a funeral pall; thoughat Pusah good 
old Colonel Apperley, a son of the gallant Nimrod and 
then in charge of the stud, offered to throw open his course 
and hospitable house, to any horses and men that cared to 
come and train there. Strong was the veteran's language 
against the deplorable want of go and independence among 
the local civilians and planters, whom he characterised as 
a lot of sycophants, but to no purpose did he moralise, and it 
was not till Lord Ulick Browne came, like a Bayard to the rescue, 
that Mozufferpore flourished again. Alec Russell and Frank 
Drummond backed him up warmly. There was an uncommonly 
good native jockey in those days, who used to ride at Sone- 
pore, his name was Panchoo Khan, he was quite as fine a 
horseman as was afterwards Jaffir Khan, and had the nick- 
name of the Chifney of the East. Panchoo, who was at this 
time about forty-six years of age, was the son of the Jemadar 
of a Tirhoot planter named Perry, who kept a pack of hounds 
as far back as 1811, and who made the lad whipper-in when 
some eight years old; teaching him to ride a loose horse 
barebacked. Panchoo first donned silk at Sonepore in 1822, 
but after Mr. Perry retired to England, he went up to the 
North-west, where his career was very successful. He was 
trusted and liked, not only by his many employers, but fully 
as much by European professionals. Dr. Ogilvie, Mr. Patton 
and Mr. Russell were his chief patrons in Behar, after Mr. 
Perry; he frequently outrode such exceptionally fine horsemen 
as Robert Ross, C. Barker, and Barnes. Ross was a jockey 
whose steadiness and business capacity stood him in such 
good stead, that he finished his career as head-partner of 
the famous house of Cook and Co., Calcutta, Barker more 



24 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

than once stood down in favor of Panchoo, openly telling 
his master, that the horses went better with the old man 
than with him. All that can be said for the Sonepore 
racing of 1851, is that it was an improvement on its pre- 
decessor. The stables represented were those of Mr. 
Monghyr (Wallace), Mr. Arthur, (Frank Vincent) Mr. Cloud, 
(Kenneth McLeod) of Chupra, and Barnes the jockey, under 
cover of whose name Edward Studd was now racing. The 
opening race for the first day was the Durbangah Cup, for 
which only two faced the flag, the brown Australian Van Die- 
man, belonging to Mr. Studd beating the local indigo king's 
Emperor, with Abdool in the saddle ; this was the same Abdool 
who was afterwards with the late Mr. Gwatkin Williams, and 
Harry Abbott ; he died some years back at Situlpore Factory 
where his son is head lad to Mr. Lockhart. All the other races 
having fallen through, an impromptu hack race for all untrained 
horses, G.R's only, three quarters of a mile, was got up, and 
won by a horse of Mr. McLeod's, called Volunteer, but the 
rider was overweight, and Messrs. Eraser (McDonell) and 
Cleveland who had run a deadheat for second place, divided 
the stakes. Again on the second day, for the Bettiah Cup, the 
race resolved itself into a duel between Van Dieman and Em- 
peror, but the former won more easily than on Thursday. A 
walk over by Young Lucifer for the Doomraon Cup, was 
followed by Mr. Wallace's piloting to victory his own English 
horse Bedford, in the mile hack race, beating Volunteer. The 
third day gave Barnes another walk over with Van Dieman, the 
prize being Rajah Modenarain's Cup. A mile sweepstakes 
brought out a field of four, three of which belonged to Mr. Studd 
the fourth, Bedford, to Mr. Wallace, and in spite of the odds 
against him, and that he carried the crusher of i2st. 4lbs., the 
English colt got home. On the fourth day Barnes for Mr. Studd 
walked over for the Civilians' Cup with Van Dieman, and for the 
Free Handicap with Young Lucifer ; and then came a fairly 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 25 

decent race, a free handicap R. C., won by Bedford, who the next 
day collared the forced handicap as well. Emperor beat Nimrod 
for the R. C. handicap for losers, and then a good mile race in 
heats was witnessed for the Consolation Stakes, Edward Mor- 
gan winning the first heat ; Emperor, the second and third. 
Socially the meeting was successful, lovely weather and a goodly 
gathering of local planters and civilians, a fair contingent from 
Calcutta, and the officers and their ladies from both Dinapore, 
and Segowlie, which was then a favorite military station. In 
September '51 Lord Ulick Browne arrived in this country and 
very soon began to patronise the turf. In December he rode his 
own mare Jessie second to Mr. Studd's Edward Morgan at 
Calcutta. He took the racing name of Westport which was 
the place where the breeding stud of his father Lord Sligo 
was located and where he bred many fine horses his favorite 
sire being the celebrated Waxy. 



CHAPTER VII. 

YEARS 1852-53. 

The Sonepore of 1852 was a poor meeting, Dick Richard- 
son, then Magistrate of Chupra, acted as Secretary, but there 
is nothing worth chronicling. Lord Ulick Browne steered for 
Kenneth McLeod, and got home twice. 

For 1853 tne management of the meeting had again 
changed hands, and we find Mr. Arthur (Frank Vincent) acting 
as Secretary. Decidedly better racing was witnessed, though 
the gathering of the clans was smaller, owing probably to the 
yearly increasing dullness of the racing. Mr. Wallace brought 
a strong string, headed by the afterwards famous country- 
bred filly Grace Lee, who, ridden by the crack English jock 
Peter Irving, opened the ball by winning the Maiden Purse, 
beating Mr. Cough's English mare Diana, and another good, 
but somewhat leggy country-bred, Lola Montez, owned by 
Edward Studd, this year running again as Mr. Mortlock. 



26 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Mr. Gough, was Commissioner of Patna, and father of Sir Charles 
and Sir Hugh Gough. Although only two came out for the 
Durbangah Cup, yet the race round the course caused a lot of 
excitement, as the contest lay between the two supposed best 
horses of the year, Babylonian and Valentine, both English 
and ridden by English professionals, but Irving completely 
out-rode Marwood, and kidding him right through the race, 
landed Babylonian an easy winner. Mr. Studd's Edward 
Morgan then made strong running in the Untrained Horse 
Stakes, and never being headed from start to finish, won 
easily ; no more racing that day. Studd had bought Edward 
Morgan from Pusa for Rs. 400 as a trapper ; he used to pull 
like a demon, and once cleared out on the Serryah road with 
Studd, Paddy Cox, and Minden Wilson all hanging on to the 
double reins. He got worm in the eye, and cute old Studd 
thinking he'd go " Kumree", sold him to Simmy (H. B. Simson) 
who made a pot of money with him, much to Studd's disgust. 
Thursday's proceedings opened with a purse of 35 gold mohurs 
for English maidens, R.C.; only Mr. Monghyr's Martaban, and 
Mr. Cough's Diana stripped for it, and to the astonishment 
of onlookers, instead of the stable jockey Marwood, Irving, an out- 
sider, was put up on the mare, whom the public had made a hot 
favorite at the previous night's lotteries. In the race Irving 
was supposed to have either pulled the mare, or to have 
ridden execrably. The following account of the race shows 
what public opinion was : " Betting at starting 2 to i on 
Diana, who got away first, and led to the Welter post 
where she seemed most unaccountably to slacken her pace, 
and on the gelding passing her, she bolted into the neighbour- 
ing field ; on which Martaban was cantered for the next three- 
quarters of a mile, the mare being brought back again was 
set going as fast as she could, and on nearing the distance 
got within three lengths of Martaban. Irving then most 
injudiciously flogged and spurred her for the next fifty yards, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



but to little purpose, Martaban winning in a canter." The 
public seemingly contented themselves with grumbling. Mr. 
Go ugh' s and Mar wood's story was that the mare was a bad- 
tempered beast, and Irving being stronger than Marwood was 
put up to try and keep her on the course, but failed. To 
further prove this, a native was put on her in the Civilians' 
Cup, and she appeared to be doing her best to go off at the 
home turn, but being hit freely over the head kept straight,. 
though she ran last ; and throughout the meeting her running 
was so consistently shifty, that it was evident the stable was 
right, and the public wrong. Dashwood was Mr. Gough's 
facing name. Mr. Monghyr won the next two events with 
Annette, and Rejected, thus collaring the whole of the day's 
prizes, a performance he repeated on Saturday, two out of 
the three races being credited to Rejected. In the third 
Grace Lee made mincemeat of the English nags Valentine and 
Diana, a great triumph for the local country -bred. On Tues- 
day Mr. Monghyr walked over with Grace Lee for the Sonepore 
Cup, and then four started for the R.-C. handicap for Rajah 
Modenarain's Cup, three of whom were heavily backed. Mr. 
Studd's Valentine won after a good race with the despised 
Emperor, and Mr. Westport's (Lord Ulick) Madonna, owner up, 
was adjudged winner of the hack race, but only because a cross 
was claimed and allowed against Tasso, the favorite, whose 
owner failed to hold him straight ; an Arab hack race won by- 
Mr. Fraser McDonelPs Beppo, and the jade Diana walking over 
for the Maiden Purse ended that day. On Wednesday night the 
excitement at the lotteries was great, the forced handicap for 
winners being considered an excell ent one, and ticket takers were 
eager to toss, and owners wanted twenty tickets each if they could 
get them; Babylonian was favourite at 33 gold mohurs, Valentine 
going for 29, and Diana for 13, the result showed public esti- 
mation to be sound, for they finished, Babylonian, Valentine r 
Diana, Mr, Gough then had a turn of luck, appropriating the 



28 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Losers' Handicap with Emperor, and Mr. Vincent's Tasso who 
had been disqualified for a cross on Tuesday, today, with 
Peter Irving up, won the handicap for untrained hacks, in a 
dhoby's donkey's canter. To finish up a short day on the i6th, 
a ten mile race was improvised, four nags started, a native 
gentleman rode his own horse and finished the course, Mr. 
Vincent's Hector won it, but on going to scale the first three 
were disqualified for over weight, their saddle cloths having 
absorbed so much perspiration, and the fourth had sent his 
horse away, not thinking there was any necessity for him to 
weigh, being last. The Monghyr stable had carried off most 
of the plums, and it continued its triumphs at a poor meeting 
in Calcutta, the handsome Grace Lee winning the Colonials 
and Merchants' Plate. In those days there was no railway, 
and horses marched from Sonepore to Calcutta. Slowly but 
surely the influx of Australians and English horses, was driv- 
ing the game, but slow Arabians, to the wall, and instead of 
thirty to forty of them entering, and a round dozen starting at 
Sonepore, as they did in 1847 anc ^ 1848, we find only one 
race filled by them in 1853. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
YEARS 1854-55. 

For 1854 Mr. Vincent still acted as Secretary, but with 
the poorer meeting of 1853, and the still poorer show in 
Calcutta, old owners retiring, and but very few replacing 
them, it looked very like a forlorn hope. One of the chief 
reasons seemed to be that Government had steadily set its 
face against its employes racing, and though the military 
cared not, yet the civilians found it detrimental to their 
careers if they defied their seniors. We of today know 
too well the difference it makes to Sonepore, if we have a sport- 
ing, or non-sporting Commissioner at Patna. Ichabod was 
what, as far as first-class racing went, had now to .be wcitten 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



over the Sonepore Grand Stand, and finding not a single 
big stable or owner weighing in with entries, Mr. Vincent was 
sensible enough to re-frame his programme into a sky one, 
and the time-honored course which had seen the winners of 
Viceroys' Cups, and Merchants' Plates, competing on it, had 
now to be content to be degraded into a sort of Margate 
sands, for hacks and harness horses to perform on. As a 
race meeting it is not worth chronicling, though the planters 
and a few local civilians mustered in force, and riding their 
own crocks, had a high old jollification. Old tiger Cock- 
burn from Doomra, in the Setamurhi Division, steered his 
nag in winner of The Pony Stakes, the first pony race that 
ever dishonored Sonepore. Fraser McDonell, Fred Collingridge, 
Herewald Wake, Lord Ulick, and Mr. Vincent were among the 
amateur jocks of the year, so too was H. B. Simson, who 
rode and raced under the name of Mr. Pitcorthie. He 
was better known afterwards as "Judex" of the Oriental 
Sporting Magazine, and latterly of the Asian. The meet 
started in rain, the first day's racing was run fetlock deep in 
muck, and the horses paddled rather than galloped. Throughout, 
the weather was more or less unfavourable, but the visitors put 
up with it, and at the lotteries one night, and the dances and 
suppers the next, contrived to make things hum. But oh for the 
glory departed, and alas for the deterioration of sport. Simmy 
had bought the one-eyed Edward Morgan, and changed his 
name to " Here-I-go-with my-eye-out," and on him he won a lot 
of races, continuing his triumphs with the old horse at Mozuffer- 
pore and Bhagulpore. Simmy was riding him one day at 
Mozufferpore and the brute bolted depositing Simmy in a potoato 
field near Dr. Hindmarsh's present house. Few keener sports- 
men, or better judges of ahorse, ever lived than Simmy, and we 
are glad to still see his silver locks and beard, when he makes 
his yearly visit to Calcutta to see his son. Taking up the Secre- 
taryship .when the Fund was in debt, Frank Vincent in 1853 



30 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

collected the record subscription, Ten thousand rupees, and 
he handed over the till to his successor with Rs. 3,000 cash. 
It was Mr. Vincent who first appointed Behary Singh, who, 
up to the time that he was deprived of the lease of the 
ghats by Mr. O'Donnell, two years ago, was one of the most 
notable figures of Sonepore. Mr. Vincent made him chokeydar 
of the course on Rs. 3 a month, 

Mr. Fraser McDonell took up the reins for 1855, and it is 
wonderful to see that, after such a succession of fiascoes, donors 
could still be found to come forward with handsome prizes ; 
prospects looked much more promising for this year. Mr. 
Wallace had entered a strong string headed by the old 
platers Rejected, and Grace Lee, and an English maiden 
Legerdemain ; Mr. McLeod had four, and the Confederates 
Lord Ulick Browne and Frank Vincent five. Mr. McLeod 
had bought Diana, who was reported to have improved 
considerably in temper. Simmy had once more changed Ed- 
ward Morgan's name, this time to The Duke of Sonepore. 
Mr. Wallace was training this year at Sonepore, and had 
engaged Peter Irving to ride. Professionals turned up in force, 
and besides Irving, we find Hartley, Curran, a soldier of the 
Dinapore Garrison, whose discharge Mr. McLeod had 
purchased, and Barnes, a crusty misshapen little man, figuring, 
and in addition to the old G.R.s, Tom Gibbon and a local 
soldier Jack Lambert, then handsome young bucks, gave 
the girls in the grand stand a taste of their quality. The 
Bettiah Cup, as usual, opened the meeting, Legerdemain 
being opposed by the Confederates' Hero, and Mr. McLeod' s 
Firetail, the latter fired her native jockey over her head, going 
down to the post, and cantered off the course, not appear- 
ing again ; Meer Khan escaped with a broken collar-bone. 
The race was a hollow affair, Irving winning on Legerde- 
main easily. Then came the Doomraon Cup, round the 
course, for which again the three big stables alone com- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 3* 

peted, but the excitement over it was great, as not only 
was Mr. McLeod's Arab Chancery much fancied and ad- 
mired, but the rival breeders of Meg Merrillies, and Helen, 
were equally confident of their candidates' capacity to win. 
Meg, bred by Mr. Wallace at Monghyr, was by Crassus, and 
therefore a half sister to the famous Grace Lee, and was a 
big roomy leggy mare. Helen, bred at Barrh, by Mr. Vincent, 
an equally good sportsman, whose son Glass Vincent follows 
sportingly his sire's example, was also by Crassus, but very 
different in looks from the coarser Meg, being all quality ; 
a dainty little bit of stuff and a beautiful mover was Helen, 
her dam an Arab mare, once the property of Runjeet Singh. 
The country-breds let the Arab force the pace up to the mile 
post, when they collared him, and a terrific race ensued, 
the sisters gamely contesting every inch, though the stupid 
Abdool was galloping on the extreme outside ; Irving' s, 
superior and stronger riding wore down Abdool at the finish 
but he only squeezed home by a head, midst deafening cheers. 
Abdool came in for some bitter remarks from the bystand- 
ers as he rode the game little chestunt three year-old filly 
back into the paddock, but they were scarcely fair, for all 
native jockeys are liable to lose their heads in a close con- 
test, when pitted against a crack European professional, and 
Peter Irving was all that. The Galloway Stakes brought five 
local gees to the post, and Mr. McLeod had the satisfaction 
of an easy win with his Arab, Chocolate, and then Mr. Here- 
wald pulled off the Hack Stakes with a nicelooking country- 
bred called Nell Gwynne, Mr. Lambert second on the Chupra 
mare Maggie Lauder. Mr. Herewaldwas Mr. Herewald Wake, 
the Civilian who held Arrah House in the Mutiny, he was said 
to be a lineal descendant of the ancient hero of the same name. 
This ended a really good day's sport. The weather lovely, and 
prizes pretty evenly distributed, they would have been more so 
had Abdool ridden Helen with judgment. Teddy Oakes who 



32 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

was at Sonepore that year, was a Subaltern in the regiment 
which mutinied at Dinapore, he was a bit of a character 
and a born gambler ; he married Miss Cook, daughter of 
the famous old Zemindar of Busti. Teddy was supposed to 
have made a lot of money afterwards in the mutiny, 
besides loot at Lucknow, he made many a cute deal with 
Tommy Atkins. He used to go about with a bottle of brandy 
in his pocket, and when he saw a Tommy with a good bit of 
jewellery, he'd offer a small price, give Tommy a drink, and 
a deal was soon effected, though occasionally the jewellery 
proved trash. In addition to the amateurs mentioned above, Mr. 
Henry Hudson showed himself to be a cool and collected 
rider. He too, like Mr. Vincent, is nowdays well represented 
by his son Harry, Manager of the Bicanpore indigo concern. 
Both Glass and Harry are true chips of the old block, straight 
and good sportsmen. At the lotteries overnight, it was found 
that the Civilians' Cup was likely to be a repetition of the 
Doomraon one, Helen and Meg pitted once more against each 
other, the field being filled by a handsome Arab of Mr. McLeod's, 
called Egypt. Meg was made a warm favorite, chiefly because 
the glamour of her victory the first day, over-powered the judg- 
ment of the public, and also because as they knew Abdool was 
to be up on Helen, they argued he would ride no better than 
before ; but Mr. Vincent stuck staunchly to his filly, and backed 
her down to even money, laying two to one on her after her 
preliminary canter on the course in the morning, and the result 
showed how fully his confidence was justified, for Abdool, 
keeping cool this time, and strictly obeying orders, never left 
Meg's side till a quarter of a mile from home, and then drop- 
ping his hands, he sailed in an easy winner, the cheering almost 
bringing the roof down. But a better country-bred of Mr. 
Vincent's was Schamyl, whom he sold to Charley Smith's 
father, old " Smith of Asia," a queer old card. Schamyl cleared 
the board for two years afterwards at the upcountry meetings. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 33 

The next race on the card was a mile welter race, gentle- 
men jocks only, Mr. Wallace's Rejected beat Annette and 
Hero. The winner was steered by that accomplished Lower 
Bengal horseman, Mr. Stocks, the silk planter, who came all 
the way from Berhampore, to show the Behar boys, they were 
not the best in the land of Ind. Then came a hack sweep- 
stakes, bringing out Edward Morgan, whom Simmy had now 
promoted to knighthood, ridden by his eccentric owner in first 
rate form, he got home a short head in front of Nell Gwynne, 
after one of the gamest struggles ever seen at Sonepore. To 
finish the day, a half mile scurry for untrained hacks was im- 
provised, and again Simmy steered the winner, Alice, Mr. 
Lambert on Maggie Lauder second, both riders doing all they 
knew, and a neck only dividing the horses. The third day 
opened with a thirty gold mohur, round the course race, for 
all horses, won by the Confederate's Australian mare Bees- 
wing, who beat Legerdemain easily, the cranky Diana after 
fighting as usual till she got into the straight, then showed her 
turn of foot by nearly catching the leaders. Mr. Stocks again 
scored in the mile and a half welter, winning on Rejected, who 
had been bought by Mr. Jorrocks, a festive name under which 
Simmy was now running, from the local G.R.'s Lord Ulick and 
Eraser McDonell. Then, elated with victory, Simmy was silly 
enough to send out his game little pony Indigo, only standing 
I 3- I i) to run against Eraser McDonell's big Arab Beppo, with 
the inevitable result of a farce. The closing event, a Galloway 
Stakes, in which Indigo might have had a chance, was won 
by half a length by an undersized stud-bred filly, bred at Barrh 
called Vesta, ridden by Simmy, Eraser McDonell making a good 
fight on Chocolate, and Jack Lambert whipping in on Diamond, 
who might, if he'd not played the fool at the start, have had a 
good look in at the finish. Chocolate was afterwards sold to 
Henry Hudson. Unfortunately, much interest in the racing was 
lost, owing to the crack countrybred Grace Lee having gone 



34 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

wrong just before the meeting, hard luck on Mr. Wallace, she 
put her hip out when cantering on the course. Macgiveran was 
Wallace's Jockey in those days, he had come out as a missionary 
but rinding the Mild Hindoo averse to conversion he turned 
to a more lucrative life on the turf. 

A good day was looked forward to on Thursday, and so it 
proved ; old Beeswing making the running from flag fall to 
winning post, easily beat Meg Merrillies and Chancery ; and 
then came an upset for Rajah Modernarain's Cup, a round the 
course handicap. Helen and Rejected were about equal fa- 
vourites, no one fancying Diana, but this time the latter had a 
strong man on her back, and one with whom moreover she 
seemed to go kindly, and for the first time she justified her 
owner's confidence, for making a waiting race up to the ball 
room, Curran came with a Chifney rush, and beat Helen by a 
short head. A mile and a quarter race for maidens fell to Hero 
easily enough, and then came the Planters' Purse, a mile to be 
run in heats, the only two starters were Mr. McLeod's Arab 
Egypt 8-7, and the Confederates' old Waler Boomerang 10-4. 
The first heat proved a better race than was anticipated, for the 
pair ran locked together to the quarter mile post, Boomerang 
having about a neck advantage, but from then the Arab gradually 
closed up, and nose to nose they raced past the judge's 
box, verdict a dead heat. Mr. Vincent, mercifully withdrew 
Boomerang for the run-off, as he was obviously unfit, so the 
Arab walked over. A pony race finished the day, the Confeder- 
ates' Jenab-i-alle, bought out of an Ekka, beating seven others ; 
and then what a time there was in the planters' camp at break- 
fast, when they toasted old Kenneth and his mare, and how 
Scotia's whiskey did flow. Jenab-i-alle was christened after 
old Jenab Davies who is coming out this year with crores of 
rupees to lend to distressed Rajahs at nominal interest. The 
fifth day opened with the two-mile Winners' Handicap, 
which was somewhat marred by the scratching of Beeswing 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 35 

who had been allotted top weight. The race was spoilt 
by a wretched start, of which Rejected got far the best, 
stealing fully forty lengths, Legerdemain next, followed 
by Helen, Diana a long way last. Abdool had been told 
to wait on Diana, but finding Rejected so far in front, 
lost his head and bustled his mare to pieces ; half a mile from 
home Rejected was a couple of hundred yards ahead of the 
rest ; Diana second, but now Curran sitting very still, and riding 
beautifully, brought up the English mare, and a few strides 
from the judge's box, passed Rejected (who shut up like a 
knife) and won easily by three lengths ; another jubilee for 
the planters. It was after this race that Mr. McLeod bought 
Curran's discharge from the ist Fusiliers, and gave him per- 
manent employment. The Losers' Free Handicap, R.C., was 
uninteresting, only Annette and Firefly running ; the former 
won easily. The Hack Handicap was a good race, five start- 
ed, but Simmy brought Sir Edward Morgan home easily, 
although carrying top weight. The Consolation Stakes fell 
to Hero, and this ought to have ended the meeting ; but the 
fair sex said otherwise, and wanted another ball. Of course 
they had their way, and of course racing had to be got up to 
pass the time during the day. The bachelors offered a thirty-two 
goldmohur purse, a handicap for all horses, which the improv- 
ing Diana won. The ladies, not to be outdone by the bache- 
lors, offered a purse for a three-quarter mile race, eleven stone 
each, Diana and Rejected coming out again, the former ridden 
by Herewald Wake spoilt her chance by trying to get off the 
course early in the race, and Mr. Stocks on Rejected, beat Mr. 
SimsononSir Edward Morgan, and Mr. McDonell on Beppo, 
and Mr. Lambert on Hero, and Jenab, each won a hack, and 
pony race, and this ended the meeting of 1855. Rifle shoot- 
ing competitions had been got up this year to add to the fun, 
and one of the best shots present was Justin Finch, father 
of The Jabberwock and poor Jeffery. 



36 REMINISCENCES OF SONfiPOfcfe. 

CHAPTER IX. 

YEAR 1856. 

And now we come to 1856, the best Sonepore, which 
had been seen for some years, Mr. Fraser McDonell still 
running the show. A goodly gathering of sportsmen and their 
lady friends assembled early in November; Lord Ulick Browne, 
a scion of the well-known Sligo family, and who had resuscita- 
ted Mozufferpore, was now one of the Confederates, and with 
Messrs. Lambert, McDonell, Simson, Vincent, Latour 
and several others, represented the local officials. Messrs. 
McLeod, Wallace, Fraser, Major Holmes (Mr. Irregular) and 
Captains Cooper, and O'Callaghan, were among the owners. 
Mr. Stocks was up again from Berhampore, Sir Charles 
Oakley running under the name of Mr. Catapult ; Colonel 
Apperley from Pusa, and Captain Monty Turnbull, who had 
married Colonel Apperley's sister, were there too. Mrs. Turn- 
bull was one of the most accomplished horse-women I have 
ever seen grace a saddle, she accompanied her gallant hus- 
band in his famous ride from Umballa to Shikarpore during 
the Mutiny, and earned for herself the name of the Star 
of the Desert. Monty in partnership with Lord Ulick, and 
Colonel Nassau Lees, shortly after the Mutiny, brought out the 
Oriental Sporting Magazine and co-edited it with the above 
gentlemen till he retired in 1875, He owned the great Her- 
mit, and several other lovely Arabs. On the first day three 
only came out for the Derby, two of them being Mr. 
McLeod's, the other Lucks All, hailing from the Monghyr 
stable. Chancery was a hot favourite, but to everyone's 
astonishment he did not have it by any means his own way, 
as the three jockeys, Curran, Folkes, and Irving, fought out a 
magnificent contest, Chancery only winning by half a head, 
a head dividing Gauntlet from Lucks All. The course was 
very heavy going, owing to late rains. Now came the Irregu- 
lar Cup, presented by Major Holmes, for all Colonial and 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 3? 

countrybred maidens, R. C., Mr. McLeod scoring an easy 
win with the Cape horse Roebuck ; King Coil, a C.-B. colt of 
Mr. Wallace's, started favourite, but finished last. The 
Bettiah Cup brought out only two, Diana, and the vaunted 
Babylonian, Mr. McLeod's luck was well in, and his mare 
going kindly, beat the favourite. For the last race for Hacks, 
G.R's only, six started, and Simmy won on an unnamed black 
filly. In this race Alec Urquhart, a son of the hospitable 
opium agent of Mozufferpore, donned silk, and came in 
third on Penelope. Saturday opened with Mr. McLeod's walk- 
ing over with Roebuck, for Rajah Modernarain's Cup. The 
second event was a mile, G.R's only. The day before, 
Simmy had bought the old Australian Boomerang from Lord 
Ulick and he was made a hot favourite for this race, but 
Mr. McLeod's grey maiden Arab Chancery, with Henry 
Hudson up, made all the running and won cleverly. The 
Monghyr Cup, presented by Mr. Wallace, only brought out 
the half sisters Helen, and Grace Lee, and with the course in 
such a heavy state, however a sensible man like Mr. Vincent 
could have backed his little one against the giantess, seems 
wonderful, but it's the right sort of infatuation after all, for a 
straight sportsman to believe in his gee's ability to lick 
creation. Grace won comfortably. Last race on the card 
was a hack race, which might have been a good one with a de- 
cent start, but Bill Pratt riding Jack Becher's Hero, and Herewald 
Wake on Nell Gwynne, got a dozen lengths the best of it, 
Simmy on Edward Morgan losing fifty lengths, Hero just got 
home. A poor day's racing. There was a good deal of dis- 
cussion at Monday's lotteries, over the relative merits of the 
English and Cape horses versus the countrybreds. In the Civi- 
lians' Cup Mr. McLeod was running both Diana and Roe- 
buck, and declared to win with the latter. Helen was rightly 
considered to have no chance, but many looked to see the 
champion countrybred beat the Chupra pair, unfortunate- 



38 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Iy she broke down half a mile from home, and then Curran and 
Barker fought out a desperate and unnecessary finish, the re- 
sult a dead heat. Of course a walk over with Roebuck 
settled matters, but either Mr.McLeod must have forgotten to 
tell the jockeys of his declaration to win with the Cape, 
or he should have carpeted Curran for running the risk 
of breaking down his horse for no benefit to public, owner, 
or himself ; perhaps Curran had had a wee drappie. The 
Welter brought out Mr. Wallace's Legerdemain ridden by 
Mr. Stocks, a new Cape horse called Cossack of Mr. Mc- 
Leod's, and the ever ready to fill a race Mr. Simmy weighed 
in with Boomerang, but the Lower Bengal planter once 
more bested young Tirhoot, and Legerdemain won by 
three lengths cantering. A race for Arab hacks was won 
by Simmy, on Mr. Pilgrim's Jacob Faithful, after a really 
good race with Mr. Fraser McDonell on Rector, a game Arab, 
the property of Frank Vincent, who had bought him from 
Colonel Blood of Bombay, the Colonel gave Rs. 2,500 for him. 
As an untried four-year-old, he won the Lahore Derby, and 
several other races, but became such a confirmed puller that he 
was sold, and bought by Mr. Vincent for Rs. 700, he won the 
ten mile race at Sonepore, and several others for his new owner. 
Eventually Rector became the property of an officer named 
Wyld, nicknamed ''Jonathan" Wyld, of the 4Oth N. I., and 
during the Mutiny bolted right into the enemies' ranks while 
charging, his rider finding he could not pull him up, drew his 
revolver, shot the horse, and flung himself off, unhurt ; Rector's 
after fate is unknown. Little interest was evinced over the 
Galloway race, only a pony of Simmy's daring to try con- 
clusions with the crack Chocolate, on whom Mr. Hudson 
had an easy win. On the fourth day, the big thing was the 
Sonepore Cup, and Diana, Helen, and Sir Charles Oakley's 
Mercury, declared to start. Helen was not fancied at all, but 
the betting on the English and Australian competitors was very 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 39 

slightly in favor of the former, little Helen, however, ran gamely, 
was only beaten a length, and had the ground been hard, in- 
stead of heavy, it is quite possible the verdict might have been 
different, Diana won by half a length, after a grand race. 
For the Doomraon Cup Helen was started again, Roebuck 
was made a hot favorite from Legerdemain, but Peter 
Irving on the latter, bested Curran, and upset the apple cart. 
Cossack got home for a cup for planters' horses, given by 
Simmy, who rode Hero for second place, Alec Urquhart whip- 
ping in on Penelope. Then came a Hack Handicap, which 
Simmy won on the old evergreen, Edward Morgan, all the other 
G.R's of the district on the beaten ones. Good handicaps on 
Friday naturally made speculation brisk at the lotteries. The 
Winners' Handicap resolved itself into a match between 
Diana and Legerdemain, at a difference of seventeen pounds, 
but the mare proved best, and this was her last race in Behar; 
she went down to Calcutta and broke down when running well 
up in the Viceroy's Cup. Diana's success at Sonepore, and 
the praises showered on Curran, proved too much for the lad ; 
filled up with liquor, and feted and fed by pals, and those who 
had won over the mare, he gradually took to the bottle, so 
much so that Mr. McLeod had to discharge him. He joined 
the Yeomanry Cavalry during the Mutiny, and eventually be- 
came second whip to the Calcutta hounds, finally he became a 
stable loafer, and died from what the Baboo Doctor described 
as " excess of alcohol." 

The Losers' Handicap proved a good race between 
Mr. Wallace's Babylonian, and the Cape filly Moonbeam, 
the third Boomerang entered by the ever obliging 
Simmy, Babylonian, with Peter Irving up, only got home from 
Curran by half a length, which would have undoubtedly been 
reversed, had Curran not had to declare yjlbs. over. Then 
out came all the hacks again, and the Honorary Secretary got 
the best of the half dozen starters, and romped home on Juliet, 



40 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

In this race Nell Gwynne, in spite of Lord Ulick's persuasions 
refused to start till the rest had gone a quarter of a mile ; but 
she did better in the Consolation Stakes, for going kindly she 
beat Hero and Hotspur. Although only five days had been 
advertised, and half the visitors had cleared out on the Satur- 
day, yet the festive planters, elated at local victories, would 
have another day, and while the dulcet notes of Kenneth 
McLeod's voice, to the accompaniment of his violin, made the 
rafters ' ring to the strains of " Ho Maggie Lauder," 
or " the Diel take the hindmost says Duncan Macalagan 
Laird of Tally-ben Jo," they got up a card, and 
Monday opened with a Bachelors' Purse, a mile and 
three-quarters handicap, Legerdemain 9-8, Mercury 
9-4, and Roebuck 8-12. They got home in the order given, 
but Mercury was pulling so hard that Folkes' stirrup leather 
and curb chain broke, and the horse bolted, and ran himself 
out ; another lesson to professional and owner alike, of the 
necessity of using sound gear. A Ladies' Purse was won by 
Cossack, Fraser McDonell up, Mr. Stocks, for the first time at 
Sonepore, occupying a back seat. The meeting finished by 
Simmy's scoring on Juliet, in a half mile hack race. At this 
meeting the plunging was abnormal, men who looked on bet- 
ting as sinful had at least fifty rupees on Diana every time 
she went cut ; old Latour, the Collector, won a pot of money on 
her, Vincent dropped a bit. But Behar had now to face troublous 
times, and although she escaped comparatively scatheless, it 
was chiefly because Patna was lucky enough to have, at the 
moment, a man like William Tayler, bold enough to nip rebel- 
lion in the bud ; by drastic measures he saved Behar, but for 
him the massacres would have spread to the indigo districts, 
yet his reward was contumely and disgrace, because he had 
a vindictive enemy at head-quarters. In addition to Tayler's 
prompt action, Fraser McDonell worthily upheld the good 
name of the grand old school he was educated at, Haileybury, 



.REMINISCENCES OF SONfcPOKfc. 



never was Victoria Cross. more worthily \von than by William 
Traser McDonell at Arrah, but William Tayler should have 
had it too, for he saved a province, while little Mac only saved 
individuals, The children of both ; of them live among us 
proud of their fathers' fame, and assured that as long as 
planters are allowed to cultivate the fertile lands of Behar, 
the memory of their illustrious ancestors' heroic deeds will 
never be forgotten. 



CHAPTER X. 

- , . 

YEARS 1857-58 UP 70.64. 

Although Mr. Eraser McDonell issued the usual pro- 
gramme early in 1857, the Mutiny, naturally enough, kept many 
visitors away, particularly the fair sex, who were ; conspi- 
cuous by their absence. The native fair, however, was held 
as usual, and was crowded ; the officials and a contingent 
of soldiers from Dinapore were on the spot to prevent any 
outbreak; the racing resolved itself intq a very poor 'sky 
affair, Kenneth McLeod winning most of the events ; and 
there was nothing worth chronicling from start to finish, no 
dances or sports in fact, the very tamest Soneporc ever 
known. 

In 1857 the Indian Sporting Review^ the only reliable 
turf. guide up to then, died, chiefly because its Editor, Mr. 
Hume, tried to turn it into a political paper; naturally the 
interest its readers took in it fell off, and it was not till 1865 
that the resuscitation of the old Oriental Sporting Magazine 
l?y Mr. W. Gilbert Hickey, gives reliable data to go on. 
In 1858 the racing at Sonepore was again poor, but 'in 
^859 Mr^ Vincent had a strong stable of countrybreds, 
and with them" cleared the board both at Sonepore and 
Mpzufferpore; Schamyl and Helen were . simply invincible, 
thewgh opposed by -such good nags as Mercury, Cossack and a 



42 REMINISCENCES OF SOttEPORE. 

crack Cape horse of Mr. McLeod's. Early in 1859 Lord Ulick 
left Behar, being transferred to Calcutta. In 1860 Mr. Vincent 
went home, remaining there for two years, and during that 
time Mr. Wallace and Kennath McLeod chiefly divided 
honors at the Behar meetings. Lord Ulick Browne having 
got married in 1858 had retired from the turf for good, and 
from the day he faced the altar rails, he never again ran a 
horse or made a bet, a singular instance of self-denial, for 
he loved the game dearly ; but although a fair race rider, he was 
never a real master of the art, and his chief victories were 
on old Boomerang, who knew more about the art of getting 
home, than his owner did. Lord Ulick was a sportsman in the 
truest sense of the word, he never rode or ran a horse, but to 
win, and his delightful innocence to the end of his career 
was as refreshing as it was amusing to his friends. The 
soul of honor himself, he could believe evil of no one. 
Adversary, one of Mr. Wallace's Monghyr bred youngsters, was 
a great colt in 1861 and 1862, andMcGiveran won many a good 
race on him. He was by Crassus out of Antagonist by Veni- 
son and would have proved as consistent a performer as Mr. 
Campbell's Pretender, but he did not last long, being unsound. 
At the end of 1862, Mr. Vincent returned to India and took up 
the appointment of Dacoity Commissioner, having his head- 
quarters at Dinapore and living at Deega Castle, the big 
house on the bank of the Ganges. He still kept up his stud 
at Barh. He brought out with him a grand little thorough- 
bred Irish horse called Curraghmore, who won both the big 
cups at Sonepore that year and repeated the performance in 
1863. He was beaten the first day by a horse of Colonel Robarts, 
being unfit, but that gallop was just what he wanted and he 
romped home for the Bettiah and Sonepore Cups both on the 
same day. Alas ! that it should be so, but it is an undoubted 
fact that the horse was pulled by his jockey in the Winners' 
Handicap, and shame that it should be so, the jockey was 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 43 

bribed not to win, by a civilian. The night before the race, hear- 
ing that an attempt would be made to poison Curraghmore, Mr. 
Vincent placed a " Nujeeb " guard round the horse's stall, and 
at two o'clock in the morning they caught a European jockey 
trying to get into the stable. It was perhaps a pity he did not 
effect his purpose, as the horse was a man eater and would have 
certainly savaged a stranger, but a ring had been formed and, 
though the nobbling overnight failed, the horse was equally suc- 
cessfully stopped in the actual race. There were some rank 
scamps on the turf in those days, both amongst owners and 
professionals, and even Sonepore was not free from scoun- 
drelism. Peter was the jockey who rode Curraghmore. Shortly 
after this regretable occurrence, Mr. Vincent sold the good and 
game little horse to Major Goad of Simla, for four thousand 
rupees, but whether in addition to palpably roping the horse 
during the race, Peter had drugged the bit, so as to ensure his 
nefarious ends, will never be known ; at any rate, the horse 
never won another race, and his failure was put down to the 
usual weakness of English and Irish horses bad feet ; far more 
likely that poison was so infused into his system, that he went 
wrong all round. In 1864 Mr. Vincent resigned the service, 
but still kept up the Barh stud, though residing during the hot 
weather at Mussoorie, where he built a couple of nice houses, 
during the winter he used to visit his old hunting grounds at 
Sonepore and Mozufferpore, and, till his eventual return to 
England in 1869, always had something good enough to carry 
his colors to the front. Behar owed much to him as a valuable 
official, a straight racing man and an enthusiastic breeder of 
throughbreds. It was at the meeting of 1863 that Mr. Jimmy 
McLeod first made his appearance as a G.R. and he rode a 
C.B. mare of his own called Gentle Annie, second to the well- 
known Arab Selim. Old stagers knowing that Jimmy had little 
or no experience as a race rider, despised the performance, 
but seeing how well the mare hacl run, advised him to put 



-fcEMJNISCENCJES OF SONEPOfcE. 



up n professional the next day, and Jimmy, thinking this 

sound, -made a match, Gentle Annie to get seven pounds 

'from Selim, he put up the best jockey in the country, but 

the mare was beaten worse than when he had steered her 

himself. Little did those sportsmen think that the young 

Highlander would turn out, before many years had passed-, 

to be one of the strongest and best riders that we have- ever 

been able to boast of in India, and who across country proved 

almost invincible. Mr. Gough and Dr. Sawyers were breeding 

'some capital eountry-breds during those years at Patna, and 

the studs of Mr. Wallace at Monghyr, and Mr. Vincent at 

Barh, were in full swing, but the latter made a grave error; 

when Crassus was worn out as a sire, by importing the Irish 

Birdcatcher, a'lmost every one of whose foals turned out 

a useless peacock. Sonepore racing was principally kept 

up from 58 to 64 by the above-named gentlemen, Colonel 

Robarts, Lord Ullck Browne, Kenneth McLeod, and H. B. Sim 

son ; shortly afterwards the brothers Freeman, then part owners 

of Lall Serryah, seeing the pull they had, in having such a 

rider as young Jimmy McLeod, began to develope a taste 

for racing, and gradually the Lall Serryah stable rose to be the 

best in all Behar. But it was to Lord Ulick Browfte the 

.district owed most. Against mighty odds, he not only resus- 

citated racing at Mozufferpore, but never let it flag til : l he- 

was transferred to another province; he left India the virtual 

head of the Calcutta Turf Club, loved and respected by .every 

true lover of honest sport, a straight and true Irish nobleman. 

Colonel Robarts was a funny tempered, peppery old c fellow, 

and about this time owned a chesnut Australian nag called 

Linton, who could win almost any race, if he chose, but, 

like his owner, he had a will of his own, and he generally 

bucked his rider off when going to the post, and then took 

an excursion into the country. The Colonel used to go to the 

starting post, armed with a hunting whip, and his son, poor 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 45- 

Abdobj tihyafe, who rode 'the brute, used to complain-bitterly 
of the old gentleman's behaviour; he said he didn't mind the 
cuts from the whip, which as often reached him as the horse, 
nor the frequent spills, but it was the fluent native abuse 
fired at him, to which he objected. Henry Hudson bought 
Chocolate, and many a good race he used to fight out in these 
years with Simmy on Indigo, and Frank Vincent on Diamond. 
Ned Urquhart was no mean rider, nor was his brother Alec ; 
in -fact Behar could boast the'n of at least a dozen really good 
men, second to none of whom was Paddy Hudson, though he 
had had the advantage of having ridden from childhood, which 
many of the others had not; at a finish he was the master 
of them all. One of the most amusing sights at Sonepore 
in the fifties and sixties, used to be old Mr. Kenneth McLeod. 
Never was ancient border chieftain a greater stickler for 
dignity, than was the indigo king of Sarun, He used to strut 
about dressed in full Highland toggery, looking at his horses, 
and surrounded by a mob of sycophantic satelites. The 
Laird of Cockpen wasn't in it with him, but though a little tin god 
in Chupra, the Chumparun boys cared not a jot for his airs, 
and only laughed at his harmless vanities. One day on the 
Chupra race-course, a youngster, one of our most promising 
G. R's., got up to ride a sulky, hard-mouthed brute called Bob, 
jn a race in which Kenneth had entered a moderate enough 
nag called Exshaw-No.- 1 ' t the old man asked the youth 
what chance he thought Bob had. " Well," was the answer, 
".I doubt if I shall keep the brute on the course, but if I do 
I shall" be near winning." As it happened Bob was in a good 
humour kept, .straight, and won, though he swerved round and 
bolted through, the opening, when still going full split, just 
after passing the winning post. As the rider brought -Bob back 
into the paddock, the Laird said to him in a most dignified 
but reprehensive tone, "I thought you said young man you 
couldn't keep that horse on the course." "I never thought 



46 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

I should have been able to do so," was the quiet reply. But 
the arrogance of the Laird was too much for Paddy Hudson, 
who was standing by, and he blurted out, " Til bet you a gold 
mohur McLeod, no one else here will ride Bob round the course, 
Til bet you five gold mohurs no one will gallop him round the 
course, and I'll bet you twenty gold mohurs you won't walk 
that horse round the course." The great man shut up instanter 
and walked off considerably riled. Dozens of tales could 
be told of Paddy's trite sayings ; who that heard it, will ever 
forget the way he, years after this, chaffed Stanley Collier, the 
Civilian, at one of the balls. Collier had just come up 
to Behar for the first time, as Joint Magistrate of 
Mozufferpore, and even then, gave strangers the idea that he 
fancied himself immensely, and in dancing he held his head 
very stiffly, and with nose high in the air was careering round, 
absolutely ignorant of the intense delight with which his 
gyrations were watched by a lot of wall iflowers, of whom 
Paddy was one. Unfortunately he pulled up just by the 
irrepressible Irishman, who marched up to him and said," I 
say Martingale." "My name is Collier, Sir, not Martingale," 
was the indignant rejoiner. "Is it indeed, but you badly 
want a Martingale all the same" was the unabashed reply. Of 
course everyone exploded with laughter, and Collier speechless 
with rage stalked indignantly away. Collier meant well, though, 
and his manner was almost entirely due to shyness. The 
Sonepore mute conjuror, had Paddy beautifully once. At the 
races he came up to Paddy, and motioned to him that h e 
wanted to know the time, Paddy, put his hand to his pocket to 
pull out his watch, but found it non est. " By jove, I had it all 
right a couple of minutes ago," he exclaimed. The conjuror 
pointed to Paddy's tent, off ran Paddy, and found watch 
and chain reposing on his dressing table. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONfePbflt. 47 

CHAPTER XL 
YEAR 1865. 

The year 1865 is best described as the Soldiers' Year, for 
they turned up in swarms, and were in evidence everywhere. 
Messrs. Collins, Vincent, Urquhart and Freeman being the only 
civilians opposing them. Messrs. Collins and Rimmer had a 
strong stable, and they won most of the big events. Colonel 
Robarts and his handsome eldest son, Abdool Ghyas, whose 
mother was an Afghan lady, was as usual present. Mr. Dun- 
bar, under which name the redoubtable Ned Urquhart ran, was 
represented by two or three horses, but his proverbial luck 
did not stand him in stead that year, for he won nothing ; he 
had Pixie, an exceedingly fast sprinter, whose distance was 
five furlongs, but unfortunately the average distance of the 
races of those days, was a mile and a half, so a sprinter was 
comparatively useless, save as a pacemaker. Smith of Asia 
was there in full fig, he was running as Captain Charles, and 
had the English mare Morning Star, and the Australian Whale- 
bone both distinguished themselves ; a very fine command 
of language had the gentle Smith, it was a treat to listen to 
him blessing his syces. Colonel Twysden, a very fine horse- 
man, and Captains Cunningham, and George, from the North- 
West brought down their horses, and ran them pluckily, though 
the company was too good for them, and they did not score 
a single winning bracket. Most unfortunately one of Captain 
Cunningham's horses died while the meet was in progress, and 
he was convinced it had been poisoned, but a post mortem 
conclusively proved natural causes only. The meeting fell 
early in the year, the 3ist October being the first day. Events 
opened by Mr. Collins winning the Leger with Dirk Hatterick, 
his other string Amsterdam, being second, Marmion of 
Colonel Robarts', Vernon, and Woodman of Captain Cun- 
ningham's following them. Then again the same stable 



'*f INISGENCE-S OF SONEPOR-Ev 



carried off the Chumparim Cup, with the mighty Vanderdeck- 
en, and again Colonel Robarts had to be content with second 
honors, his colors being carried by Challenger; Captain Cunning- 
ham ran third with Bellona, steered by Joseph, yst. 81bs. Who of 
those who saw the portly trainer Joseph, some years later, 
leading in the invincible Bendigo time after time, on English 
race courses, would have thought he could ever have scaled 
so light. Harry Abbott once rode against him, saddle and 
all 6st. 4lbs., Joseph carrying yst. 61bs. Toujours Messrs. 
Collins and Rimmer, for the third race, the Durbangah Cup 
for maiden C.B's and Arabs, fell to their fine ches nut Arab 
Sultan, Joseph up, the Lall Serryah C.B. mare Matchless 
second, Messrs. Cunningham, and Urquhart's nags Snowdrop 
and Dolarie whipping in. The fourth race fell through, and 
a match between Mr. Howard's Mary Williamson, and Law- 
rence Crowdy's Laughton Woods, resulted in a win for the 
former. The second day again began with a win of the 
Hutwa Cup for Messrs. Collins and Rimmer's Dirk Hatterick, 
Van second. They had declared to 'win with the -former* 
The Planters' Purse gave Captain Smith a bracket. Whale- 
bone, with a native up, beating Captain Cunningham's Adel- 
aide, who was steered by Joseph ; Mr. Vincent's Mabel was 
third. Captain Bishop pulled off the Galloway Stakes, with 
a nice little Arab, Pickle, and that ended the day. Van 
easily disposed of Rocket, Challenger, Morning Star and 
Blink Bonny in the Civilians' Cup, and Whalebone put the 
Visitors' Plate to the credit of Smith of Asia. Nothing but 
scratch races for the rest of the day. The fourth day showed 
better racing and bigger fields. Vanderdecken won the 
Sonepore Cup, beating Rocket ; Morning Star declared to 
start, but paid forfeit, as she was to run in the next race, the 
Doomraon Cup, which she won easily, beating Vanderdecken* 
who was conceding her a stone. Blink Bonny won the Welter, 
beating Walebone, Cobweb, Rocket, and Pixie-." "At f last the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 49 

planters scored a win, for Verdant Green, now Mr. Free- 
man's property, got home for the Hajeepore Stakes, and 
Jimmy McLeod followed up the stable luck, by winning a 
match for ten gold mohurs, riding his own country-bred pony 
Sam Slick, for which he had paid fifty rupees, against one of 
" Bricky," Collins' called Little Van, who was steered by Auck- 
land. Jimmy was giving Van a stone, and wanted to risk only 
five gold mohurs, but " Bricky " said " No, why its honly ha 
harm full of hindigo for you, and a cart load of bricks for 
me." On the last day Messrs. Collins and Rimmer's Elvira won 
the Losers' handicap, after a good race, beating Gentle Annie, 
Amsterdam, Adelaide, Bonnie Morn, and Challenger. Smith 
of Asia collared the Ticaree Cup with Morning Star. Collins 
bought her after this but had no luck with her, and she 
died from some internal complaint. Colonel Robarts had 
a look in at last, getting the second class handicap with 
Rockwood, and that finished the racing for the year. Taking 
it all in all a very good meeting. A fine lot of professionals 
were present Joseph, Arnot, Woods, Chapman, McGiveran, 
Williamson, Hackney, Jaffir, Abdool and Choochoo, all above 
the average as horsemen. Nearly all are dead now, I think ; 
Hackney became very religious in his latter days, very sin- 
cere, he was much respected by all who knew him, for there 
was no humbug about his piety. 



CHAPTER XII. 

YEAR 1866. 

For 1866 the Stewards were Messrs. Collingridge, Aber- 
crombie, Richardson, and Fraser McDonell, with Teddy 
Drummond, then Judge of Bankipore, as Secretary. The 
entries had been fairly promising " Bricky " Collins, Colonel 
Robarts, and Messrs. Blacker, Major Windham, Morgan and 
Captain Cunningham were the principal outside owners 



50 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Mr. Freeman being the chief local one. It was at this meeting, 
which opened on the i3th November, that for the first time an 
objection was raised to the gold mohur tickets which up to 
then had been the rule. Mr. Drummond at the first ordinary 
put the question to the vote, and, after a good deal of discussion, 
it was held that those wanting the change were in the major- 
ity. The innovation was sensible, for in the excitement of 
bidding, owners found it naturally easier to calculate odds 
with ten rupees tickets. For the St. Leger, five were declared 
to start, Jack Sheppard, Debenture, Medora, Monarch of the 
Glen and Milliner. Mr. Blacker' s Debenture was made favourite, 
selling for Rs. 380, Medora the only other fancied. Then came a 
lottery on the Bettiah Cup for which Morning Star, a lovely 
English mare, the property of " Bricky " Collins, would alone go 
down with the public, her only opponents being her stable- 
companion Vanderdecken, with Rockwood, and Silver Star. 
" Bricky" bought her all to his own cheek for Rs. 260, and would 
give nothing away. For the Durbangah Cup, Buckleg and 
Abdalla were about equally fancied. Mr. Blacker like " Bricky" 
had full confidence in his horse Buckleg and would not let the 
public have him. On the course in the morning the band of 
the I O5th Regiment discoursed sweet music, having followed 
up the pestilential gun, by coaxing the lie-a-beds out of their 
beauty sleep with " Slap bang, here we are again." A big- 
durbar which was being held up-country by Sir John Lawrence, 
then Governor-General of India, kept away a good many army 
men, but nevertheless the stand was very full, Colonel Robarts 
and his fine half Afghan sons. Dr. Rimmer, and " Bricky" 
Collins now racing apart, being very much in evidence. 
Debenture opened the ball, by scoring an easy win in the 
Leger for Mr. Blacker. Again the favourite scored in the Bettiah 
Cup, Morning Star with Dignam up, winning from Rockwood 
who carried . the native boy Choochoo ; the long professional 
had by BO means an easy itask ta get home. Mr. Collins had 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 5* 

declared to win with the mare, though his other string, the great 
Van, was of course the better ; but at one time it looked as if 
Hackney would have to bring up the champion, as Choochod 
at the distance post brought up Rockwood with a rattle, and 
Dignam's whip hand went up as a danger signal, but his mount 
lasted out, and got home by half a length. Mr. Blacker's luck 
was in, for Buckleg with Tingey up, won the Durbangah Gup 
as he liked ; never headed, he simply romped home. The last 
face, the Moorcroft Stakes, a three-quarter mile selling race, 
.fell to Mr. Collins' Zuyder Zee after a good race with Mr. 
Major's Violet, who overpowered her jockey, and ran herself to 
a stand still; Zuyder Zee was put up for sale, entered at 
Rs. 700, Mr. Major ran him up to, and bought him for Rs. 1,075. 
Mr. Major was old Major " Buxie " Brown of Dinapore, he 
was paymaster there for years, he bred Verdant Green himself, 
he also bred some fine half English cattle there and did a lot 
of good in that way. At the second night's ordinary the first 
lottery was on the Hutwa Cup, Morning Star, Vanderdecken, 
Rockwood and Kate being the only starters, this time " Bricky " 
declared to win with Van, but had to pay Rs. 620 for him, much 
to the delight of the lucky ticket holder ; the rest went for an 
average of thirty rupees. For the Planters' Purse, Blink 
; Bonny, Amsterdam, Verdant Green, Coupon, and Pixie were 
declared ; Amsterdam, the property of Dr. Rimmer, a hot 
favourite, bringing Rs. 410, Blink Bonny Rs. 190, Pixie Rs. 140, 
Coupon Rs. 70 and Verdant Green Rs. 20, the favourites were 
both bought by the same gentleman, Dr. Rimmer, the owner 
of Amsterdam buying the Verdant one. These were the only 
lotteries held, as there were only three starters for the Gallo- 
way Stakes, and the small fry hack owners did not want to 
gambol over their mokes' chances, so all got early to bed or, 
rather, to supper. Vanderdecken won the Hutwah Cup in a 
-.?f rot, there being no excitement over the race, but very 
much more interest was evinced over the Planters' Purse, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



for it leaked out during the morning, that it was not unlikely 
the great Amsterdam would be beaten by a dead outsider. 
Pixie a weak backed, but speedy chesnut Australian, made 
running for half a mile, Amsterdam held in a nice position by 
Dignam, but here Verdant Green shot to the front and won 
easily; though, Dignam gave Amsterdam a terrible grueling in 
his endeavours to get home. Colonel Robarts' handsome little 
bay Milkmaid, romped home for the Galloway Stakes, and then 
the lucky Mr. Major's Monarch of the Glen won the Hack 
Stakes, villainously ridden; Mr. Freeman's Marchioness, 
with Jimmy McLeod up, second. For the third day's racing, 
Vanderdecken frightened away everything but Rockwood 
and Silver Star, from the Civilians' Cup and he brought Rs. 640 
in an eight hundred rupee lottery. A poor field, too, declared 
for the Visitors' Purse, but the lottery was a good one for 
ticket takers ; Blink Bonny brought Rs. 300, Amsterdam Rs. 500 
and Challenger Rs. 270, tickets, Rs.gSo. Dr.Rimmer andBumph 
Freeman had now gone into a confederacy, and they declared 
to win with Blink Bonny, so their only opponent was Colonel 
Robarts' Challenger. Three declared to start for the 20 
G. M. Stakes Buckleg, Abdallahand Prince Alfred, the latter 
was installed a hot favourite and went for Rs. 500, the others 
only realising, Rs. 50 and Rs. 20. Van won the Civilians' Cup 
hard held, but the talent got a nasty knock in the Visitors' 
Plate, and the confederates stood aghast on seeing the issue, 
when Choochoo on Challenger fairly and squarely outrode 
Hackney on Amsterdam. Mr. Collins' Prince Alfred justified 
his owner's confidence by winning the two mile Arab race in 
a walk ; and then Jimmy McLeod finished up the day by win- 
ning the pony race on his own Sam Slick, beating the crack pro- 
fessional Hackney, on Mr. Collins' Little Van, a creditable per- 
formance for a comparative beginner, for Hackney was a fine rider 
Still poorer were the lotteries for the fourth day's racing, only 
two filling, due chiefly to the falling through of the Sonepore 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 53 

Cup, one filled on the Doomraon Cup, for which Morning Star, 
Dirk Hatterick, Rockwood, Silver Star, and Kate accepted, it 
being virtually a duel between the rival stables of Messrs. 
Collins and Manchester, the former's stable was run up to 
Rs. 600, but Bricky stood by his nags pluckily. Then there 
was a lottery on the Welter, five starters, Prince Alfred was 
favorite. The day opened with the Hajeepore Stakes, only 
Van, and Debenture, going out; and again the fiddle-headed 
old buggy nag had it all his own way. Then came the 
Doomraon Cup, which Morning Star won easily for Mr. Collins; 
there was a good deal of grumbling over this handicap, the 
other owners thinking Dirk Hatterick chucked in, but he ran 
a rank cur and finished in the ruck. Colonel Roberts, too, was 
very angry at game and consistent little Rockwood's impost of 
8st. The Welter was an upset, for Mr. Major's new pur- 
chase, Zuyder Zee, who had sold for Rs. 90, won easily from 
Challenger. Five stripped for the Hajeepore Stakes, which 
Dr. Rimmer's Amsterdam won, never being headed, and so 
ended the fourth day. The poor acceptances for the principal 
races made punters shy, and again only a couple of lotteries 
filled ; both on the second class handicap, Dirk Hatterick favo- 
rite in both, fetching Rs. 290 in one of Rs. 750, and Rs. 300 in the 
second. Again owners were dissatisfied with the handicaps, 
the chief cry being from the owners of the worst horses, who want- 
ed crushing weights put on the good animals, which the Stewards 
were far too sporting to do ; for they started both the big 
handicaps at the fair racing weight of 9st. lolbs. In the Ticcaree 
Cup, they went in all conscience far enough, when they 
allotted Morning Star nst. 4lbs ; but even then there were 
howls, verily a handicapper's life is not a happy one ! Only 
two came to the post for the Losers' Handicap, Colonel Robarts' 
Rockwood, conceding Mr. Freeman's Blink Bonny ist. 5lbs., the 
former won from pillar to post. Then the mighty Van, the only 
acceptor out of the five handicapped for the Ticcaree Cup, walk- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOREi 



ed over for it, after which the crowd of grumblersturhed to watch 
the second class handicap, a gift, as they fancied, for .Dirk 
Hatterick. How the owners had snarled at each other on 
seeing the weights. Colonel Robarts said Dirk had been 
chucked in ; Bricky urbanely replied that he felt blooming 
certain he had, but the winner turned up in Silver Star, and 
Bricky stuck his tongue in his cheek, as he led Dirk who 
had finished in the ruck, past the Colonel ; Zuyder Zee was 
a good second. The meeting wound up with a selling race, which 
Doctor Rimmer's Blink Bonny pulled off. The racing, taken 
as a whole, was poor, as Mr. Collins' stable was too strong 
for the rest ; but still good horses had competed, and the pity 
was that old Van so far outclassed the rest. Mr. Major did 
well with Zuyder Zee, and why the big stables did not buy 
the horse in after the first selling race, was a puzzle to , the 
majority. He was bought for a thousand, but after the meeting 
the astute Mr. Major parted with him for Rs. 3,000 and 
half winnings at the coming Calcutta races, his old owner 
Mr. Collins, being the buyer. The fair was a small one, and 
the show of horses poor in the extreme, yet a lot of very 
heavy shouldered coarse specimens of CabooHs, fetched a 
good deal more than the usual figures for such cattle, on ac- 
count of a lot of Calcutta dealers having come up, and the 
competition being, in consequence, keen. There was a good 
show of cows, and bullocks, but very few elephants, due to 
the Durbar forming a greater attraction. This was the year 
when the great Agra Bank went smash, crippling many of 
the local indigo planters. The course was in execrable order, 
full of rat holes, Mr. Mitford's Mirage broke its fetlock in 
one, when exercising, and had to be shot. This was 
the year in which Mr. Edward Studd, senior, won the 
Grand National, at Liverpool, with Salamander. Some funny 
stories used to be told of old Buxie Brown's essays at training. 
He had a firm conviction of the efficacy of homoeopathy, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 55 

and used to fill his unfortunate animals up with drugs, 
Once Dr. Rimmer gave him his horses to train, while he was 
away, and he gave the whole lot rheumatism, by chucking 
cold water over them when they came in hot from their gallops. 

It was at this meeting that Mr. Gilbert Nicolay first 
donned silk, he had come out to indigo the year before, at the 
early age of nineteen, a pretty blue-eyed, fair-haired, slim 
youngster, with undeniably good hands, and pluck, he was the 
beau ideal of a race rider, and in a very few years he turned 
out one. of the most accomplished horsemen in Chumparun, 
and could hold his own, not only with the best G.R's. in the 
country, but with professionals too. A true gentleman in every 
sense of the word, Gilbert would not have pulled a horse to save 
his soul. He had a brother nicknamed The Emperor, an equally 
good fellow who would probably, had he lived, have turned out 
quite as good a rider as Gilbert, but unfortunately he could not 
stand the climate, and died a short time after he came out. 

Mr. Vincent went for two years furlough at the end of 
1866 and during his absence Sir Seymour Blane was racing 
under his name. 

,Thpse who witnessed it will never forget the awful acci- 
dent which occurred at Sonepore in 1866 and ended the career 
of as promising a young soldier as ever wore Her Majesty's 
uniform. Poor young Boileau of the lythB.C was bolted with 
by a mad half-bred Australian brute, called Alfred, belonging 
to Jack Becher; unable to pull him up, he was carried into 
the trees, behind the stables, and in endeavpviring to avoid one 
branch, his head came crash agajj#i| r n other,-, and the skull was 
simply smashed beyond recogniti&nv The regiment was under 
orders for Bhootan, but Boileau had come to say farewell to his 
ma^ny friends. This sad event cast a terrible gloom over the 
meeting. Alfred ended his days as a dog-cart nag of Harry 
Abbott's. 

- . - , 



56 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

CHAPTER XIII. 
YEAR 1867. 

About a month before the meeting of 1867 took place, 
the Secretary found that the mango tope in which the tents 
are pitched, and the course, were under 18 inches of water, 
owing to the Gunduck inundations. Without seeking the 
assistance of the district authorities, he had the bunds cut, and 
though the rains lasted unusually long, the ground dried 
by the commencement of the cold weather, and though the 
camping ground was, of course, damper than usual, it was 
quite dry enough for security from malaria. The course was. 
at the commencement of the meeting, decidedly heavy be- 
tween the half and quarter mile posts, but after the first two 
days it was good going enough. 

It was satisfactory to find that the untoward season was not 
likely to affect the meeting, as Monday, the 4th of November, 
saw the usual succession of visitors, carts, and coolies, trooping 
in, although some sportsmen could not get away from their 
occupations till the last moment, and this circumstance dimi- 
nished the attendance at the first night's lotteries. 

There were a good many stables, large and small, to 
contend for the handsome cups, and other stakes, but acci- 
dents and misfortunes had affected the prospects of some 
materially. Mr. Collins had lost Morning Star, and Vander- 
decken had engagements at Hyderabad. The death of Dr. 
Rimmer, would have disqualified all his nominations, under 
English racing law, but under a Calcutta Turf Club rule, Mr. 
Freeman was allowed to take up the nominations, and would 
have run the horses, but they unfortunately all got rheumatism, 
owing to Buxie Brown's treatment Mr. Blacker, the Calcutta 
merchant, had a good stable, but not only had he lost Ham- 
mond, his trainer, who brought out Debenture in such good 
form the previous year, but all his horses were in very back- 
ward condition, chiefly because the shape of the Bangalore 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 57 

course on which they were trained, did not allow of real gal- 
loping for horses with any stride, and because the Sonepore 
course was not fit for use till so late. Colonel Robarts had 
a fine string of horses, Rocket looking very well, consider- 
ing the hard work he had done during the last year. Sir 
Seymour Blane, Messrs. Milford, Wheal, Major Brown and 
Mr. Howard made up the list of candidates for Sonepore 
honors. 

At the first Ordinary, the moderate attendance affected 
the lotteries, which were decidedly mild, though five horses 
were declared to start for each of the three first races on the 
following morning. Lotteries at Sonepore were again carried 
on with ten rupee tickets. 

The races commenced on Tuesday, 5th November, with the 
Sonepore St. Leger, for all maidens. As neither Red Lancer, 
nor Knight of Avenel, were in a state to run well, while Orphan, 
and Venture, were facing company rather too good for them at 
the weights, it looked like Lombard Street to a China orange, 
on Favourite, after her performances at Mysore, especially as 
she was in excellent condition, and, with boozy old George 
Gooch on her back, she romped home. First blood for the 
Colonel. He followed up his luck, by winning the Bettiah Cup, 
with Rocket, and then Mr. Collins had a look in, collaring the 
Durbhangah Cup with his stud-bred rejection Eruption. Mr. 
Blacker's Dauntless, a bad-tempered brute, must have ruptured 
something internally, in this race, for on returning to his stable, 
he laid down and died. Venture won the Moorcroft Stakes. 
On the second day, the Colonel's stable had another outing, 
for he won the Hutwa Cup with Rocket, and the Derby with 
Diamond. On the third he walked over, with Rocket, for the 
Civilians' Cup, and Bricky Collins won two events, the Arab 
Handicap with Prince Alfred, and a pony race with Little Van. 
Jimmy McLeod won the Hack Race on his own nag Lord of the 
Isles. Prince Alfred was a beautiful Cape horse, but when he 



58 REMINISCENCES Ofr SONEPORE. 

had done racing, old Bricky gave him to his assistant, a man 
named Pelman, and he finished his career in a buggy at 
Cawnpore. On the fourth day, three of the four events fell to 
Colonel Robarts, Jimmy steering Bellona for him in the Welter, 
and Venture won the Hajeepore Stakes for Mr. Major. On 
the last day, Seymour Blane had a major share of the sugar, for 
he won the Ticcaree Cup with his grey Arab Caliph, and a horse 
handicap with his Australian Nancy, afterwards known as the 
flying mare. Lowe rode Caliph, who was only a galloway ; 
half a mile from home he seemed beaten, but got his second 
wind, and, recommencing pulling, won from War Eagle, ridden 
by Dignam, half a length only being the verdict ; Diamond, Gooch 
up, third. Joseph was riding as light as 8st. ylbs. at this 
meeting. All were glad to see that good sportsman Colonel 
Robarts do so well, and also Sir Seymour Blane and Mr. 
Collins. 

One of the chief events of the meeting was a Fancy 
Fair, held to raise funds for the improvement of the stand 
and ball room. There was at first an idea of rebuilding al- 
together, but the expense put this out of the question; nor 
was it necessary, as all that was required was a new division 
wall between the existing rooms and a few new beams. Seats, 
a complete stock of tables, chairs, chandeliers and other 
lights, crockery, glass, cutlery, etc., had to be laid in, to 
save borrowing annually. There was no particular pressure 
for space on the stand then, as the two small platforms 
near the winning post were, though always well filled, 
sufficient. 

The Fancy Fair was a great success, and a large 
sum was realised, of course prices were exorbitant as 
usual, and there were odds and ends, such as two good 
sells in the shape of Richardson's show, and a photo- 
graphic tent, aunt sally, skittles, American bowls, beer 
taps, etCr 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 59 

Roses were sold at a rupee each, on condition that they 
should be placed in the button hole of the purchaser, by the 
fair seller, but perhaps the most profitable sale of all was 
that of a bottle of scent which realised in sprinkles on hand- 
kerchiefs nearly Rs. 50. 

The native fair was an average one, and the usual variety 
of booths was to be seen. The shops had rather improved 
during late years, and some of the exhibitions of glass were 
really good. A brisk business seemed to be done in native 
wares, and brightly shone the colors in the cap shops where 
the native jeunnesse dore of Behar could ornament their heads 
to the extreme of fashion. 

The horse fair was good as regards weight-carrying 
Caboolis, but that was all; there were scarcely any decent 
looking country or stud bred horses, and the show of Rung- 
pore ponies was poor, while there was not a single good hairy 
Hubshee, a class which used formerly to be well represented 
at Sonepore. There was, as usual, a diminutive pony; he was 
nine hands and one inch in height, but not well proportioned. 
The elephant fair was good, and several fine animals were 
bought. 

On the whole, the meeting was decidedly a good one, 
and everything went off most pleasantly, without "rows" or 
disputes about anything. A few points about racing were 
raised, but the Stewards settled them, and nothing more was 
said, to the credit of those who raised the questions. There 
was still the vain effort made to bring Arabs and Australians 
together. In the Winners' Handicap, Rocket was treated to 
I2st. the Arab winner getting 6st. ylbs. The attendance was 
considerable, though there were one or two camping grounds 
vacant, and certainly the civilians of Behar did not muster as 
strongly as usual. The fulminations of the High Court perhaps 
kept away the Judges, but besides the bench some others 
were massed who might have been expected as certainties. 



60 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

It was, I think, at this meeting that the dumb conjuror 
took a rise out of old Surgeon-Major Thorp. He had managed 
to get a rupee out of the tightly shut hand of that fine athlete 
"Barra" McQueen,' who had been stroke of his boat at 
Oxford, when the old Doctor shoving out his leg of mutton 
fist sung out, " Bedad I'll trouble the haythen to get it out 
of this," but his face was a caution when on opening his 
hand, he found the dib gone. " Begorra, the divils in the 
blackguard/' he roared ; " turn him out." Dear old Thorp was 
a beautiful swearer, and hated natives like poison, but his wife 
lectured him so about it, that he resolved to reform, and 
when he got in a rage with his bearer, used to shake his fist at 
him and say, " Oh you frugal swain, you know what I mean." 
He used, when in charge of the Mozufferpore gaol, to catch all 
the indecently clad fakeers, who walked through the town, and 
have them washed and shaved, and then, clothed in a respect 
able dhoty, they would be escorted out of bounds by the police. 

One great change struck old visitors forcibly. There 
was neither a civilians' nor a planters' mess, as in the old 
days, when all the bachelor administrators joined the former, 
while the Behar Province seldom turned out fewer than thirty 
members of the planters' mess, and often a good many more. 
Old stagers can remember the jolly party of the blues, when 
sixty have sat down to dinner at their mess. It was remarkable 
how small the attendance was from Tirhoot. The general 
management of the indefatigable Secretary was excellent. 

CHAPTER XIV. 

YEAR 1868. 

Early in sixty-eight Teddy Drummond, still Secretary, 
addressed a round robin to all friends of Sonepore, pointing 
out that the accommodation, as it then existed, was year by 
year getting more and more inadequate to hold the ever-in- 
creasing visitors, and he appealed for funds to enable him to 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 6l 

enlarge both ball and supper rooms. The proceeds of the 
Fancy Fair of 1867 amounted to Rs. 3,500, but the sum wanted 
was twelve thousand. The Maharajahs of Hutwa, Doomraon, 
Durbangah, and Ticcaree, in addition to their Cups, gave a 
thousand each, and Benares sent a donation of five hundred. 
The result was the ball and supper rooms, as they were up to 
1895, and well might Teddy Drummond, and his brother 
Stewards, be congratulated on the fine line of buildings which 
greeted the eyes of the visitors, as they drove into the favorite 
tope of trees on Monday, the 2yth November 1868. The ball 
room was now an exceedingly roomy and handsome one, and 
the long corridor and supper room, all that could be desired, 
the decorations, thanks to the fair, ladies who assisted the 
Secretary, were tasteful ? Nearly a week before the races, 
tents began to rise, stables to be erected, and horses to gallop ; 
sure signs that a bumper meeting might be expected, and the 
expectations were fully realised, as not an empty camping 
ground was to be seen on Monday, the day before the races 
began, whilst the demand for racing stable room, was greater 
than had been known for years, nor was the quality of the 
horses in any way inferior to the quantity. The beauty and 
fashion that not only poured, but rolled in, to grace and enjoy 
the "Goodwood of India" was worthy of Goodwood itself : 
and the horses were the " cracks " of India. Those great 
opponents in former years, Vanderdecken, Rocket, Nancy, 
Favorite, Bellona and others all arrived, in due order, with a 
host of minor celebrities ; the arrival of some English horses, 
lately imported, who were now to run for the first time in 
India, added a fresh interest to the racing. These were May 
Bell and Adventuress brought out by Mr. Vincent, who returned 
this year ; Sir Seymour Blane was now using Joseph's name 
to run under. 

The first stable to enter an appearance was the Ghazee- 
pore one under the charge of Joseph. The string consisted 



62 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

of the famous mare Nancy, Earl King, the two English 
maidens Maybell and Adventuress, besides Detrimental, and 
Black Prince, candidates for the Colonials in Calcutta, the 
Arabs Saladin and Whitehaven, also four country-breds 
Shamrock, Vonved, War Eagle and Barham, the last two 
being maidens from the Barh paddocks. Joseph had many 
difficulties to contend with this year, which prevented all 
his horses being in as good order as could have been 
wished ; two or three of them, however, looked fit to run 
for their lives, prominent among them being Earl King, who 
was this year a big horse. Nancy too, looked well, but she 
blew so hard in passing the post, each time she had a fast gallop, 
as to make spectators fancy she was short of work, and hardly 
fit to compete with the great Van. The two English fillies 
looked blooming, but were evidently unfit. Indeed, it 
was publicly said that, owing to the state of of the Ghaziee- 
pore course, they had not had a gallop till they came to 
Sonepore, a week before the races, and were merely to be 
started to get them into condition for Calcutta. Both were 
much admired as fine specimens of the English thorough- 
bred race horse. Among the country-breds, Shamrock was 
the only one in Joseph's string in good order, looking a very 
different horse to what he was last year ; then he was a bag 
of bones, now he appeared a mass of muscle. The Arab 
Saladin was in regular work, galloping daily, but not in the 
form he went last year ; Whitehaven was only walking. 
Still Joseph's was a very strong stable, every class of horse 
being well represented. 

The next arrival was Colonel Robarts, or rather his 
horses Rocket, Favorite, Bellona, and Growler, all names well 
known to fame, and the maiden Longden, said to be better 
than any of them. This stable was not, however, in its usual 
force. The Barrackpore race course, on which they had been 
trained, was under water for the greater portion of the train- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 63 

ing season, and the horses in consequence arrived at Sone- 
pore fat, and it was soon seen, from the way they galloped, 
that none of them would humble the pride of the mighty 
Van ; the only one of the lot that was going in good form 
being Favorite. Colonel Robarts had, besides the above 
horses, several maidens ; but the only ones doing strong work, 
and that eventually appeared in public, were Warrior and 
Hector, the former a Waler, the latter an Arab, and a very 
pretty one, too, but too small to be a race horse. Next came 
Mr. Major with his two English mares Mayfair and Vivian 
(late Rinderpest) and his Waler mare Venture. To these he 
had added a pair of bobtailed Australian mares, whom he 
had named Variation and Vexation ; these three were in tip- 
top condition, thanks to the fine course at Unundpore, on 
which they had been trained. They were under the charge 
of John Irving, who deserved great credit for the fine form his 
horses displayed. Mayfair had cut herself in crossing the 
river, so it was doubtful whether she would start or not, but 
Vivian was looking beautiful ; a handsome likeness of her 
half-brother Vauban, and such a pretty mover, that she was at 
once installed as first favorite for the St. Leger for all 
maidens, but a stable accident prevented her starting during 
the meeting. 

Mr. Blacker's stable then arrived under the care of 
Wheal, consisting of the English horse Dr. Swishtail, the 
Arab maiden Bloodsucker, and a Cabuli mare called Lady 
Elizabeth. " Nothing there to set the Ganges on fire," was 
the public verdict, and all were sorry that so popular a racing 
man as Mr. Blacker was not better represented. " But 
where " asked the public " is the great Van all this time ? " 
" Not come yet ? " and " Not come yet ? " was the cry, till at 
last it began to be rumoured that he would not come at all ! 
" Too good to be true," thought his opponents, and so it was, 
for on Sunday " Old Bowler," as Auckland was called in the 



64 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

stable, marched into Sonepore, followed by Vanderdecken, 
Prince Alfred, Eruption, and a C.-B. maiden named Ninetta (by 
Crassus out of Nina by Cotherstone), all in blooming condition, 
and yet showing that they had done plenty of work ; and all 
agreed that the " great horse " had never looked better. 
This made five strong stables to contend for the pride of 
place ; but yet a sixth has to be described. 

The Dinapore Stable consisting of the waler mare 
Orphan, and the two maiden country-breds Zenobia, and 
Defence the latter an uncommonly fine colt by Selim, out of 
Fortress all three in good racing condition, having being 
trained by their owner, Mr. Howard, who evidently under- 
stood the science. 

With at least forty horses in the field, all prepared to run, and 
the course in beautiful order, good racing was confidently expect- 
ed, though it was hardly hoped that any of his opponents would 
be able to make Vanderdecken " stretch his neck," and expect- 
ations were realised, for he won the Sonepore, Bettiah and 
Hutwa Cups, though Nancy, beat him in both the Civilians' 
and Ticcaree Cups, getting 2ilbs. in the first and a stone 
concession in the latter race. Joseph won two races with 
his country-bred Shamrock, Mr. Major scored a win with 
both Variation and Venture, Jack Becher won the pony 
race with little Tom Tit. Mr. Blacker's Bloodsucker collared 
the Derby from a poor field, and Mr. Howard's C.B. Defence 
appropriated the Durbangah Cup. Jimmy steered Brown 
Duchess in, winner of the Hajeepore Stakes, the Moorcroft, 
and Hack Handicaps, also Bonnie Morn for the Galloway 
Stakes, Gwatkin Williams' Rosebud for the Galloway Handi- 
cap, and Ned Urquhart's Blue Gown for the Cabuli race. 
All round the meeting was a success, the prizes were well 
divided, and all owners went away pleased, particularly old 
Bricky Collins, who gave a Cup to show his satisfaction. 
This was Mr. Vincent's last year on the Indian Turf. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



Mr. Vincent retired to England at the end of 1868. He was a 
constant writer to the old Oriental Sporting Magazine his 
racing nom de plume being " Castor " and his shikari one 
" Shikar." He used to spear bears on his old pony Ginger. He 
eventually gave the Barh stud and its relicts to his brother- 
in-law H. B. Simson for the nominal sum of Rs. i,ooo. Jimmy 
soon closed it. 



CHAPTER XV. 

YEAR 1869. 

Fortunately for the fortunes of Sonepore Mr. R. J. Dick- 
enson, volunteered to take up Teddy Drummond's mantle for 
1869, and with Brigadier-General Milne, Fraser McDonell, Fred 
Collingridge, Ralph Abercrombie, then in the zenith of his 
glory, and Dick Jenkins, as his henchmen, a capital programme 
was issued. These were Sonepore's halcyon years, all the 
cracks of India racing on its course, hospitable camps filled 
with fair women and brave men, and thorough good fellowship 
abounding. Never did prospects open more brilliantly, for was 
not the mighty Australian horse Melbourne coming over from 
Madras to fling down the gauntlet to the Bengal, Behar and 
North-West horses ; heaps of outside owners were booked, and 
Jimmy was to introduce us to his gallant bay Australian Delphos, 
the very best, and most honest chaser India has ever seen. 
Ned Urquhart, the Tirhoot Planter, had at this meeting the 
unparalleled luck of, with a single ticket in two lotteries, 
drawing Melbourne in each, and realising Rs. 900 in one and 
Rs. 800 in another. Ned was a living wonder to us, every- 
thing he touched seemed always to turn to gold. Young Stuart 
Jackson, now the well-known burly and popular Sylhet tea 
planter, was then a Beharite and a guest of Mr. Abercrombie's; 
filled with his host's good cheer, and champagne, he entered a 



66 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

lottery room for the first time in his life, took a few tickets, 
as is often the case, was uncommonly lucky, drawing Melbourne 
and getting a big price for him. It was at this meeting that 
young Sir Claude Champion De Crespigny sent his horse and 
trap, slap at the race course rails, just for a lark, the nag 
jumped and the trap smashed them, fortunately with no 
damage to the madcap driver or his fellow passengers. Sir 
Claude had no business to be at the meeting, as he had come 
away from his Regiment at Lucknow without leave, having 
merely left a letter on his chiefs table asking if he might 
absent himself. On arrival he found a wire ordering his 
immediate return, but affecting to misunderstand it he sent 
a deferred answer " Thanks for leave granted." He then got 
a peremptory one, meanwhile he had all the fun of the fair. 
When he got back the Brigade Major strongly advised him 
not to go on the race course as the General would certainly 
put him under arrest, five minutes afterwards he met the 
General, who told him the same story about the Brigade Major, 
but he was too great a favorite not to be forgiven and an 
apology got him off. Debonair Charley, Marten, and Colonels 
Robarts, and Monty Turnbull, were among the visitors. The 
Rifle Brigade, then at Dinapore, were in full force, that 
good rider Captain, now Colonel St. Paul, one of them. The 
lotteries buzzed briskly even on the first night, and the number 
of grand horses using the course on off mornings, was a sight 
to warm sportsmen's hearts. Mr. Vincent's old mare Miss Tre- 
lawney, who had run successfully the previous year as Adven- 
turess, and was now the property of John Wheal the trainer, 
looked a picture, so did Melbourne, and the handsome Fa- 
vorite, but Longden seemed all off. It was obvious that the 
quality of the English and Australians imported had improved 
greatly since last year, and that the once 'invincible Vander- 
decken and Rocket would no longer hold their own. Miss 
Trelawney won the Leger, though Octavia and Longden had 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 67 

been made equally hot favorites ; and again an outsider in 
Favorite, got home from Detrimental, who was villainously 
ridden by Couchman. Shamrock won the Tirhoot Stakes, 
and again came an upset in the Derby, Colonel Robarts' Cy- 
clone, who only brought thirty dibs in the lottery, beating 
Longhope, who fetched Rs. 300, and Akbar, who brought 
Rs. 360. For the second day Edward Studd (senior) had given 
a handsome cup value a thousand rupees and for this all the 
cracks faced the flag. Five, two thousand rupee lotteries, filled 
on the event, Melbourne, with Challoner up, won easily, Favor- 
ite second. Jimmy on Hotspur, won the Moorcroft Stakes, and 
Mr. Stewart's Akbar the Durbangah Cup. The Civilians' Cup 
on the third day, fell to Melbourne, who had only Detrimental, 
Rocket, and Driver, to oppose him. In the Sonepore Stakes 
Handicap, Sunbeam beat the favorite Shamrock, Delphos 
walked over for the Corinthian, and Blackwatch won the 
Hajeepore Stakes, Shahzadie, Jack Becher's mare, beat Mr. 
Beadon's Bullfinch, in a pony race in heats. Jack was too 
good-natured for words ; an unblushing onlooker, after Jack's 
pony had won the second heat so easily that it was twenty to 
one on her, offered to take half of her lottery risk, and Jack 
actually complied. 

The next morning was big with the fate of Melbourne, 
and Favorite, the former carrying this time seventeen pounds 
more than when they last met. Melbourne went for a ridi- 
culously high price in the lotteries, Rs. 1,300, and was backed 
at odds against the field. The stable had no money on, but 
they put Joseph up, Octavia with four stone from the crack, 
made slow running. Miss Trelawney Wanted the pace made 
for her, but no one obliged her. Up to the half mile post, they 
only cantered, but when they began to gallop a.t the quarter milt 
post, they were racing in earnest, opposite the stand Joseph 
on Melbourne was half a length behind Favorite, and had to 
take up his whip, but to no purpose, for the mare won by a 



68 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

head, it was an intensely exciting finish. Then Detrimental, 
the favorite, with seven pounds more than Rocket, won the 
Doomraon Cup cleverly, by a length. 

Then came the Behar Cup Handicap, for Arabs, the 
talent spotted Sunbeam to win, with Akbar next, and a pretty 
race it was, Sunbeam winning, Akbar second. The knowing 
ones picked out Octavia to win the Hutwa Cup, and she 
won in a canter. They backed Mayfair, and she won, so that 
had not the heavy betting race, Melbourne's, been a fluke, 
punters would have had a good day, but the gilt was most 
effectually taken off the gingerbread, in the first and great 
race. 

On the Fifth Day, the winning Handicaps had all to be 
made. Some fifty horses were handicapped, and very 
well the Stewards did their task, after hours of hard work. 
It is a very easy thing to pick a hole in a handicap, which 
has been very difficult to make. In the first class Handicap, 
Favorite met Melbourne on three pounds worse terms 
than when she beat him before ; while Miss Trelawney, and 
Octavia, were both in on worse terms. Miss Trelawney 
was, however, supposed to be a regular sticker after the 
pace had been good for a mile and a half, but Melbourne, 
with Challoner up, won easily from Favorite, Miss Trelawney 
handy. For the second class handicap, Sunbeam got only a 
few pounds from the walers Bellona and Delphos, both fast 
and fit. The gallant son of the desert beat the latter easily, and 
made a good fight of it from the distance with the other, but 
the waler mare wore him down, and won pretty easily at last, 
by half a length. For another handicap, Variation had a 
walk over. For the Hack Handicap, Blackwatch was beaten 
off, in slow time. And for the Arab three quarter mile Handi- 
cap, with good entries, acceptances and lotteries, Longhope, 
the favorite, beat Eclipse by half a length, but was beaten by 
3 neck on the post, by Rising Star, whose drawer in the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 69 

lottery bought him for thirty rupees. A hurdle race was 
cleverly won by Polly Studd, on Jack Becher's handsome 
brown Encounter, beating Captain St. Paul on Stella, and 
Jimmy's pretty little mare, Brown Duchess, ridden by owner. 
Joseph came a lovely cropper over the preliminary hurdle. A 
good sell was perpetrated one morning. Sir Claude de Cres- 
pigny bet Old Lavelle, of Bangalore, one of the Southern Con- 
federacy, a case of champagne, that he'd carry him on his back 
a hundred yards, on a racing day, between the races, and would 
run the distance in fourteen seconds. The bet was booked 
and both carrier and rider appeared. " I am ready" said rider, 
" Strip first" said carrier, " I said I'd take you not your clothes 
so strip or stump up." Midst roars of laughter the sell was 
accepted, and the wine drank that night by the jockeys at din- 
ner. Grateful indeed were all to Mr. and Mrs. Dickenson, and 
the Stewards, for a meeting which has scarcely ever been 
eclipsed, and at which as Stuart Jackson expressed himself 
" the fun and divarshun were too lovely for words." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

YEAR 1870. 

Although so far removed from head-quarters as Ghazi- 
pore, Mr. Dickenson consented to pilot the meeting of 
1870, and his programme drew good entries ; a lot of new 
names among the owners showed the public confidence in the 
management. Bombay, the North-West, and Calcutta sent in 
their contingents, and it was confidently hoped the Governor 
General, Lord Mayo, would be present, and run horses, but 
he had to put off his visit, because it was found necessary to 
postpone the races from the original date, the 3rd to the I5th 
November. Floods had swamped the course in the middle of 
October, fear of fever kept many ladies away, and consequent- 
ly camps were smaller than in 1869. Black Eagle, with John 
Irving up, won the Leger. Favourite walked over for the 



70 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Bettiah Cup, and grand fields turned out for the Countrybred 
Tirhoot Stakes, and the Arab Derby. Bumph Freeman's Lur- 
line beat nine beauties in the former, and Zillzillah won the 
latter, after a hard tussle with the favourites Silvertail, and 
Grey Warrior. On the second day, old Rocket got the best of 
Longden, Miss Trelawney and Centurion in the Ticcaree Cup. 
Aga Khan's beautiful Silvertail got home for the Durbhangah 
Cup. Colonel Robarts' Bellona scooped the Planters' Purse, 
Black Princess the Moorcroft, and then came the G. R. race, 
which was won by that sporting young civilian Mr. Power on 
Baronet, beating Gilbert Nicolay, Bob Hill and Ted Hickey. 
On Saturday only Black Eagle, would face Favourite for the 
Civilians' Cup, but the mare was off, and he won easily. Jimmy 
matched Delphos for Rs. 500, to run half a mile, against the 
English mare North Star, but got beaten ; Silvertail proved 
good enough to score again over a Cup value eight hundred 
rupees given by Colonel Robarts. Portia, with Jimmy up, 
beat Mr. Power on Baronet, for the Hajeepore Stakes, and 
Ned Urquhart won a pony race on Edward Beadon's Orion. 
Favorite won the Doomraon Cup, and Jimmy scored another 
win for Mr. Beadon, on his galloway Seagull. The last day 
was uneventful, Black Eagle won the Hutwa Cup and Bellona 
the Patna Stakes. Again the prizes were well divided and 
the meeting passed pleasantly enough, though the native fair 
had broken up. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

YEAR 1871. 

In 1871 Thoby Prinsep, Magistrate of Patna, was at 
the helm, his henchmen being Fraser McDonell, Colonel Bray 
in command of the g6th Regiment at Dinapore, and R. B. 
Jenkins, Commissioner of Patna. Dick Jenkins was one of the 
best of good fellows and it took a lot to make him lose his 
temper. He had some very fine pointers, and one day was out 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



shooting with a junior civlian, a Mr. Davison who had a 
very complimentary nickname ; Davison missed the par- 
tridge he aimed at, but potted the Commissioner's dog, which 
rolled over dead as a herring, Jenkins dropped his gun, looked 
at Davison and thunderd out " Y're a fool, Sir, " and off 
he went home ; Davison bolted back to his Sub-division in a 
blue funk. Mr. Abercrombie, the Opium Agent, better known 
as "Bicrom," and Fred Collingridge completed the body 
of Stewards for that year. Sonepore never has seen, and 
probably never will again see, such a year as this was, 
for Lord Mayo, the most popular Viceroy that ever repre- 
sented Her Imperial Majesty, was present, and in addi- 
tion, the mighty Jung Bahadoor, Prime Minister of our 
staunch ally Nepaul, with a bodyguard of 300 Gurkhas, a harem 
of pretty, lively, Nepaulese Princesses, and a following which 
attracted even more admiration from the natives, on account 
of their barbaric pearl and gold, than even the scarlet uni- 
formed chuprassies, and bodyguard, of the herculean Irish Earl. 
Unfortunately the racing was poor, although the horses ga- 
thered there represented the best in the country. Sir Seymour 
Blane had gone home and Joseph now had Mr. Raphael Solano's 
string from Arrah; by this time the large-hearted young Spanish 
zemindar was slowly, but surely, ruining himself over the green 
turf, and even more seductive green cloth; he had Bridesmaid, 
an English mare of no mean reputation, and the Arabs Suliman, 
and Rising Star. Tommy Tingey steered them. John Wheal, 
who had then charge of the strong string of Mr. Mullick, of the 
Seven Tanks, Calcutta, brought them all up to the meeting, 
the black mare Moonlight, the brown filly Camelia and the 
chestnut Miss Trelawney all English the Australian Cen- 
turion, the beautiful black country-bred Gipsy, and the Arabs 
Acrobat and Prince Regent. Finch, the nice little English 
light weight lad, rode for the stable; the untimely death of 
this straight and good rider^ a few years after this, was uni- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



versally regretted, both by his brother professionals and the 
patrons of the turf. Mr. Lethorn, the sporting contractor, 
was there in full fig, a marvel of the tailor's art, his striped 
unmentionables being really things of beauty, while a Jew slop- 
shopkeeper would have wept over his coats. With long Oscar 
Dignam to train, and ride for him, and such horses as Karpos, 
Call, Echo, Verbies, the Arabs Abu Jenab, and Abdool 
Rahmon, Mr. Lee looked like sweeping the board. Curiously 
enough we had at that time on the turf, three men, of a class 
we have never before or since seen on it, and going big licks 
too, Lethorn, " Bricky " Collins and " Porky " Joe Rainford, all 
contractors, with not a single aspirate between them, but as true 
and straight a trio of sportsmen, as ever owned a racer. They 
raced for the sheer love of it, ran straight as dies, backed 
their horses pluckily, got periodically stoney, then away 
they would go, make fresh oof by their profession, and hie 
back to the turf to spend it. I take my hat off to you 
Lethorn, Collins, and Rainford, rough and ready as you 
were, many of your so-called superiors racing in those 
days, might with advantage have followed the bright example 
set by you three good men and true. Swipey Bill Brewty, 
best man on Arabs that ever threw leg over them, was 
to the fore with some of the lovely desert steeds of H.H. Aga 
Khan of Bombay, among them Dervish, Silvertail, and Jiram. 
Mr. Frost, who was Mr. Macalister of the Calcutta ice house, 
had in charge of Keats, Syrian, and the afterwards, over a 
country, invincible Kilmore. Of local horses, there were very 
few, though Messrs. Butler and John, who were beginning to 
show that in times to come they would be bad to beat, had one 
or two good ones, particularly a chestnut Australian called 
Revenge, and a nice looking brown called Planet, who was 
unfit. The combination was a good one, for few better judges 
of a horse ever breathed than Arthur Butler, and few finer 
horsemen than his partner Jimmy McLeod, the Laird of Lall 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 73 

Serryah, who is one of the few instances of a man who had 
scarcely ridden as a child, arriving at something very near 
perfection, by sheer patience, and determination. As a chase 
rider I have never met a better ; strong, cool, dashing, and 
with fine judgment, it was a treat to watch, or ride alongside 
him and what a fencer he made of Delphos. G. Rs. did not 
show up strongly at this meeting, the professionals having it 
all their own way. Arthur Forbes donned silk once, in the 
hack race on Venture, and though he failed to get home, showed 
that the Civil Service had not yet gone quite to the dogs, as far 
as sport was concerned. Jimmy did not have a single winning 
mount. Among those who sported silk unsuccessfully, was 
Kelly Maitland, not yet owner of the invincible Kingcraft ; 
Jack Becher had that tearing pulling demon of a Cabuli, Sul- 
tan, who used to be trained in the Tewarreh indigo fields by 
Harry Abbott ; the brute invariably bolted with his seven stone 
jock, and usually went a couple or three miles ere a hold of him 
could be got. Being sound as a bell, under such training, he 
was naturally always fit as a fiddle ; and he was scarcely ever 
beaten in his class. Tom Fraser made his maiden effort in 
the pig-skin, at this meeting, and rode a country-bred gelding 
called Trolley, the property of Harry Macdonald, against Sul- 
tan steered by Ferdy Shaw; but Tom was beaten out of sight, 
and retired to his tent to ruminate over the folly of matching 
an unfit against a fit quadruped ; still mountain dew will con- 
sole any Highlander, and with the discomforted owner he 
soon gathered consolation. Irish Mayo was as fine a speci- 
men of his dear old country's aristocracy, as ever took shille- 
lagh in hand, or cuddled a colleen, but the Highlanders who 
stood up alongside of him at that Sonepore gathering of 1871, 
were a body he would have loved to lead anywhere where 
danger lay. Harry, John, and Callum Macdonald, Farquhar 
MacKinnon, Louis Reid, Dr. Kenneth McLeod, and the smaller 
though equally gallant brothers, Roderick and Jimmy McLeod. 



74: REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

On Monday Lord and Lady Mayo arrived, accompanied by 
the Marquis and Marchioness of Drogheda, Earl Donough- 
more, Major Bourke and a large party. At the lotteries specu- 
lation was poor, and only four papers filled. The customary gun, 
and simultaneous march of the band through the camp, woke 
up the visitors at daylight, and soon all were en route to the 
course ; at a quarter past seven the Viceregal party drove up, 
and were received by the Stewards, all most killingly got up. 
Never had such crowds been seen lining the course, and never 
such a swell assemblage in the grand stand. The bright 
frocks of the ladies contrasted prettily with the gaudy dresses of 
the numerous Maharajas, but the two most prominent figures 
were Lord Mayo, and the mighty Jung Bahadoor. No greater 
contrasts in humanity could be conceived, the Earl towering over 
most of his staff and the bystanders, with his fine genial face 
and kind eyes, every inch a man, and a fitting representative of 
England's Queen ; but while the squat little Gurkha seemed 
dwarfed alongside of him, there was that in the keen, bright, 
restless glance, and square jaw of our staunch little friend, 
that spoke of indomitable courage, stern determination and 
quickness of resource. He was not a bit abashed, and bore 
being stared at, and crowded in on, with a sang froid and 
good-natured amusement, that would have done credit to a 
Yankee. He showed extreme interest in the horses, being 
particularly pleased with the English mares Bridesmaid, and 
Miss Trelawney, and also with the many fine Arabs. There 
was not much delay in marshalling the four competitors for 
the Leger, and a good-looking lot they were, as they flashed by 
the grand stand. Jaffer was on the favorite Merryman, and 
this invincible native jockey, had the task his soul loved, to cut 
down his field, and make every post a winning one. Victoria, 
Moonlight, and the local nag Planet, steered respectively by 
Bowen, Keats, and Donaldson, were never able to head Mas- 
ter Jaffer, and he cantered home an easy winner ; another 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 75 

instance, as Bowen observed when he dismounted, of Aryan in- 
justice to old England. It was at a race at the following Cal- 
cutta meeting, that Jaffer having had opposite orders, was re- 
monstrated with by an unlucky backer. Every Jock had been 
sent out with the same instructions, " Wait on the rest " and the 
pace in consequence was funereal ; Jaffer's memorable reply was, 
11 Why not I wait, why not ? What Europeans did do ?" For 
the Bettiah Cup, Call was a strong tip, and Mr. Lee's stable had 
been made favorite at the lotteries ; Joseph, was as good a trainer 
in India, as he proved afterwards in England, when he brought 
out the mighty Bendigo ; and when Tingey, after riding a judi- 
ciously timed waiting race, brought up Bridesmaid with one of 
his Chifney-like rushes, it was seen that all was over but the 
shouting. Mr. Lee's luck changed though, in the Tirhoot Stakes, 
and he scored an easy win with Verbies, who, like Gipsy, who 
ran second, was a rejected stud-bred clean bred beauties 
these, with no foul Norfolk trotter puddle in their dainty veins. 
Messrs. Butler and John's Bar None, ridden by a native stable 
boy, got a fearfully bad start, but she could not have won, even 
with a good one. She was bred by Frank Vincent at Barh. 
And then came the Derby, and what a lovely half-dozen they 
were ; little wonder Lord Mayo expressed loud admiration of 
them. The best jockeys in the country were up, and there 
was precious little to choose between Dignum, Bowen, Tin- 
gey, Bill Brewty, Keats, or little Finch, save that they all gave 
best to Brewty on Arabs. At the lotteries Abu Jenab in a 
thousand rupee lottery, had brought Rs. 390, Jyram Rs. 370, 
the rest bringing smaller sums. The Aga Khan party backed 
their nag hotly, but the astute Mr. Lee stood by his, as well, 
and what a race it was. For the first mile, the pretty little 
fellows ran neck and neck, with ears back, and flags flowing 
to the wind ; Suliman showed in front half a mile from home, 
Syrian and Acrobat next, then the favorites locked together, 
their jockeys never moving in the saddle, Frolic last. But 



76 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

soon the pace quickened, and the leaders were passed, and 
done with, but to everyone's astonishment, the despised Frolic 
was at the favorite's girths, and going strong, Bowenas us ual 
lying right along his horse's neck. From the distance a grand 
set to took place, and from the stand it looked a close thing, but 
the judge's verdict was Abu by three-quarters of a length ; a 
neck between second and third. Brewty lost his whip at 
distance, or might have reversed the verdict, for Jyram, though 
game as a pebble, was lazy like all the best of his class. 
Such crowds as assembled to see the great English "Lat )} 
Saheb, Jung Bahadoor and the Rajahs had seldom been in 
evidence at Sonepore, and the police had their hands full. The 
poor D.S.P. of Sarun's hair nearly turned grey, for the wild 
little Gurkhas were roaming the fair, thick as fleas on a dog's 
back, and had they got into conflict with any of the rag tag 
and bobtail, they would have thought nothing of whipping 
out their kookries, and slicing off their opponents' cocoanuts. 
But all went along smoothly, and the sanitary and other camp 
arrangements reflected great credit on the officers in charge. 
The lotteries on Wednesday were infinitely superior to those 
of Monday, Karpos bringing Rs. 600 in a two thousand 
one on the Ticcaree Cup, Bridesmaid Rs.23o, Miss Trelawney 
Rs. 260, and Victoria Rs. 200, the rest small prices. It was a 
great night for ticket-takers, and the Secretary had his work 
cut out. With Abu Jenab out of the Durbangah Cup, the 
Bombay pair were hot favorites. The Ticcaree Cup, i mile 5 
furlongs, brought out six, Karpos, Bridesmaid, Victoria, Camelia, 
Kilmore, and Miss Trelawney. Dignum on Karpos got 
away with the lead, was never caught, and though Tingey 
rode Bridesmaid all he knew, the long-legged jockey won by 
half a length ; Victoria, Bowen up, third. Then came the mile 
and a half Durbangah Cup, for which again six came to the 
post, the race was marred, first by a bad start, and then by 
the Aga's winning with the wrong horse. He had declared 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 77 

to win with Dervish, Brewty up, but the pestilent native lad 
on the really best horse, Jiram, and who had received instruc- 
tions not to win, unless Dervish was beaten by any of the 
others, either out of spite against Brewty, or because he had 
a few dibs of his own on his mount, came with a rush on the 
post, and won easily. The face of " 'Is 'Ighness' drunken 
jockey" as Brewty termed himself, was a caution to see. 
Always as red as a peony, at that moment it was purple, but 
like the coster he " hadn't a word for it." He never opened 
his mouth, but even still blacker looked the Aga's party, for 
they were out over two thousand rupees by the scamp's piece 
of folly. I'd like to know what happened to that boy when 
he got back to Bombay, he was probably transferred to the 
door-keepers' department in the Harem. I can't say my 
sympathies were with the losers, it served them right for in- 
tending to allow their best to be beaten by their worst. It 
was racing law then in India, but one which has since been 
sensibly cut out of the rules. Now came a race over which 
there was no end of fluttering among the local dove-cotes, for 
three of the jeunesse dore of Behar were to do battle in a 
half mile hack scurry. 

Brave Mr. Frank was the Jockey on Shanks, 
And Jimmy steered Warrior bold, 
While Arthur Forbes on Venture declared 
That he would not be left in the cold. 

Fashions were different then to what they are now, Jimmy, 
as he rode past the post with his Picadilly Weepers flowing 
in the wind, looked every inch a horseman, so did Frank, 
(Gilbert Nicolay) and if little Arthur's nose stuck out, as if anxi- 
ous to get in front of his horse's head, while the sitting down 
portion of his frame formed an acute angle in the opposite 
direction, yet the hopes of the Civil Service were in their plucky 
representative; and Jinks, Albert Mangles, and Thoby shout- 
ed encouragingly to him as he cantered down to the post. 



78 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Dundreary whiskers were in great demand in those days, 
and Newgate Fringes, of which Minden Wilson sported a fine 
specimen, but Gilbert Nicolay's beautiful, long, blonde mous- 
tache was so fetching, that when it had won him the sweetest 
voiced nightingale in Chumparun, clean shaving, of all save 
the upper lip, was rapidly introduced, and is still the Behar 
fashion. The race was exciting as far as Messrs. Frank and 
John were concerned, and resulted after a ding-dong finish, in 
favor of Shanks by a length, but poor Mr. Forbes was out of it 
from the start. The day finished with a mile and a quarter 
sweepstakes for which five went out, and the result was a 
magnificent struggle between Silvertail, ridden by Brewty, 
and, Rising Star with Tingey up, a dead heat was the verdict. 
In the run off, Silvertail won easily. 

Jung Bahadur came down in great state, with a bodyguard 
of about three hundred men. He and his followers had a 
large piece of ground under the mango trees portioned off 
to them. On the arrival of the Prince of Nepal, he was 
met at the river Gunduck by an A.D.C. in the Viceregal 
carriage and conveyed to his camp, a battery of Royal 
Artillery saluting him as he entered his encampment, where 
he was received by his own bodyguard, who presented 
arms. Jung's many wives had insisted on accompanying 
him to see and witness the sights, and the fun, and bathe 
in the sacred Ganges. There were over thirty of these partners 
of his weal and woes, and as each had a retinue of women 
servants, there was a goodly number in all. Next day, says 
Minden Wilson in his little book " Reminiscences of Behar," I 
went and called on Sir Jung, and found him looking at Lord 
Mayo's jewellery, and 'comparing it with his own. Lord 
Mayo's were beautifully set and shone forth with dazzling re- 
splendency, while Sir Jung's, representing enormous value, 
were dully set and badly cut. Jung was very affable, and 
conversed freely in Hindustani, which he spoke well ; he 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 79 

was a little man with a sharp, restless and cruel eye. The 
face was clever but cunning, and you might hope in vain for 
mercy if once in his power. The morning after his arrival, 
he and his suite arrived at the race stand on their state 
elephants. These animals were magnificently caparisoned 
with cloths of gold and golden howdahs. A durbar or recep- 
tion was held at midday on Friday, and all Europeans as well 
as native gentry, were invited to attend. It was held in a 
larg shamtana, at one end of which was a raised platform 
with two steps up to it. There were three chairs of gold 
on the dais, chairs in rows down each side of the shamiana 
were placed, the front row to one side for members of Sir 
Jung's staff, and behind them the native gentry. On the 
opposite side, chairs were placed for the Europeans, while 
up the centre was a carpeted walk leading to the dai's. 
Before midday all the chairs were filled, and shortly after 
Lord Mayo (in court dress, wearing his star and band of the 
Order of the Garter) walked in. All rose in token of respect, 
and His Lordship bowing to each side, took his seat in 
the centre chair of the dais ; as he did so, a royal salute 
vollied forth and the band of the European regiment played 
God save the Queen. A few minutes after the Viceroy had 
taken his seat, a commotion outside announced the arrival 
of Sir Jung and suite ; again the guns boomed, the guard of 
honor saluted, and Sir Jung Bahadur entered, sparkling with 
jewels, wearing on his head a golden helmet studded with 
precious stones and on top a ruby valued at three lakhs of 
rupees, out of which dropped bird of paradise feathers. He 
was met by one of the Secretaries, while his son or brother 
was taken in hand by another. These Secretaries, taking 
them by the hand, walked them halfway up the passage, where 
officials of higher standing met them and conducted them to 
the foot of the dais. Lord Mayo descending one step, offered 
Sir Jung his right, and the other his left hand, and seated them 



8o REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

on either side of him. The other members of his suite had 
been placed meanwhile by the Junior Secretaries in the front 
row chairs kept for them. The Governor-General after ex- 
changing a few words with the Nepalese Magnate, desired 
to be introduced to the members of his suite ; on this, the 
Secretary handed them up one by one, another man calling 
out their names. Lord Mayo shook hands with some, bowed 
to others, and they passed on and re-seated themselves. After 
this, Governmet House servants, dressed in red and gold, ap- 
peared with large trays of pan, a leaf in which is enclosed 
spices, betel nut and a mixture of lime and catechu. The 
pan was made up into little cocked hat shapes, held together 
with a single clove and beautified by a covering of silver 
paper. A Secretary went round with the attur-holder and 
sprinkled a little on each of the suite. Sir Jung and his 
brother had been specially served. After sitting the time 
required by durbar etiquette, Sir Jung, according to the cus- 
tom of Orientals, asked to be allowed to take his departure, 
which being granted, he rose to leave, all the spectators rising 
at the same time. The Secretary again handed them down, 
one man going to a certain spot and making them over to 
Juniors, till they reached their conveyance, when the guard 
of honor again saluted. The big guns boomed and Sir Jung 
returned to his camp. Lord Mayo sat a short time after Sir 
Jung had retired, then rising, walked down the passage, the 
spectators rising. As soon as His Lordship was out of the 
shamtana, the audience dispersed. That afternoon the Artillery 
from Dinapore were to exhibit their skill with their breech loading 
Armstrong guns to the Nepalese Prince and Generals. There 
was of course a great crowd to see the performance, in which 
Sir Jung took the greatest interest. The practice, both with 
shot and shell, was very good. When the firing had stopped, 
Sir Jung examined and admired the light cannons ; he then 
gave a general invitation to all to come and witness a review 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



of his troops, next day. That evening Sir Jung appeared with 
some of his staff at the ball ; they were almost gorgeously- 
dressed. Their idea of the right thing is that the young lady 
should dance and the lords of creation admire. Several of the 
ladies went to call on the Ladies Jung Bahadur. They were 
ushered in by the husband, and were received by the principal 
and the youngest of the Ranees. One of the ladies who 
called, described them as cheerful, rather nice looking women 
with strong Mongolian features, and fair for Orientals. The 
Ranees on parting with their visitors presented each with a 
piece of jewellery, the value being suited to the rank of 
the lady's husband. Next afternoon the Nepalese troops 
were paraded. They were a fine body of little Goorkhas, 
with legs that no Highlander need be ashamed of. As they 
marched past, their band struck up " Should auld acquain- 
tance." They had evidently learned their drill from some old 
French Officer, for when they went at the double, they kept 
time to the tap of the drum, which beat the " pas de charge." 
The last and most amusing evolution was the bayonet 
exercise quick time. The band struck up " Pop goes the 
weasel," and the fixed bayonets worked up and down, here and 
there, in exact time to that well-known old tune. Not many of 
these gallant little fellows ever saw Nepal again, for cholera 
broke out in their camp next day, and, though they were hurried 
off at once, the fatal disease never left them. One thing a 
Nepalese Goorkha fears greatly is a little soap and water, and 
to this aversion, was probably due the attack of cholera that 
proved so fatal to the little force that visited the camp on the 
occasion. There were several fine elephants among those that 
came down with the Nepal retinue. While they were at Sone- 
pore, one of the elephants brought to the fair for sale went mad, 
and, breaking loose, did great mischief, and people were in danger 
of their lives. Sir Jung hearing this sent one of his hunting 
elephants after him ; he came up to the savage beast on a 



82 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

sandbank near the river opposite, and at once charged. His 
Sonepore opponent put down his head and rushed to meet 
him. With a terrible shock they met, both seemed to stagger 
for a minute, and then the mad one turned tail and bolted, 
pursued by the other. The chase was not a long one, for Sir 
Jung's tusker gained on the other fast, and as he was descend- 
ing to the lower part of the bank, caught him in the rear with 
such force, that he drove him head foremost into the sand, 
where the now very-much-tamed elephant lay, receiving a 
dig in the ribs now and then from his stronger brother. The 
Sonepore elephant having hauled down his colors, his mahout 
or driver mounted on his neck and off he marched, looking as 
sheepish and cowed as an elephant possibly could look. 

It was at this meeting the folly of early morning racing 
was first publicly discussed, and while no one denied the 
soundness of the reasons against it, yet Civilians and Planters 
are alike in being conservative to obstinacy ; and so the per- 
nicious custom still continues, though an attempt to alter it 
is to be made this year. The lotteries buzzed fairly. Echo 
walked over for the Civilians' Cup, and only three, Silvertail, 
Rising Star, and Long Hope, went out for the Bedouins, finish- 
ing as placed, Kelly Maitland steering Rising Star. For the 
Hajeepore Stakes four went out, Mr. Lee steering Messrs. 
Butler and John's Revenge, whose owner steered Bearing Rein 
for Mr. Prince. Jimmy got off with a flying start, and when 
Revenge came up with a wet sail at the finish, he could not 
quite get up, but the irony of fate was apparent here, for Jim- 
my was over weight, and his own gee got the race much to 
Jimmy's disgust. Echo won a three-quarter mile sweepstakes, 
and that ended the third day. The off-clay was passed with 
polo and tennis tournaments, Lord Mayo riding about the fair 
on his grand weight carrier, Mr. Cox, which brought at thr 
sale of the ill-fated Earl's stud the biggest price ever paid for 
a hack in India, Rs. 4,300. On Friday the lotteries again 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 83 

were well attended, and Saturday promised and showed good 
racing. Events opened with the Sonepore Cup, two miles, 
which resolved itself into a match between Call and Merry- 
man ; the superior condition of the latter won the race, for Jaffir 
made strong running throughout, and won without effort. A 
good race was viewed for the Desert Stakes, but again the Aga's 
star of ill luck was in the ascendant, the stable pinned their 
faith on Dervish, and bought him at Rs. 350, declining to touch 
Silvertail ; but Brewty had his revenge, for he won on the 
latter, and the native youth on the favorite was not even 
placed. Brewty found his tongue this time, and alluded 
touchingly to the second sell the native Archer had given the 
stable. A jockey well educated in swear words, can be as 
forcible as the genuine coster when he likes, and Brewty was 
fluent and free. Over the Doomraon Cup, speculation at the 
lotteries had run high, Bridesmaid bringing Rs. 400, Karpos 
Rs. 360 and Miss Trelawney Rs. 80. Mr. Solano's mare won 
easily. For the Visitors' Purse four Arabs went out, Dervish, 
Suliman, Malabar and Syrian, Malabar the favorite, but he 
ran a rank cur and Suliman won easily. Then Joe Anderson's 
Seagull won the Galloway Stakes easily, from a poor field, and 
Kilmore upset a big pot by beating Echo in the mile handicap. 
Curiously enough both these horses came afterwards into the 
hands of poor Alf. Abbott, who bought them specially for the 
meeting at which he met his death, Barrackpore. On the 
fifth day, Bridesmaid continued her victorious career, and 
proved herself the best horse at the meeting by carrying top 
weight safely home in the Hutwa Cup. Silvertail, who had 
brought Rs. 740 to his lucky drawers at the previous night's 
lotteries, was backed by his stable, and this time their money 
was all right, for he won the Patna Stakes easily. Then Der- 
vish brought more oof to the Aga, by beating the favorite Ris- 
ing Star in the Chupra Stakes. Revenge proved himself 
facile princeps among hacks by winning from Shanks in the 



84 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Hack Handicap, and King David turned the tables on his con- 
queror of the previous day, by beating Seagull at a difference 
of ist. jibs, in the Galloway Handicap. The meeting ending 
with the memorable match between Ferdy Shaw and Tom 
Fraser, Harry Abbott would have steered Sultan himself, but 
for the fact that just before the meeting, he had been experi- 
menting on a mount which proved harder to ride than the pull- 
ing Cabuli. The following account of it, sent to the Civil and 
Military, may act as a salutary deterrent to other equally 
crack brained youths, who fancy they can ride saurians with 
impunity. In the words of an eye-witness : 

" It was in the rains, and we were up at Tewarreh Factory 
vats, when the jemadar told us that there was a huge alligator 
under the bridge of the river. Sending for a gun and a couple 
of bullets we went up to the bridge, and, sure enough, about 
twenty yards off, there was an enormous ' ghurial ' some 
twenty feet long, with his head just visible above the water. A 
well-directed shot caught him between the eyes ; and the brute 
mortally wounded, plunged into deep water, rolling over and 
over, and was carried by the tide down towards the bungalow, 
which was some quarter of a mile off. Running to the vat-house, 
Abbott seized a long rope lying there, rapidly made a slip- 
knot in it ; and declaring that he was not going to lose so 
lovely a skin, kicked off his boots, and just as he was in 
socks, breeches and shirt jumped into the river, giving me 
and a lot of natives the other end of the rope to hold. He got 
well into the middle of the stream and was quietly treading 
water while we were all anxiously watching, when suddenly, 
within two feet of him, the alligator plunged straight up 
out of the water, snout foremost, as alligators generally do 
when hit in the head. Without the least hesitation Abbott 
flung both arms right round the snout, and a regular rough-and- 
tumble ensued, I yelling to him at the top of my voice to drop 
it. Presently the brute's whole body appeared, and Abbott 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. $5 

calmly.. mounted .him, evidently trying the while to disengage 
the slipnot which had now got tight round his own arm, and 
to shove it over the brute's head. 

" Then the alligator started swimming, and we followed 
down the bank, when, just as we were opposite the bungalow, 
he pulled dead up, brought his tail out of the water and with a 
fearful side sweep capsized Abbott, snapping at him as he fell. 
Then came another fight, such as I never wish again to see ; 
the pair eventually disappearing beneath the water. We 
hauled away at the rope, thinking it was still attached to 
Abbott, when unexpectedly we saw him come up a few yards 
from the bank, evidently almost senseless. A Rajpoot peon 
jumped in and dragged his master up the slope. He was 
bleeding awfully and was a gruesome sight. Shirt in ribbons, 
arms and chest torn all over, both hands badly maimed, and 
the right foot completely crushed. He came to at once, and 
only said the ' The rope's safe over his nose' ; and so it was, 
sure enough, for the natives to whom I had thrown the rope 
were now busily engaged in hauling the wounded saurian on 
shore. 

" I never saw a man in such a mess ; and, to add to the 
horror, down to the edge of the river, just as we had dragged 
up her half-killed husband, rushed his young wife wringing her 
hands, and naturally half out of her wits with terror. While 
she was standing over him, and the servants were carrying 
him to the house, he started singing 'Home they brought her 
warrior dead.' A nice time of it we ."had; out in a jungle with 
no appliances to tie the severed arteries, and with a patient 
who would insist in trying to get out of bed to see how the 
skinning of the alligator was getting on. We tried to hire 
kahars, but the whole country was under water, and they re- 
fused to budge from home ; so we put him into a shampony 
and took him in to the doctor at Mozufferpore, taking from 10 
o'clock on Tuesday till 7 o'clock the next morning to do the 



86 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

twenty miles. Nothing but his high spirit and total inability 
to give in kept him alive through that journey. He ought to 
have died from loss of blood, for the wounds burst out every 
time there was a bad jolt over the breaks in the road, and they 
were legion. And then the poison from the bites and danger 
of lockjaw would have been sufficient to settle any nervous 
fellow. Luckily he has not got such a thing as nerves in his 
composition ; hence, I suppose, his escape." 

Rowland Hudson came out to India this year at the age 
of eighteen, and Red Gauntlet was his first racing mount out 
here. We have never seen his equal in Behar, for his first two 
years, he rode over a country as well as on the flat, and one 
of his best performances, between the flags, was when he won 
on that hard-pulling, shifty horse Blackboy, at Mozufferpore, 
beating Jimmy, who was on the best chaser in India, the white- 
faced Delphos, judge's verdict a length; but after the sad 
accident at home to his brother, who was killed in a hurdle 
race, Rowland acceded to the wishes of his relatives and 
gave up cross country racing. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

YEAR 1872. 

When 1872 began, Indian racing was undoubtedly in a 
parlous state, chiefly due to the red hot plunging of a not too 
honorable clique of men frequenting the North-West meetings. 
Neglecting their legitimate business, they went from fixture to 
fixture, vainly endeavouring to pick up at one shop what they 
had lost at another, lax Secretaries refraining from posting 
and allowing them to continue their unprincipled course. 
Little or no settling took place, and several meetings were 
consequently frequented by the hard-up crew who endeavoured 
to pigeon each other. Even in Calcutta the system of settling 
was unsatisfactory. Instead of the Secretary keeping the 
accounts, and collecting and disbursing the monies, the lottery 



REMINISCENCES OF SQNEPQRE. 87 

paper was given over to the buyer of the winning horse, and 
he had to run his chance of catching the losers, but the 
public were waxing wroth, and reform was insisted on ; one 
big defaulter was handed up and his game stopped for the 
time. The worst of it was that several of the principal sinners 
were brilliant horsemen, who might have been ornaments 
instead of discredits to the Turf, could they have refrained 
from gambling and confined themselves to riding for others. 
Behar suffered indirectly, and had to regret the loss of Mr. 
Raphael Solano's stable from its meetings, tor Joseph and his 
employer had come to ructions. In spite of numerous wins the 
account was on the wrong side, and eventually Joseph put 
Mr. Solano into court, but lost his case, the judge throwing it 
out on the grounds that promissory notes for Rs. 7,000 and 
Rs. 740 on which Joseph sued, were tainted with a partly illegal 
consideration, and therefore could not be successfully sued on 
in a Court of Law. Some years later, Joseph returned to 
England, became one of the most successful trainers in the 
country, and died a wealthy man. The High Court reversed 
the local judgment, and Joseph eventually recovered some of 
his money. But Solano burst up, and his stable was sold. 
Behar men had had a nasty jar over the Bengal Annual Steeple- 
chase, the last chase ever held inside the Calcutta flat course. 
First we lost that fine young horseman poor Wilkinson, who, 
riding Messrs. Arthur and John's second string Baronet, fell 
at the third fence post and rails and broke his neck. Jimmy 
won the race on Delphos, Captain Phillips on Challenger second; 
the latter objected to Jimmy for having missed a fence, but as 
Jimmy had come in by himself, the judge, thinking all the rest 
had come to grief, left his box to lead Delphos in, so though 
the Stewards, while holding Captain Phillips' objection valid, 
found it a fact the jump had been missed by Delphos, and 
therefore disqualified him, yet they argued that as there had 
been no judge in the box, Captain Phillips could not win either, 



88 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

so the race was declared by them null and void. Then we had 
to mourn the loss of Lord Mayo, done to death by a foul assassin's 
cruel knife at the Andamans. But in Tirhoot itself, things 
looked fairly rosy, for Jimmy McLeod and Gwatkin Williams 
were gradually bringing into the district an ever increasing 
and yearly improving lot of racers ; as fast as one got 
something good enough to win, the other would try and go one 
better, but up to this the Lall Serryah stable held pride of place. 
Lower Bengal, too, lost a good sportsman, well known to us up 
here as a champion slayer of tigers and the unclean beast ; 
five hundred of the former, and boars by the thousand, had 
fallen under his unerring rifle and undeviating spear; known 
as Black Simmy, to distinguish him from our Judex, Mr. F. B. 
Simson was a good man and true, and though not a racing 
man, was always ready to help keep up race fixtures at any 
station he was sent to. He has a son in the Kernaul Indigo 
Concern, who, though not yet a mighty Nimrod like his worthy 
dad, is the best hand at beans and bacon in the district ; they 
call him " The Stodger." That dullest of bores, and most sanc- 
timonious of prigs, George Campbell, Lieutenant-Governor of 
Bengal, who was always poking his nose into things that did 
not concern him, ruled then at Belvedere, and because poor 
Wilkinson met his death in the Bengal Grand Annual, he must 
needs step in and stop chasing on the old course ; and then be- 
cause pretty plain speaking was used, and repeated to him, in 
his nasty, spiteful way he revenged himself by threatening to 
prosecute the promoters of the time-honored Derby Lottery ; 
and as in addition to worrying the general community, he 
worried his subordinates inordinately, he was very much beloved 
by all sections of the community. The Maori's poems, compiled 
from the Oriental Sporting Magazine, were published this year 
in book form, some of them very clever, particularly one on the 
death of Jimmy McLeod's pet Arab pigsticker Bonnie Morn, 
and the song " A Planter's Bungalow." Rowland Hudson 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



made his debut as a race rider this year; next to Colonel Elliott 
(Mr. Locke), Rowland is the best G.R. we have seen in India, 
As Thoby Prinsep had departed to Calcutta, Eraser McDonell 
once more took up the reins as Secretary of Sonepore, the rest 
of the Stewards being the same as the preceding year. The 
dates fell early in November. Of the prfevious year's racing men 
Wheal was again to the fore, with a fine string of Baboo Shama 
Churn Mullick's, little witting that a few months would see his 
sporting employer relegated to that sphere specially set apart for 
good Hindoos, and his grand stud brought to the hammer. 
Shama Churn was a straight and thorough sportsman, and John 
Wheal worked honestly for him, though even then John bore 
the reputation, not unjustly, of being a confirmed grumbler. He 
had with him that grand Australian filly Phillipine, the English 
mare Moonlight, and the Arabs Prince Regent, and Acrobat ; 
John Irving had the Bombay stable, and Bricky Collins' old 
champion Vanderdecken, who changed hands frequently 
through the meeting, once being bought by Tom Gibbon, who 
eventually sold him to Rowland Hudson. There was plenty 
of go still in the three-cornered, fiddleheaded, honest old buggy 
nag, and none of his owners ever lost money on him-. But the 
stable of the lot was brought by Ali Abdoola, who had just got 
out of a mess at Bangalore, where his then confederate, Kelly- 
Maitland, had been warned off for a year, for having, as was 
alleged, offered a present to Hackney the jockey. Ali was 
allowed to race the horses, having severed connection witb 
Kelly ; many thought Kelly badly treated, but the authorities 
took a harsh view, and consequently we did not see the versatile 
correspondent of the Pioneer that year at Sonepore. Ali was 
accompanied by a bright little daughter, prettily dressed in Arab 
costume, who was quite at home in the racers' loose boxes ; 
she is the same plucky lady who is running the dairy farm at 
Allahabad. Ali had the handsomest horse we had ever seen in 
India up to this the great Australian chesnut Satellite ; he had 



90 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

also those beautiful Arabs The Earl, Shanghai, Sunbeam, and 
Chieftain, and the walers Jehangir, and Driver. Ali throughout 
the meeting behaved in the most generous and sporting manner, 
often keeping his nags in the- stable to give other owners a 
chance, when he could have won the race for a certainty ; this, 
naturally, warmed all hearts to him. An Australian bred Irish- 
man was there, named O'Shea, with a newly-landed and uncom- 
monly promising, but obviously unfit waler called Harkaway r 
which might have turned into a good horse, save for the cruel 
bucketing he got at Sonepore when still weak from the effects 
of the voyage. The local talent was all there, Arthur Butler 
and Jimirfy McLeod had a strong string, and won a fair share 
of races. Gilbert Nicolay was shaping very well, his long legs, 
good hands and temper, making him the beau ideal of a race 
rider. Tingey once said a very funny thing about Gilbert. 
It was at the Chupra Races, 1879, of which poor Gwatkin 
Williams was Honorary Secretary. Talkaway had just won 
the Hutwa Cup, Blue Bell, Tingey up, second, and Gilbert 
was third. When Gwatkin handed Harry Abbott the Cup 
which had on its cover a mounted jockey with extraordinary 
attenuated legs, Tingey, who was standing by, remarked, 
" Why that cup must have been meant for Mr. Nicolay to win, 
for the jock on the top is the dead snip of him." What did 
not add to the fun of the fair of 1872, was the presence of Sir 
George Campbell ; he had no sympathy for sport, and was an 
unmitigated nuisance. The racing opened with Ali's Jehangir 
winning the St. Leger from Phillipine, Jimmy's Gabbler and Mr. 
Phillips' Longwood beaten off. Then Dick Turpin won the 
Bettiah Cup, only Moonlight opposing him. Two only turned 
out for the Tirhoot Stakes for C.B.'s, Mr. Seventank's Selina 
easily beating Jimmy's Lady Hamilton. For the Derby five 
pretty Arabs went out, Ali's two, Shanghai and Chieftain, first 
and second. Jimmy won the Planters' Cup on his nice mare 
Duchess; Harry Eraser, not much of a. horseman, second, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 9* 

On the second day Dick Turpin, conceding a lump of weight, 
made mincemeat of Black Eagle, Phillipine and Karpos, in the 
Ticcaree Cup. Chieftain again showed his superiority over the 
other Arabs, by romping home for the Durbangah Cup, and good 
old Vanderdecken beat Portia, Harkaway, Hermit, and Driver, 
in the Planters' Purse. Driver took Dignum back to breakfast, 
bolting at the corner and going straight to his stable. Then 
Rowland Hudson steered Harry Eraser's Glenover prettily home 
for the Moorcroft Stakes, and so ended the second day. 
On the third day we were treated to a sight of the handsome 
Satellite, who walked over for the Civilians' Cup, a -bright 
golden chesnut two-year-old colt by Premier out of Edith by 
King Alfred ; he looked as he walked round, the very picture 
of a throughbred. Even crusty George Campbell could not 
refrain from expressing admiration for such a beauty. The 
Earl won the Bedouin Stakes, and Jimmy's country-bred 
Lurline won the Hajeepore Stakes in a canter. His luck was 
in, for he followed it up by riding his own Planet in winner of 
the selling race, old Van, with Rowland up, second. On the 
fourth day Satellite had another walk over, none of the 
others entered caring to oppose him in the Sonepore Cup, 
Sunbeam beat Volcano in the Desert Stakes ; Jehangir won 
the Dumraon Cup from Black Eagle and Karpos, and Shanghai 
won the Galloway Plate, Ali riding himself and beating 
Gilbert Nicolay on Harry Eraser's Kintail, Johnstone Smith's 
Kathleen third. Then came a hack race, at the weighing out 
for which Jaffir caused intense amusement. Mr. O'Shea had a 
coffee colored Eurasian jockey, who when in the scales put up 
the full professional penalty, " That not right," said Jaffir, " you 
need only put up half, you not whole white.' 1 Vanderdecken 
, won the race with the crusher of list. 81bs. up, beautifully 
ridden by Irving. Dick Turpin won the Hutwa Cup on the 
last day, proving himself after Satellite the best horse at the 
meeting. Vanderdecken again brought grist to the mill, win- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOR6. 



ning the Patna Stakes from Portia and Planet. The victori- 
ous Shanghai had another laurel in the Chupra Stakes, win- 
ning a pretty race by a head from his stable companion 
Chieftain. Then Ali generously presented a purse of Rs. 500 
for a handicap made by himself. Six started, and how good the 
allotment of weights was, was shown by all the horses being 
locked together at the distance, and midst the greatest excite- 
ment Jimmy squeezed Portia home, a length in front of 
Duchess, with Donaldson up. The meet ended with Mr. 
Vowell, the local Civilian, steering Kathleen home in front of 
Kintail in the Galloway Handicap. Two months after this 
Jimmy showed the stern stuff he is made of by going down to 
Calcutta and getting up after a week's dose of fever he rode 
Johnstone Smith's Dauntless to victory in the Ballygunge Cup, 
making running from flag to winning post. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

YEAR 1873. 

The year 1873 was a sorrowful one for Behar, it rang 
the death knell of the Pusa Stud. Sad it was to see 
the pretty fillies being drafted away to other studs, and 
to realise that in another few years the neat paddocks 
would be spoilt by the plough of the ryot, and tobacco 
and Indian corn substituted for lucern and oats. More- 
over, we had to mourn the death of a good man and true, 
that popular Civilian poor Rowland Vyner Cockerell, who, 
under his assumed name of Vyner, had nominated largely 
for this year's Sonepore Races. He was killed by his horse 
falling with him at Simla. A thorough sportsman and most 
popular official, he had none of the insufferable conceit of his 
brother Horace, who used to put on no end of side. There 
is a lovely story told of Horace. He once went into the Bank 
of Bengal at Patna to cash a cheque, and the youngster then in 
charge was new to the place, and did not recognise the little tin 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEfORE. 



god. Being busy checking some accounts he did not attend at 
once to Horace, who walked up and down, fussing and fuming. 
At last he looked up and said, " I'll attend to you, Sir, in one 
minute, please take a chair." "Take a chair," roared Horace, 
" do you know who I am, Sir ? I am Mr. Horace B, Cockerell, 
Secretary to the Government of Bengal/' " Oh indeed/' simpered 
the youth, " then will you please take two chairs/' Horace 
nearly exploded, but the story leaked out, and he got terribly 
roasted over it. Poor Rowland was of very different calibre, 
and the grief at his untimely demise was general. Held in 
high estimation, both as an official and as a member of society, 
his loss was felt by natives and Europeans alike. Blackboy, 
the steeplechaser, who carried everything before him at Cal- 
cutta the year before, was one of his best horses. He was a 
Steward of the Turf Club and a valuable one ; he was, more- 
over, one of the strongest advocates for a new Stand and 
afternoon racing in Calcutta. Messrs. Abercrombie, Paddy 
Hudson, and Richardson, were Stewards of Sonepore for 
1873. There was a bad show of horses at the fair that 
year, but the meeting was a big one as far as a gather- 
ing went. Genial Albert Mangles and the Bankipore con- 
tingent were all there, and the capital Band of the 
2nd N. I. was daily lent by Colonel Shaw to play during 
the races. The Planters were there in great force; burly 
Harry McDonald had been induced to go in for a horse 
with Polly Studd, and the huge Highlander was a host in 
himself at the lotteries. A rare good chap was dear old 
Harry ; one who left the district universally liked, and never 
having made an enemy. Polly Studd was a demon of mis- 
chief, always playing the most risky practical jokes on Harry ; 
in more than one case nearly breaking his neck, for twenty 
stone does not fall lightly, when shot out of a dogcart, from 
the wheel of which the pin has been previously removed. 
Mr. Bates from Madras had intended to run his horses at this 



$4 REMINISCENCES OF 4 SONEPORE.- 

meeting, but they did not arrive in time ; Vinall, his neat 
English jockey, was there and had a fair amount of wins. 
Brewty was in charge of Mr. Jones' string, including the 
mighty Satellite, and Wheal, now owner of Phillipine, which 
he had bought at poor Shama Churn Mullick's sale, had come, 
but he only brought the mare. He was in a particularly captious 
spirit this meet, and would not let Phillipine face Satellite the 
first day, though the result of the Ticcaree Cup on the second 
day showed him he was unreasonable in not having started her. 
Kelly Maitland had that good Arab galloway Crossbie, but 
did not appear once in the pigskin, though his nag was piloted 
to victory by Omer, in the Arab Handicap, which the astute 
one had persuaded all the owners present to subscribe for. 
Kelly had a "silvery tougue and fluent pen, and was out and 
out the best handicapper we have ever had in India. Mr. 
Macallister had only Dolly Varden and Syrian. The racing 
opened with the Leger, which only brought out Baronet and 
Scalpel, the former winning easily. Satellite walked over for 
the Bettiah Cup. It was a wonder to us all how Satellite stood 
up as long as he did for he flung his legs, all over the place and 
was always in danger of over reaching. The Tirhoot Stakes 
for C.B.'s did not fill, then a hack race brought out a field of six, 
three of the Lall Serryah stable filling the places, Driver steered 
by Jimmy, the winner, Polly Studd and a smart individual 
named Chichester, also sported silk in the race. Polly could 
ride a bit over a country, but he was no good on the flat against 
Rowland Hudson, Jimmy, or Gilbert Nicolay. The Derby was 
a wretched show, Desert Born playing with Rhiddni, the only 
other starter, and winning easily. The fifth race was the 
inauguration one, of what was termed the Behar Stakes, for 
all horses purchased by residents of the district, within cer- 
tain dates, for Rs. 1,000 or under ; seven stripped for it, 
Jimmy on his own nag Barrister won easily. On the next day 
excitement was rife, for Phillipine was to meet the great Satellite 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, * 95 

who was conceding her one stone thirteen pounds, but the 
colt failed to do it, and the mare romped home. The Dur- 
bangah Cup only brought out Moosa and a very third class 
Arab of Gwatkin's, J.B., in front of whom Moosa had 
simply to canter to win. The Planters' Purse brought out 
six, Driver and Red Gauntlet were favorites at the lot- 
teries ; but the dead outsider Scalpel was neatly piloted to 
the front by Vinall, Jimmy on Driver second, Rowland on 
Black Eagle third. An Arab Handicap for a purse of Rs. 300, 
presented by Mr. Macallister, proved a fine race, Delawar, 
Moosa, Chieftain, Crossbee and Syrian placed as named. 
Major Lindsay rode his own horse, carrying top weight, ten 
stone, and he would have got home, but being too sure of 
Chieftain's capacity, he made the unpardonable mistake of 
making running. Finch and Brewty quietly waited on him, 
and both squeezed in, in front of the amateur ; a neck dividing 
the three. Two poor hack races, with the local G.R's up, 
ended the day, Rowland winning the Moorcroft Stakes on 
Revenge, from Bar None and Portia, and Jimmy on the honest 
studbred rejection Parody, beating the walers Daybreak and 
Redgown. Bertie Short bought Daybreak shortly after this, 
and turned him into a chaser, but how he escaped breaking his 
neck off him, was a marvel, for Daybreak generally fell ; 
though more than once he was remounted by his plucky owner 
and won. The third day opened with two walks over by 
Baronet and Syrian, respectively, for the Civilians' Cup and 
Bedouin Stakes. Then came Kelly's Handicap, pulled off by 
his own Crossbee. Parody, who had been sold overnight by 
Jimmy to Harry Fraser, or, rather, Harry Fraser and Donald 
Reid, who raced as Mr. Donald, upset a pot on Red Gauntlet, 
Gilbert Nicolay on the winner, beating his own crock with 
Jimmy up. Then came a handicap for a bracelet presented 
by the Behar Camp, in the course of which that brute Miss 
Bertram twice bucked Gilbert off, once in the preliminary and 



96 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

once at the start. Rowland was the only one who could sit 
her, but she shifted even him occasionally. Deerfoot walked 
over for a pony race, and Rowland won a hack sweepstakes on 
Black Eagle, Driver having bolted with Jimmy. Walks over 
again began the fourth day ; nothing would face Satellite for 
the Sonepore Cup, Moosa for the Desert Stakes, or Baronet 
for the Doomraon Cup. Delaware beat Moosa and Crossbee 
in the Visitors' Purse, and Scalpel again proved best among the 
second classers, by beating Black Eagle, Gabbler, Nelly and 
Revenge. Red Gauntlet winning the Selling Race ended a 
poor day. Again the pulling bay brought grist to Gilbert's 
mill on Saturday, winning the Hack Handicap with Rowland 
up, Gilbert riding Parody third, and Jimmy dividing them on 
Nelly, late Moonlight. Chieftain won the Chupra Stakes, Black 
Eagle the Free Handicap, and Mr. Hill's Crown Prince the 
Behar Handicap. This ended the meeting for 1873. Mrs. Fraser 
McDonell decorated the ball-room and looked after the sup- 
pers, which were served in inimitable style, the meeting was 
socially a capital one, and the racing all round not bad. Mrs. 
H. B. Simpson, nee Vincent, whose husband was then Judge of 
Bankipore, was a veritable Lady Bountiful to the unfortunate 
jockeys and trainers who had no place to put up in save the tatti 
horsesheds at Sonepore. Both as they came and went through 
Bankipore, she would feed them sumptuously, and, moreover, 
send them over to Sonepore tea, sugar, bread, tinned provisions 
and other little luxuries. Small wonder they all worshipped her. 
Gilbert Nicolay was very full of himself this meeting, and had 
come without his wife, who was pleasingly employed looking 
after her bairns at the Factory ; he was in the zenith of his good 
looks, and at one of the balls was flirting desperately with a 
very pretty girl, who took him for an eligible bachelor, and had 
completely lost her heart to his speaking blue eyes and long 
blonde moustache. They were sitting in the verandah (for there 
were no " Kala juggahs" in those decorous days), between 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 97 

dances, and he was whispering soft nothings in her shell-like ear r 
when up came Blaney Hickey, a typical blundering Irishman, 
who had only arrived that evening, and not seen Gilbert till 
then. " Hullo old chap, delighted to see you/' he blurted out ,- 
" How are the wife and twins ?" Just fancy that unhappy girl's 
feelings, her hopes dashed thus rudely to the ground shattered 
was her idol, gone was the romance. " Twins," she shrieked ; 
"take me at once to my chaperon." Over the windows of 
sorrow let us draw down the blinds. Sheepishly did the base de- 
ceiver lead the heart broken lassie to her protector, and then off 
he went to slaughter Blaney. In one of the races that year, old 
Bill Brewty, the jockey, who had been imbibing pretty freely the 
night before, was riding a bay countrybred, which at the mile and 
a quarter post bolted off the course into the trees, and hung 
itself up among the ropes of a tent; the occupant, a crusty old 
fellow, came out and said, "This is not the race course, my man," 
"I know its not Boss," answered the irrepressible one; "but 
have you got a drink." The old gentleman's language was de- 
cidedly strong, but Brewty had to retire without a nip. 



CHAPTER XX. 

YEAR 1874. 

The year 1874 was to introduce to the Indian Turf that 
great colt Kingcraft, who proved himself in this and after 
years an equine wonder. Owing to Mr. Eraser McD'onelPs 
transfer, George Porter, another good natured Civilian, ran the 
show, and a very good Secretary he made ; a fair number of 
horses turned up from all parts of the country. The Lall Serryah 
stable was particularly strong, and if Maitland had a clinker in 
Kingcraft, Fisherboy, trained by Jimmy, and belonging to 
Harry Fraser and Bumph Freeman, was also going to turn out 
one of the best horses of the year. Then they had Finette, 
Othello, Amethyst, Philanthropist, Fez, Black Eagle, Red Gaunt- 
let, Fireworks, Canton-Sue, Bedad, Vaudeville, Scot, and that 



98 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

bolting beast Driver ; a strong stable, and one that wanted to pick 
up a goodly proportion of purses to pay for oats. Kelly M ait- 
land had only the colt Kingcraft and the useful Crossbee, but 
they amply paid their way ; John Wheal was training Kingcraft 
for him. Dacca had found a rival local sportsman to the gene- 
rous Nawab, in the person of that open-handed Zemindar 
Baboo Mohuny Mohun Dass, whose horses Sir William, 
Anarchy and Storm, in charge of Harry Ryder, a good trainer 
and jockey, were a welcome addition to the meeting. Mr. 
Macallister, now in partnership with Mr. Pitt, had a moderate 
lot in Dolly Varden, Kilmore, Lexinton and Barmaid. Bill 
Brewty had again come with a Bombay string, Delawar, Merry- 
legs, Buttercup and R.Y. Joe Rainford, now making money 
and training at Dinapore, had a rotten lot, Pirate, Vivian and 
Coquette. Wheal had two Arabs Nizam and Saladin ; Mr. 
Hope, Judge of Chupra, had two useless brutes, Hopeful and 
Hopeless, but the only planters represented outside the Lall 
Serryah stable, were Mr. Bob Wilson, who had Ruby, Norah, 
Barmaid and little Bessie, Mr. Sherman and Lawrence Crowdy 
who had only one nag each. At the first night's lotteries the 
attendance was poor, and all George Porter's eloquence failed 
to fill more than two lotteries, one on the Behar Stakes of a 
thousand, the horses selling wretchedly and only bringing 
Rs. 590, and one on a hack race, got up when it was found 
that the Leger was to be a walk over for Fisherboy and the 
Bettiah Cup a walk over for Dolly Varden. After these two 
had paraded before the Stewards, four went out for the Behar 
Stakes, Fisherboy easily beating Finette, Tom Fraser's car- 
riage horses, Scot third. The Derby was an easy win for 
Nizam, Buttercup second, but the Hack Race was a good one, 
the favorite, Kilmore, winning easily, and being bought after- 
wards for twelve hundred rupees by a confederacy composed 
of Rowland Hudson and some brother planters. The second 
night's lotteries were infinitely brisker than those held on the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 



first, and prospects for Thursday's racing looked excellent. For 
the Ticcaree Cup Sir William was ahot favorite, bringing Rs.63O 
to his lucky drawers. He won in a common canter, Hopeful, 
Hopeless and Dolly Varden only opposing him, the last-named 
merely going to the post Then ca;ne a splendid race for the 
Arab Handicap, game little Ana/chy beating Delawar and 
Crossbee. AH Abdoola, when At Sonepore the year before, 
had persuaded the Behar boys/to let him select some Arabs for 
them at Bombay, promising to give a purse of Rs. 400 for 
them to run for. The rac* brought out six decent pigstickers, 
racers they certainly wer^ not ; Rowland won on his own Ame- 
thyst, the only one vith any turn of speed. The Planters' 
Purse was another good race, Mr. Mackellar's Barmaid beat- 
ing Kilmore, his oast-off of the previous day ; Black Eagle 
close up. Then Rowland steered Bob Wilson's honest mare 
Norah in winder of the Moorcroft Stakes ; and so home to 
breakfast. Rattling good lotteries on Friday, Sir William, 
favorite fo? the Civilians' Cup, his rivals being Fisherboy and 
Barmaid. A tremendous field, for Sonepore, of nine for the 
second-^lass handicap, caused three lotteries to fill on it, 
favoritism being divided between Finette and Kilmore, latter 
for choice. In the Civilians' Cup Fisherboy beat the Dacca 
crack easily, a great feather for Jimmy's amateur training. 
Anarchy beat the handsome cur Saladin for the Durbangah 
Cup, and then Red Gauntlet, on whom Jimmy got a flying start, 
beat Norah, Canton-Sue, Barmaid and Driver for the Hajee- 
pore Stakes, That brute Driver bolted with Rowland ; he 
was a sulky brute, and it was a mercy no one was ever killed 
by him. Diana, neatly ridden by Gilbert Nicolay, beat Bessie, 
Finch up, in the pony race, though had not the latter swerved 
at the whip when close home, she would have won. The 
starting during the day was atrocious, and in the big hack race 
it took half an hour to get the horses off, and then Vaudeville 
was left at the post. Kilmore, piloted by Dignum, just got 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORfi. 



home in front of Jimmy on Black Eagle, Finette, third, 
Jimmy carried four pounds overweight, or the result might 
have been different, as the judge's verdict was a neck. 
Tuesday was to be a great day, for Wheal declared to start 
Mr. Maitland's Kingcraft against Fisherboy and Storm in the 
Free Handicap. It was a fine struggle, resulting in Finch on 
Kingcraft beating Fisherboy, who was in receipt of a stone, 
by a neck, same distance dividing Fisherboy from Storm. The 
Desert Stakes Anarchy won, an^ Sir William followed it up 
by appropriating the Doomraon Cup. Crossbee, with Jaffer to 
shove him along, won the Arab Handicap easily, beating a field 
of six, and then Red Gauntlet, with a native up, made all the 
running in the Second Class Handicap, and easily beat the 
favorite Kilmore, who had Rowland to steer him. On the last 
day Sonepore was honored by a visit from the new Viceroy 
Lord Northbrook, but he did not come with the pomp Lord 
Mayo did. He arrived just as the races were over, and was driven 
across from Bankipore by Messrs. Hodgkinson and Aber- 
crombie, the bodyguard escorting him. He held a le\ee before 
breakfast, gave a most enjoyable ball, and left to see the young 
Maharajah at Durbhangah next morning, having made himself 
exceedingly popular. The Hutwa Cup Handicap stood Storm 
9-2, Kingcraft 9-0, Fisherboy 7-4, and a great race it was, 
Kingcraft forced the pace, Fisherboy close up, Storm unable 
at first to travel with the young ones. At the mile and a half 
post Fisherboy caught the leader, and Storm was at their 
girths, but he fell back at the 'distance post, and Finch just got 
Kingcraft home by half a length from Fisherboy, Ramchurn 
having ridden the latter splendidly. Kilmore, ridden by Dignum, 
beat the favorite, Black Eagle, who, having Jimmy up, was 
made favourite for the Patna Stakes. Crossbee scored a neat 
win in the Chupra Stakes. Surprise won the Cabool Stakes, 
and Red Gauntlet the Hack Handicap, Jimmy steering both. 
Then Mr. Sherman had the satisfaction of seeing his pretty 



REMINISCENCES 



Arab Ermine win the Pony Handicap. Among the features 
of this meeting was a memorable polo match, Chumparun 
versus The World. Chumparun won ; the following competed : 
World : Francis Murray, E. Macintosh, T. Eraser, R. Brown, 
E. Drummond and W. Llewhellin; Chumparun: J. J, McLeod, 
H. Eraser, R. Hudson, D. Reid, G. Nicolay and F. A. Shaw, 
How few of this fine lot of horsemen are now left among us< 
Of The World, Francis Murray, Toast Macintosh, Teddy Drum- 
mond and Tom Fraser have all retired, while poor Rudston 
Brown and Willie Llewhellin are dead. Of the Chumparunites 
Harry Fraser, Rowland Hudson, Donald Reid and Ferdy Shaw 
have gone home for good ; but the veteran Jimmy is well to the 
fore, going as strong as ever, while Gilbert Nicolay is still with us. 
A sad event occurred at the end of 1874 in the death of that fine 
soldier and horseman Colonel James, who was killed by a fall 
when pigsticking in Lower Bengal. 

After this Sonepore, Jimmy, Rowland Hudson, Gilbert 
Nicolay, Bob Crowdy, Apples, and one or two more Behar 
sportsmen went down to the Assensole Meeting, which was then 
being run by that fine old Engineer, Mr. John Whitty, who put 
them up in princely style. The purses were handsome and lot- 
teries excellent. The Colliery Managers and Railway employes, 
who were the principal residents, were as keen on racing as pos- 
sible, and though they did not own any Highborns or Stings, they 
were desperately excited over their one or two events, closed 
to local cracks. One anxious owner who had seen Gilbert 
perform the day before, asked him to ride; Gilbert said " Cer- 
tainly," but when the mount was produced Gilbert was simply 
struck dumb, a more unkempt, ill conditioned, awful looking 
moke had never been brought upon a race course ; there was the 
crack G.R. immaculately got up, and fancy his feelings at having 
to pass the grand stand on this atrocious hair trunk. However it 
was too late to refuse, and he sorrowfully led it away to the saddl- 
ing shed. While tightening the girths, he overheard, through the 



102 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

thin " tatti " partitions, the final instructions given to his only 
two opponents, each was told to wait on the other, Gilbert's 
chances of winning being utterly despised. The race was round 
the course. Gilbert quietly waited on the pair, that fine horseman 
Bob Crowdy on The Sweep being one of his opponents, the 
pace being funereal. About a quarter of a mile from home Gil- 
bert put the spurs in, and the hair trunk answering gamely, 
re the others woke up he had got home midst the tri- 
multuous applause of the localites. The owner, a herculean 
Britisher, was simply beside himself with joy and made fran- 
tic efforts to pat Gilbert on the back, but a look at the brawny 
fist was enough for the slim '.un, and it was most laughable to 
watch him dodging away from these delicate intentions. 
" Thank you Surr,' ; shouted the owner, " and you beat them 
layer too." At the 1874 meeting a lot of good jockeys were pre- 
sent, Finch, Vinall, Dignum, Brewty, Gerard, Ryder and 
others. To while away the time during the idle part of the day 
the boys got up a match, to see who would color a newly 
bought meershaum pipe best and quickest during the meet- 
ing ; five entered at twenty rupees each, and Gerard's pipe was 
so obviously in advance of the rest, that suspicions rose in the 
minds of the other competitors, so they set a watch on him, 
and caught the old rascal sitting on an inverted bucket be- 
hind the stables, diligently coloring the pipe over some burnt 
straw, so he was disqualified and little Finch eventually pouch- 
ed the hundred rupees. 



CHAPTER XXI. 
YEAR 1875. 

The year 1875 was an eventful time for India, for it was" 
the year of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales' visit* 
Though it did not affect Sonepore much, yet it gave a grand 
opportunity to that most pompous of Civilians, Theophilus 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 103 

Metcalfe, to show his rare powers of organisation, and 
certainly the durbar held by him at Bankipore in honour o 
the Prince, was magnificently carried out. The most amu- 
sing part of the show was to see that mountebank Dicky 
Temple, then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, jumping about 
like a big monkey, and teaching the planters how to bow, 
when they were before H.R.H. The Calcutta Turf Club had 
to regret the retirement during the previous season of two of 
the most respected of their body of stewards honest Jim 
Crawford, who had been Collector of Customs for many years, 
and had generally acted as Judge at the Calcutta and Bally- 
gunge Meetings, and Colonel Monty Turnbull. Both left 
with the cordial good wishes of their friends, who were legion. 
The Turf Club Stewards for the year were Lord Ulick Browne, 
the Nestor of the lot, Captain Ben Roberts; Remount Agent, 
one of the best judges of a horse that ever lived, Captain 
Biddulph, Mr. Charley Moore, to whom th^ Club owes much 
of late years for his careful thoughtfulness in framing rules, 
as well as his having been the chief factor in starting and 
keeping up the Tollygunge course. Mr. J. McLean had taken 
Mr. Crawford's post ; and Captain Harry Peacock, a sportsman 
to the backbone, was Honorary Secretary. That Emperor of 
writers on all matters connected with the horse, Captain 
Horace Hayes, launched his first effort in literature this year, 
" A Guide to Horse Training and Management in India," than 
which a better book on the subject has never been penned. 
In the Oriental Sporting Magazine that year, General Turn- 
bull writing from England, gave Mr. Hallen and his support- 
ers a well-deserved rebuke, he said and truely, " The Indian 
Government have done all in their power to discourage horse 
breeding, they have smashed their studs instead of remodelling 
and improving them." For Sonepore the Stewards of 1875 were 
Messrs. Abercrombie, Arthur Butler, Fred Collingridge, Teddy 
Drummond, George Llewhellin, Colonels Shaw and Browne> 



104 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

and Lieutenant Kinchant of the I ith Hussars, George Porter 
again acting as Honorary Secretary. This was the first year 
when the racing was reduced to four days, and great was the 
commotion in consequence. In reality, as far as racing men 
went, it was the best thing. The prizes were not big enough 
to encourage an unlimited number of horses, and it got 
monotonous to see the same nags contesting over and over 
again. At the lotteries it was a case of dog eat dog. Social- 
ly it was in those days a bit early to cut down the ten days, 
for we had not so many meetings as nowadays, and the Sone- 
pore Meeting was described alike in the Pioneer, Englishman, 
and sporting papers, as the pleasantest ten consecutive days 
to be spent in India. Kelly Maitland had the now almost invin- 
cible Kingcraft and the evergreen Crossbee. Mr. Covey (a 
Madras contractor named Bates) had that smart little horse 
Hunter, and the ciampion Arab Marquis. Ryder was again 
representing the Dacca Baboo, but had not nearly such a strong 
string as the year before ; Anarchy alone facing the flag, but 
not scoring a single win. Brewty was in charge of Captain 
Davidson's string, including Dandynong, Red Hazard and 
the lanky countrybred Lord Evergreen. Dignum had now found 
his way to Tirhoot, and was training on his own account at 
Mozufferpore ; he had with him old Red Gaunlet, Mr. Rain- 
ford's Pirate, the English horse Liberty by Blair Athol, and a 
lovely studbred mare called Slowcoach, belonging to Mr. Jones, 
the Kellner of Behar in those days. Bertie Short for the first 
and only time in his racing career, till he joined the staff of The 
Planters' Gazette in 1884, was there with Finette, whom he had 
purchased early in the year from Kelly Maitland. Great was the 
excitement amongst the natives to see Bertie ride with his one 
hand. Jimmy again had a tremendous stable, Fisherboy, Raven 
and Fieldfare being his best. Mr. Cresswell (Gwatkin Williams) 
had only a waler named Rabbit, no use at all. Polly Studd 
had a mad devil called Miseltoe, and this year was the first 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE1 105 

appearance of another pig-headed brute, belonging to Jimmy, 
and which he had occasion to remember later on, the thrice 
accursed and well-named Bowrar Bill. The lotteries were 
poor throughout the meeting, and not only did local owners 
treat the Secretary rudely by not turning up at the specified 
time, but when they did, they were accompanied by a lot of 
people, who only came to talk and drink, and who made such 
a row that the legitimate business could not be properly con- 
ducted. As in those days the stupid plan was in vogue of 
taking starting declarations at the lotteries, no lotteries could 
be held till the local owners sauntered in at their own sweet 
will, and this had much to do with driving away outside owners 
and making the meeting bear the bad character which it took 
years to clear itself from, of being, as far as racing was con- 
cerned, " a family party arrangement." Perhaps things would 
have worked better had the declarations, as now, been taken 
at six o'clock, and the lotteries fixed for ten. This would 
have given local owners, many of whom were hosts and did 
not like to leave their guests till the ladies had left the dinner 
table, ample time, but these simple expedients did not seem to 
strike the Stewards, and so discontent was rife. Finette opened 
the ball by beating Hunter, Dandynong and Fieldfare in the 
Leger in very fast time. In the Derby Red Hazard had only 
to face a rotten local beast called The Boy, who broke a 
blood vessel, and was, of course, beaten. Two only, Roulette 
and Slowcoach, in the C.B. race, the former owned by Messrs. 
Arthur and John, won after a good race, and the day ended by 
Mr. Freeman's Florican, with Kelly Maitland up, winning the 
Behar Stakes. The second day's racing was not much superior 
to its predecessor, Kingcraft walked over for the Ticcaree Cup, 
a stupidly conceived race of weight for inches. Crossbee won 
the Galloway race from the local duffers Spartia and M arigold. 
Marquis hard held, won the Durbhangah Cup from Anarchy 
and Red Hazard. Slowcoach won the Moorcroft Stakes from 



106 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOR^. 

a hack called Minnie, Roulette having bolted into the refresh- 
ment tent with Brewty. Hunter beat Finette in the Welter, 
and then came a Free Handicap for all horses bought for a 
thousand or under ; seven started. Fieldfare, a hot favorite, 
ridden by Mr. Maitland, was beaten by Red Gauntlet, steered 
by Rowland Hudson ; Miseltoe bolted with Polly Studd and 
deposited that good-looking planter in a ditch, but no bones 
were broken. The third night's lotteries were infinitely brisker, 
the fields being large for all but the Hutwa Cup. Nothing 
but Fisherboy would face Kingcraft, and of course the former 
had no show. Marquis cantered home for the Desert Stakes, 
four behind him ; and a fine race then was witnessed for the 
Hajeepore Stakes for countrybreds, Slowcoach winning by a 
neck from Lord Evergreen, the favorite ; Morty, Roulette, Parody 
and Peutetre in the ruck. Then Jimmy appeared in the 
pigskin for the first time since his return from his first visit 
home, and a splended race he rode on Gilbert Nicolay's Red 
Gauntlet, Gilbert on Jimmy's own Vaudeville ; the result a 
dead heat, owners sensibly divided ; long John Thomas' Raven 
third, half a length off. Then a pony race won by Tam- 
bourine finished Tuesday's racing. The last day gave good 
sport and the best lotteries of the meeting. Hunter won the 
Civilians' Cup from Finette and Fisherboy, and then came a 
splendid race for the Chupra Stakes, Crossbee, Marquis, Anar- 
chy, Slowcoach and Morty competing. After a jostling finish 
Crossbee got home, Anarchy second, Marquis, the favorite, third. 
Then Raven in receipt of three stone ten from poor old Gauntlet, 
just beat him in the Champagne Stakes. Bob Wilson's Liberty 
won the selling race, and was bought by Mr. H. B. Simpson, 
still located at Bankipore. Crossbee won a second race from 
the same galloways he had beaten before. At a cricket match 
during the meeting Leonard Abbott, the Hajeepore Magis- 
trate, who had been Captain of Cheltenham, carried out his 
bat for a century. Mrs. Porter looked after the decorations 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOKE. 107 

and suppers splendidly. Mr. Eraser McDonell, though no 
longer Secretary, was there with his wife and pretty daughter, 
Mrs. Cecil Wilkins ; and as the local scribe Specked Tater, 
wrote at the time, " There he stood with his honors, ever thick 
upon him, Chief too of his Clan, his family around him, to 
see one of whom in the saddle was alone worth going to 
Sonepore and yet he was as full of the thing, as when five 
and twenty years ago, he in black, and all black, used year 
after year to steer beautiful Beppo to victory. Euge well 
loved Little Mac." I need scarcely say Specked Tater alluded 
to Mrs. McDonell than whom no more accomplished lady 
rider ever graced the saddle, and She kept her nerve to the 
day she left India, which was long after she was a grand- 
mother. Bob Crowdy was winning chases all over the country 
about this time ; at Allahabad on Hermit he beat Captain 
Hemphreys on R. Y. in the Maiden chase. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

YEAR 1876. 

In 1876, Mr. Harry Alexander, the popular Civilian, who 
had married pretty Miss Sandes of Bhagalpore, and Colo- 
nel Auchinleck were, with Messrs. Butler, Geo. Llewhellin, 
F. Collingridge and Colonel Browne, the Stewards; Mr. 
Ralph Abercrombie, Honorary Secretary. A five days' pro- 
gramme was published, but the. last only a sky affair. The 
change was much discussed, and drew from Fred Collingridge 
an agonised appeal to all concerned, to keep up the old ten 
days' fixture. The best bit of the letter was this, : "Rent acu 
tetigi Sonepore' s ten days were only too few, and we used 
always to extend them, but I fearlessly argue that if Sonepore 
is worth going to at all, it is worth going to for ten days ; and 
that eight days are too short, either for the pleasure attained, 
or the trouble necessary to attain that pleasure. And if 
Sonepore is what it was, it was worth going five hundred 



I08 REMINISCENCES OF SONfiPORE. 

miles for, and the same back, when there was no Railway 
nearer than Europe, Experte credo." But he spoilt his letter 
by throwing all the blame on outside owners, whom he im- 
politely termed " Racing Buffers." This naturally led to re- 
crimination, and did much to drive away those alluded to. As 
a matter of fact, it was want of funds which was crippling the 
management, the balls were beginning to get too expensive, 
and subscriptions not rising proportionately. Jimmy McLeod 
had had one of his periodical spills in September, and adver- 
tised his entire string for sale, but thought better of it, and 
brought them to Sonepore, and lucky for him he did so, for 
he virtually cleared the board. But the Meeting was much 
marred by heavy rain falling so late in October, that the 
racing had to be postponed, and consequently many horses 
were scratched, camps were smaller than usual, and the fair 
was entirely broken up before the racing started. John 
Wheal had, after the breaking up of Mr. Mullick's string, 
betaken himself to Jodhpore, where he not only was made 
Generalissimo of the stable, but a Field Marshall of the 
army. He brought down Prosperity, Pegasus, Crown Prince, 
Moss Trooper, Cockahoop, Red Eagle and Shickra ; Finch was 
still his jockey. Ryder had Anarchy, and a beautiful new 
colt he had selected for the Baboo in Australia, called New- 
castle, but which did not run at the meeting. Kelly Maitland 
had Finette, Crossbee, Petrel and that lovely chestnut pony 
Fleur-de-lys. Joe Rainford, with Dignum to train and Tingey 
to steer for him, had Kirby, much improved from last year, and 
Slipstone. These constituted the only outside stables ; Jimmy 
had the great Fieldfare, this year in grand fettle, Geraldine the 
champion countrybred, Raven, Glengarry, Fisherboy, Pandora, 
Bowrar Bill, Snowdrop, Emma, Scot, Kilmore, Discontent, 
Red Gauntlet and a pony mare Sultana not all his 
own, but trained at Lall Serryah. The only other Planters 
running anything at the meeting, were Mr. Charley Webb, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 109 

who had a pony called Skipper, and Harry Abbott, who had 
Kathleen and a galloway called Rocket of Mr. Namreh's. Poor 
lotteries the first night. Fieldfare won the Leger from Kirby, 
Prosperity and Pegasus, but she only got home ahead. Anarchy 
walked over for the Derby ; Geraldine beat her only opponent, 
Shickra, easily in the Tirhoot Stakes. Then Raven sailed home 
an easy winner for the Bettiah Cup, Glengarry, Fisherboy, 
Moss Trooper and Cockahoop in the ruck. Pandora walked 
over for the Behar Stakes, and Bowrar Bill, Jimmy up, won 
the Scurry ; every race but one going to Lall Serryah. Only 
four races on Saturday, two farces, but two rattling good 
ones. The Hajeepore Stakes brought out Kirby, Glengarry, 
General Lee, Fisherboy, Finette, Fieldfare and Prosperity ; 
they finished as named ; Kirby winning by only half a length; 
General Lee a neck behind, Fisherboy at his girths, a tre- 
mendous race. Fleur-de-lys won the Galloway Race in a 
canter from Flirt and Rocket. Then came another exciting 
struggle for the Durbangah Cup, Bowrar Bill, Pandora and 
Slipstone a head behind one another, and Snowdrop a neck 
behind them, Scot close up. Geraldine, 8st. lolbs. with 
Ramchurn up ; and Kathleen, gst. 4lbs. Harry Abbott, in 
the saddle were the only runners for the Moorcroft Stakes, 
the chestnut winning easily. Tuesday showed poor sport, 
only Fisherboy and Glengarry, with the two native stable 
boys up, went out for the two mile Ticcaree Cup, a pretty 
race at the finish, Fisherboy winning by a neck ; they only 
cantered till they reached the three-quarter mile post. Red 
Eagle walked over for the Hutwa Cup ; Anarchy won the 
Hutwa Stakes from Geraldine, Kathleen and Shickra. The 
Chumparun Stakes brought out five, all from the Lall Serryah 
stable, Fieldfare won easily. Sultan had no difficulty in 
winning the Pony Race from Skipper. On the last day fields 
were small. The Civilians' Cup resolved itself into a duel 
between the stable companions Glengarry and Fieldfare, the 



MO fefcMlNlSCENCES OF SONEPOfcE. 

nativfe boys up again ; Glengarry, who belonged to Dr. Roderick 
McLeod, won after a slashing finish by a neck. Geraldine, 
in receipt of three stone, beat Anarchy a length in the Chupra 
Stakes ; Snowdrop beat Pandora and Bowrar Bill in the 
Champagne Stakes. Flirt, Finch up, beat Rocket in the Gal- 
loway Handicap, and then Kathleen had a win in the Buggy 
Stakes, beating Scot, Morty and No Name. Fred Collingridge 
acted as starter throughout the meeting. Baby Canning made 
his debut at this meeting ; he was an awful grif, but very sport- 
ing ; he bought Kathleen in the lotteries and after everyone had 
gone to bed, Harry Abbott was roused by a man with a letter 
from the Baby, who requested that the mare Kathleen, which he 
had bought, be made over to the bearer. Harry's language 
can be imagined. It was about this time that Bob Crowdy 
was proving himself such a grand cross-country rider, and it 
was always a matter of regret that Sonepore saw so little of 
him and his sporting brothers; Clarges Ruxton was also dis- 
tinguishing himself as a bold and good horseman. 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
YEAR 1877. 

For 1877 Messrs. Albert Mangles, Paddy Hudson and 
Jimmy McLeod were added to the stewards' list, " Bicrom " 
still acting as Secretary. The Meeting opened on the i5th, 
but a gloom had been cast over it by the sad accident ten 
days previously at Barrackpore to poor Alf. Abbott, who was 
killed while riding Wooloomaloo in the Pony Hurdle Race, 
won by Jimmy McLeod's Sultan, ridden by Dewing, Dr. 
Spooner Hart and Mr. Ruxton riding in the same race. 
Behar could boast of few stronger or pluckier riders than Alf. 
was ; and it was only the previous month's Oriental Sporting 
Magazine that contained the record of his having at various 
times ridden down nine wolves, single-handed, a probably 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. Ill 

unequalled feat. Our queer-voiced Madras friend, Mr. Bates, 
alias Covey, turned up again at Sonepore, bringing the Arabs 
Marquis and Caractacus, as well as the handsome chestnut 
Australian Telegram. Ryder had Newcastle, Lincoln, the 
evergreen Anarchy and Gazelle. Gwatkin Williams had 
a fine bay Australian Emigrant, Zephyr and the country- 
bred pony Goldmohur, belonging to Jim Bourdillon. The 
Messsrs. Crowdy had the old English cripple Dolly Varden, 
their crack country-bred mare Deception, and a pony called 
Fairy Queen. Jimmy had his usual big string, Fieldfare, Glen- 
garry, Bill, Shamrock, May, Snowdrop, Bowrar Bill, Geraldine, 
Stampede, Gameboy and Red Gauntlet. Couzens, the jockey, 
had Cardigan, the greatest Arab of the day, Lady Aid, Cantator 
and the pony Godfrey. Rainford, the contractor, had Liberty, 
Slipstone, Maid of All Work and the pony Pearl. Harry 
Abbott naturally wanted to scratch his horses, but on its 
being pointed out that the countrybred races would fall 
through if he did so, ran them. He had Kathleen, Spider, 
Slowcoach, Rocket and Black Diamond. Kathleen was a clean 
bred filly, whose dam, Rosa Doretta by Bay Middleton, had 
been bought at home for the Indian stud ; she had been covered 
by Prince Plausible, a son of the famous King Tom, but was 
thought not to have held. A week after landing she threw a 
filly foal, a terrible weed, which was rejected as a yearling, 
and sold at Bankipore to Dr. Lethb ridge's old bearer 
for forty rupees. She afterwards fell into the hands of 
a Chumparun planter, who gave her to Jimmy McLeod to 
train, but he thought her too slight to stand racing. She then 
was sold to Mr. Fred Atkinson, who was checking accounts 
in the Tirhoot famine. He ran her at the Mozufferpore Meet, 
riding himself and she got third to Sweetheart. Harry Abbott, 
who had steered the latter, had a shrewd idea Kathleen was a 
clinker, and got Mr. Fred to enter heragain to meet all the cracks 
in the open race for C.B/s and let him ride her. He bought 



i!2 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

her in three lotteries, on an average of Rs. 10, and won easily. 
He then took her on racing terms, eventually buying her, and 
many were the close finishes at the Behar Meets between her 
and Geraldine ; she was a rare plucked one, for she would 
struggle home frequently to victory, after having burst a blood 
vessel. Spider was a huge sixteen-hand country-bred, picked 
up by a Mr. Christian of Purneah for a hundred and fifty 
rupees, and lent to George Sherman, who sent him on to Harry 
who afterwards bought him. He was all head and bones, a rat 
tail not adding to his beauty. Dhan had formed his staple food 
in Purneah; but he turned out a very fast one, and had his 
wind not gone, just as he was getting fit, he would have been 
a champion in his class. Judex Simpson had the little pony 
Mouse, and also the last of Frank Vincent's Barh country-breds, 
which he sold off during the meeting. For twenty years Frank 
Vincent had successfully bred horses on the south side of the 
Ganges, and as long as he used Crassus as a sire, he did well, but 
when he got hold of the handsome flatcatcher Birdcatcher, most 
of the foals were peacocks. Events opened with a splended race 
for the Leger, between Telegram, Lincoln and Emigrant, Tele- 
gram winning by a neck only. An equally good race for the 
Derby between Anarchy, Marquis and Cardigan, the little one 
winning by a head; Cardigan same distance behind Marquis. 
An awful upset occurred in the Tirhoot Stakes, for which 
Caractacus was a hot favorite, for the fiddleheaded, much 
laughed at Spider won by twenty lengths ; everyone crowding 
round to look at him when he came in. The field pulled up at 
the distance post, the jockeys being too flabbergasted to per- 
severe. The Bettiah Cup, although only like the Leger and 
Derby having three starters, was a grand struggle between 
Newcastle and Fieldfare, result a neck, Glengarry beaten off. 
Bill, a dead outsider, neatly ridden by Gilbert Nicolay, beat 
Jimmy on the favorite Shamrock for the Behar Stakes ; 
and this finished an uncommonly good day's racing, only to 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 113 

be eclipsed by that of Saturday, which opened with the 
Durbangah Cup, four starters, Snowdrop, Bowrar Bill, Sham- 
rock and Bill. The Bowrar one was favorite, particularly as 
Jimmy was up ; he made hot running, but Ryder caught him at 
the finish and landed Snowdrop a head in front. Telegram 
won the Hajeepore Stakes from Fieldfare and Glengarry, the 
mare a hot favorite. Then ten stripped for the Galloway 
Stakes and a tremendous finish took place between Ryder on 
Couzen's Gazelle and Tingey on Harry Abbott's Black 
Diamond, the grey winning by half a length. Another great 
race for the Moorcroft Stakes ; the four starters at the lotteries 
sold as follows : Geraldine, Rs. 220; Slowcoach, Rs. 150; 
Kathleen, Rs. 50 ; Spider, Rs. 60. Spider made running, but 
at the half mile all joined issue, and Tingey on Kathleen beat 
Geraldine a head. Nine stripped for the Selling Stakes^ and 
all were glad to see the Messrs. Crowdy score a win with Dolly 
Varden. No more racing that day. In this race occurred an 
accident which completely upset everyone. Jimmy was riding 
Bowrar Bill, who rushed away to the front, pulling and hang- 
ing like a fiend ; coming round the corner, the brute ran 
Jimmy's leg crash into the distance post, smashing the knee 
cap, but Jimmy not only did not faint or fall off, but rode out 
the finish resolutely, and 'twas not till all pulled up that the 
other riders or spectators knew he was injured. Even when 
they took him off his horse and carried him to his tent, he 
never uttered a moan, though the pain must have been excru- 
ciating. He kept up his spirits wonderfully, and all he grum- 
bled at was when the doctor said he must be sent home. On 
Tuesday Telegram won the Ticcaree Cup easily from Glen- 
garry, Newcastle and Fieldfare ; Marquis did the same in the 
Hutwa Cup, the country-breds not in it. Snowdrop won the 
Chumparun Stakes after a good race with May ; six started. 
Psyche beat the local ponies easily, and Emigrant won the 
Welter, On the last day the Chupra Stakes brought out six 



114 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

good looking country-breds. Deception was served up very 
warm at the lotteries, but was the first beaten in the race. 
Harry's three ran a ding dong finish, Kathleen getting home 
first, followed by Spider and Slowcoach. Mr. Crowdy was 
recompensed for Deception's failure by Dolly Varden's beat- 
ing three others in the Champagne Stakes. Gazelle easily won 
the Galloway Handicap, though to everyone's astonishment 
the despised Rocket ran second. Gameboy finished the 
meeting by winning the Doomraon Cup, Jimmy watching the 
race from under the kanauts of his tent. 

The year 1877 was the hottest Sonepore on record ; the 
heat under canvas was too awful for words. The fair was a 
poor one. AH Abdoola bought a lot of country-breds for Bom- 
bay remounts. Sir Ashley Eden, then Lieutenant-Governor, 
was present and made himself very agreeable, doing all that 
was nice, giving a ball, and altogether the meet was successful. 
Horace Cockerell, who could speak well, proposed Mr. Aber- 
crombie's health at the Lieutenant-Governor's ball ; and then 
everyone rose to drink with Highland honors the toast pro- 
posed by Mr. Abercrombie, that of Mr. Fraser McDonell ; 
how the glasses did rattle in his honor ! The chief winners 
over the meeting were Mr. Covey and Harry Abbott, for the 
latter's representative backed bonny Kathleen in every 
lottery. 

When Jimmy smashed his knee cap, he did not own 
Bowrar Bill, as he had sold him half an hour previously to 
Elphick, the Veterinary-Surgeon. The horse had been en- 
tered for two races that day, the last being a selling race, and 
Jimmy remarked at the lotteries he would not start in the 
second if he went lame after the first one, which was very pro- 
bable, as he had a heavy weight to carry and always played 
the fool and knocked himself about. Elphick thought this was 
only " kid, " so that Jimmy might buy the brute cheap in the 
lottery ; so he bid for and bought him himself at a biggish 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 115 

figure, Jimmy not claiming any share. Jimmy piloted Bowrar 
Bill in the first race, got in second to Snowdrop, but sure 
enough the horse pulled up dead lame, and the Stewards said 
he need not start for the Selling Race. Even this did not satisfy 
the suspicious Vet, who sneeringly observed " Oh he's always 
lame." Jimmy merely answered, "You lie, he's never been 
lame before, if you want to start the horse, buy him." Elphick 
swallowed the affront and eagerly said " How much." " A thou- 
sand rupees," said Jimmy. " Done," said Elphick, but no one, 
either professional or amateur, would ride such a mad tearing 
devil, and Elphick was far too faint-hearted to get up himself, 
so he came whining to Jimmy and coaxed him to ride. The 
poor horse was in such pain, that twice in the race he got off 
the course on to the softer going in the field, and it was in trying 
to avoid the distance post the accident occurred. Elphick had 
a bad bargain, for he was only able to bring Bowrar Bill once 
to the post, and that in a match in Calcutta, which he lost, 
and a ticca gharry was the poor beast's eventual fate. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 
YEAR 1878. 

Just before the meeting of 1878 came off, the Jaintpore 
Stable was very nearly being a thing of the past, for its 
master was as close on being welcomed by old Clooty instead of 
filling our races, as he well could be. He had another narrow 
squeak this time, through handling a snake of the krait species, 
which is so deadly that there is a native saying about it that 
after its bite, it does not give the patient time to drink water. 

The scene of this adventure, a narrator of the occurrence 
writing to the Civil and Military Gazette says, was at 
Jaintpore. " Abbott looked upon all snakes as ' warmint/ to 
be killed at sight, but his way of doing it was unique. His 
ordinary custom, whenever he came across them, was to pick 
them up by the tails and dash their heads against the ground. 



Il6 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

" There was undoubtedly a certain amount of excitement 
in this, which added zest to the sport ; a case of, ' perhaps he 
bites, perhaps he don't.' On this occasion the bite came off, 
the snake died. A man who had ridden and lassoed an alli- 
gator was not to have his star blotted out by a vile reptile 
like a snake. 

" On the eventful night in question, a brilliant moonlight 
one by-the-bye, we had all retired to the arms of Morpheus. 
I was awoke by what I took at first for a ghost, and under- 
stood that Harry (whom everyone in India knows means 
Abbott) had been bitten by a snake. A galvanic shock could 
not have had a greater effect. 

" The first thing I saw was Abbott violently sick on the 
edge of the verandah. I then ascertained that he had been 
bitten between the middle fingers by a snake, the marks of 
the teeth being most distinct. There was no doubt about it, 
a couple of minutes had elapsed since the bite, but in the 
meantime he had tied two ligatures on his arm, one at the 
wrist and one on the forearm ; had also taken a dose of 
medicine, which, curious to say, a lady had sent a few days 
previously, vouching for its efficacy in snake-bite. It was evi- 
dently, from its strong smell, composed with a good deal of 
ammonia, and should have been taken with oil. In the ex- 
citement, the first dose or two was given neat with the re- 
sult that the poor patient lost all the skin off his tongue, 
which made him remark that the cure was worse than the 
bite. Determined to leave nothing undone, I promptly got a 
razor and giving a couple of cross cuts over the bites, drop- 
ped on some raw carbolic acid. I can quite bear out the 
statements that Abbott is a man of nerve, or without nerves ; 
he never flinched in the slighest under the operation, and as 
far as he himself was concerned, treated the whole thing 
as rather a joke than otherwise, right through the trying 
ordeal. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 117 

" After the cauterization I took his arm, and, getting one 
of the servants, whom I believe is the same man who pulled 
him out of the river in the alligator adventure, to take the 
other arm, I trotted him up and down the verandah at a brisk 
pace, stopping at the table midway to give him an occasional 
dose of the medicine according to the instructions as well as 
some strong tots of brandy which also played no small part 
in the eventual cure. He seemed to be getting on all right, 
and as nearly an hour had elapsed I had great hopes of his 
recovery, when all of a sudden he became very heavy in hand, 
and we could no longer keep him going. We were afraid it 
was all over now, but I promptly went for the brandy bottle 
and gave him a real knock-me-down peg, caught him by the 
arm, and shouted to him to do his best ; it was like calling 
on the favourite at the winning post. The old horse respond- 
ed, and after half dragging him for a few yards, he shook off 
the lethargy, and in five minutes disdained all assistance) 
and began cutting capers on his own account. 

" The crisis was now evidently passed, but still we kept 
trotting him up and down the verandah, till at last he claimed 
a rest. He had done enough sprinting for that night. He 
now wanted the ligatures removed, as his hand was paining 
him very much. We would not hear of this, but allowed a 
native cupper, who turned up most opportunely from the 
crowd with his instrument, to work his wicked will. The 
cupping seemed to give relief, and afterwards, when some 
hours had elapsed, and we considered all danger had passed, 
we allowed the wrist ligature to be untied and after a short 
time the other one. Then the day began to break and the 
snake was brought forward on view. It was a fine krait, 
measuring four feet, and is still to be seen at Jaintpore, pre- 
served in a prune jar filled with real old Scotch whisky, and 
is to be handed down with the rest of the heirlooms of the 
Abbott family. Within an hour of the bite a crowd of over 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



two hundred must have collected outside the verandah. The 
talk of some of those would-be wiseacres was highly amusing. 
One of them asked if the snake was alive. On being told 
that the Sahib had killed it, he shook his head ; there was no 
hope. Another pinched Abbott's arm where the ligature was 
tied and asked him if he felt it. On being told no, he also 
shook his head ; there was no hope, the Sahib must die ; a 
regular Job's comforter this. A charmer then came forward, 
and wanted to exercise his blandishments, but we cried enough, 
and the charmer retired ; he also shook his head. 

" I have not yet stated the way in which the bite occurred. 
It appears that shortly after retiring Abbott heard the 
punkahwallahs call out, ' Samp ! Samp ! !' He was up at once 
like a terrier at a rat, and, going outside, saw Mr. Snake 'by 
the light of the moon.' Making use of his old tactics, he, aS 
he thought, made a grab at its tail, which, however, turned 
out to be its head ; hence this tale. Moral: Don't trust the 
moon, and don't catch snakes by the tail, or you may not get 
off so lightly as the hero of the alligator adventure." 

In 1878 we miss from the list of the names of patrons 
that of Mr. Richardson, Judge of Mozufferpore, whose retire- 
ment from the service deprived Sonepore of one of its 
staunchest supporter. Good old " Doleful Dick " was one of 
the fine old Haileybury lot of Civilians, now alas nearly ex- 
tinct. In mentioning his approaching departure, the sporting 
correspondent of the Englishman thus alludes to him : 
" I am indeed sorry we are about to lose our judge, Mr. 
Richardson, who has for many years figured as one of our 
Stewards ; his place will be hard to supply ; he leaves Mo- 
zufferpore regretted universally by both Europeans and 
natives, a most perfect host, a true and kind-hearted English 
gentleman, one who never made an enemy, a staunch friend 
and a very prince of good fellows, his memory will be green 
with us for many years to come, and we can only wish him 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



and his a sorrowful farewell and hearty God speed." This 
was penned over nineteen years ago, and every word then 
written can still be endorsed. If Dick Richardson had been 
less hospitable, he would have retired a wealthier man than 
he did; and doubtless when he reads the accounts of the 
present Sonepore and Mozufferpore meetings, he can recall 
many a happy episode at those fixtures during his Indian 
career. Mr. Abercrombie was still Secretary. 

Although the entries showed a falling off on the part of 
outside owners, yet Jodhpore was well represented by Rajah 
Tej Singh, accompanied by John Wheal, who had with him 
a lovely black Australian filly called Joan of Arc, Orlando, 
and the Arabs Aleppo and Wicked. Captain Humphreys, the 
celebrated cross-country rider, had Fair Nell, Exeter and the 
mighty Nimrod. Kelly Maitland had that sweet mare Haidee, 
Kushroo, Fleur-de-lys and the champion Kingcraft. Jaffir 
had Thisbee and Merry Lass ; Couzens, the jockey, had the 
crack Arab of the day Cardigan, and the C.B. Lady Aid ; 
Ryder had Lord Bill Beresford's galloway Snake, Baboo 
Mohiny Mohun Dass' Saracen, Telegram, Stanley and Lancer. 
Jimmy McLeod, now quite recovered from his accident, had 
Fieldfare, Shamrock, Isabel, Widow, Snowdrop, Skelbo, Dennis, 
Red Gauntlet, Glengarry, Empress, Mercedes, Sultan and 
Gameboy. Harry Abbott had the twenty-year-old screw 
Echo, the broken-winded Spider, a big hot-headed Aus- 
tralian filly called Talkaway, bought from Dr. Morgan 
for the Behar Stakes, Fraulein, the last of Mr. Vincent's 
Barh country-breds, Peeress, a handsome grey Australian, 
pretty little North Star, and Black Diamond. The meeting 
commenced miserably, it rained for the first twenty-four hours 
unceasingly. The morning's races opened in drizzle. Joan 
of Arc had an exercise canter to beat Sprite for the Leger, 
and then a disgraceful pull of Cardigan in the Derby by 
Couzens, allowed Saracen to win ; no notice being taken of it 



120 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

by the Stewards, though Mr. McGrath, the plucky little Civi- 
lian, denounced it in no unmeasured words. A good race for 
the Tirhoot Stakes, resulted in Ryder on Widow beating Jaffir 
on Merry Lass, a length ; and then came the Bettiah Cup, 
supposed to be a moral for Kingcraft, but in a villainous start 
he got left and failed to catch Fieldfare, who won comfort- 
ably, a lucky win for Jimmy. Then came the Behar Stakes, 
only three starters, Shamrock, Talkaway and Skelbo. Tin- 
gey, who was riding for the stable, asked Mr. Abbott to put 
up Ryder, as he was afraid of not being able to hold Talk- 
away. Opposite the stand, she, while leading, bored off the 
course, but Ryder got her back again, then the other two 
joined her ; undoubtedly a bump occurred, but from this the 
mare came away, and, never headed again, won easily. An 
objection was lodged, and on hearing the evidence of Messrs. 
McLeod and Hudson, the Stewards held, much to everyone's 
astonishment, that the jostle had interfered with the result 
of the race, and so they disqualified Talkaway. The rain 
cleared up towards evening, but the day's proceedings had 
given plenty of topics for gossip, and so the time did not 
hang heavily, as it otherwise might have done. Saturday 
was not a Jubilee day for the Lall Serryah stable, as they did 
not pull off a single event. Jimmy did not expect Fieldfare 
to repeat her performance and beat Kingcraft at evens in the 
Hajeepore Stakes, so he sensibly refrained from backing her. 
The champion won easily. Mr. Maitland followed this up 
by piloting Fleur-de-lys home in front of Snake, Black Dia- 
mond and Bramah-Koond for the Galloway Stakes. Then 
Spider easily disposed of Denis and Widow in the Moorcroft 
Stakes. Now came a terrible upset, Glengarry was made a 
hot favourite for the Selling Race, but the winner turned up 
in the ancient Echo, who, unbacked by his owner and finding 
the soft going suited his unsound pins, won easily by two 
lengths. More unpleasantness at the lotteries on Monday. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 121 

When the handicaps were read out, it was seen that in 
the Chumparun Stakes Talkaway was asked to concede 
Shamrock twenty-one pounds, although they had not met 
since the Behar Stakes, for which the weights were Talk- 
away list. 2lbs., Shamrock lost, nibs., i.e., a difference of 
five pounds. Of course she was scratched. To have been in. 
harmony with their decision of disqualification, the Stewards 
should have handicapped the gelding as the better horse at the 
previous weights ; but with delicious inconsistency they stulti- 
fied themselves painfully. Yet once more did the uncertainty 
of the turf show itself, for ignoring Echo's performance in the 
selling race, they allotted him the nice weight of 8st. ylbs. and 
the old horse, with Tingey to steer him, squandered his field. 
North Star pulled off the Lilliputian Stakes. Mr. D. B. Allen 
made a good thing by Echo, for both on this and the previous 
day, he backed him, chiefly because Harry Abbott wouldn't. 
Captain Humphey on Nimrod beat Spider, Lady Aid and Red 
Gauntlet in the Welter. On the fourth day a hurdle race was 
improvised, Exeter and Gameboy only started ; it was a farce, 
due to the stupidly small hurdles, through which Exeter gal- 
loped, and his turn of foot enabled him to beat Gameboy, who 
fenced honestly. Fieldfare won the Civilians' Cup from Thisby 
and Snowdrop, Merry Lass beat Fraulein and Widow in the 
Chupra Stakes, none of the heavy-weights accepting. Talk- 
away in the handicap for the Champagne Stakes was now 
asked to concede 2st. ylbs. to Shamrock, presumably because 
her owner had declined to meet the gelding at ist. ylbs. in the 
Chumparun Stakes. She was again scratched, and her owner 
once more riled. Shamrock got home, Echo second; Glengarry 
beaten off. Harry Abbott's Black Diamond, the only acceptor 
for the Galloway Handicap, walked over. So ended a not al- 
together pleasant race meeting. Many of the up-country 
sportsmen, disgusted with the weather and want of accommoda- 
tion, left after the second day's racing, notably Maharajah 



122 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Tej Singh of Jodhpore, who cleared out with Aleppo, Orlando 
and Wicked. Then Wheal went off with Joan of Arc ; and 
Telegram, Stanley and Lancer were also taken away. In 
those days no attempt was made by the Stewards to make out- 
side owners comfortable, no Framji with tents and a decent 
table d'hote was provided for them. If they turned up they 
had to live in the tatti stables with their horses and arrange 
for their catering as best they could. Small wonder that this 
want of thought for others made outsiders fight shy of the 
meeting, and from this year Sonepore's reputation as a hospi- 
table race meeting to outside owners declined. Socially it 
was as brilliant and jolly as ever. The 65th was at Dinapore 
then, and the Officers turned up at the meeting in force, and 
beat the planters at polo, owing chiefly to having bigger ponies. 



CHAPTER XXV. 
YEAR 1879. 

The Asian came into existence in October 1878, and the 
Oriental Sporting Magazine shortly afterwards (in September 
1879) expired, having till then been for over a quarter of a 
century, the only record of Indian Sport. The look out for 
the prospects of 1879 seemed poor, and in September of that 
year the Assan wrote : 

" Can it be true that we shall have the sad task of writing 
1 Ichabod' about the once largely-frequented Sonepore Meet? 
We hear that it is more than probable the races this year will 
fall to the ground, the reasons alleged being that up to date 
there have been but very few applications for camps, and that 
therefore it seems doubtful whether the amount of subscriptions, 
sufficient to cover the expenses, will be raised. The cause of 
the falling off of applications for camps is probably the disastrous 
season the indigo planters of Behar have experienced. 

" Of all meets in India, Sonepore should be the most popu- 
lar ; and we cannot but think that a little energy on the part 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 123 

of the Stewards might yet rescue it from extinction, for even 
supposing the subscriptions of the European visitors should 
fall short, the fair is invariably frequented by all the wealthy 
zemindars and bankers of Patna, Mozufferpore and Chupra, 
and from these gentlemen alone, subscriptions might surely be 
raised sufficient to meet the probable deficit. 

" The sporting Gya Stewards had managed to raise in a 
much poorer district, Rs. 5,000, and it will be a great slur on 
the present management if Sonepore is allowed to fall through 
simply from insufficient funds. Few native gentlemen care to 
come forward to offer subscriptions, but they seldom, if ever, 
refuse when solicited." 

The want of good management spread to Mozufferpore 
as well, and there seemed no one bold enough to volunteer to 
act as Secretary ; up to September no programme was issued, 
and the Asian asked " What are the Mozufferpore Stewards 
about, that there is no prospectus yet published ? We hope 
that this meet is not likely to fall through." 

The Asian was, however, wrong in its premises, it was not 
want of funds, but the poor prospects of the racing that para- 
lyzed the executive. Outsiders would not enter, and Harry 
Abbott had advertised all his horses for sale, as the Mozuffer- 
pore Stewards would not lower their scale to Calcutta weight 
for age and class, a change for which he had been clamouring 
for years, but eventually they met his views, peace reigned 
once more, and he took up the Honorary Secretaryship, which 
he held almost continuously till he left the district. 

The constant Jaffir was the only outsider who responded 
to the programme put forth by the Stewards for the Sonepore 
of 1879, and the racing was virtually a three-cornered duel 
between the rival local stables of Messrs. John, Cresswell and 
Abbott, the latter got over his pique and brought a decent lot 
Talkaway, who had by this time an almost unprecedented re- 
cord of winning brackets, a neat little filly called Vantage, old 



124 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Echo, more infirm than ever, Blue Bell, whom he was training 
for Norman McLeod, better known as " Finn Macoul/' Black 
Diamond, the ever-green Spider, old Kathleen, whose racing 
days ended at this meeting, Pendragon and Gamecock. Jimmy 
had Fieldfare, Mercedes, Doleful, Rufus, Snowdrop, Panmuir, 
Widow, Mill May and Denis. Gwatkin Williams had B. 
Sharp, a host in himself ; Jaffer had Thisbe and Alleppo, and 
Ryder, Gazelle ; these constituted the starters. Vantage 
won the Leger, and Harry Abbott on Gamecock won the 
Derby, Denis then diversified matters by appropriating the 
Tirhoot Stakes. Talkaway romped home for the Bettiah Cup, 
beating Fieldfare, Raven and B. Sharp. Rowland Hudson on 
Mercedes and Jimmy on Doleful then fought out a close race 
for the Behar Stakes, result a dead heat and owners divided. 
Thisbe beat Snowdrop, Panmuir and Echo in the Selling 
Stakes, and was claimed and bought by Harry Fraser. On 
the second day Blue Bell, in receipt of ten pounds, got home 
for the Hajeepore Stakes Handicap, after a tremendous race 
with her stable-companion Talkaway, Fieldfare beaten off. 
Mill May collared the Galloway Stakes, Spider beat his old 
opponent Geraldine in the Moorcroft Stakes, and Harry 
Abbott scored a third win with Pendragon in the Selling Race. 
On the third day little B. Sharp got home in the Durbangah 
Cup due chiefly to Ryder on Fieldfare and Tingey on Talk- 
away despising him ; waiting on each other they let Jaffir get 
too far away, and when they tried to catch him, it was too late. 
The win was most popular. Alleppo beat Gamecock in the 
two mile Hutwa Cup, Blue Bell walked over for the Chum- 
parun Stakes, and Mercedes won the Welter, beating Harry 
Abbott on Conemara, a desperate puller, who, in two previous 
false starts had bolted, and each time completed the course 
ere he could be stopped. Conemara was the property of the 
sporting Mess Sergeant of the 65th, Jim Hard, and great was 
the delight of the Tommies to see their representative figure 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 125 

so well ; he must have won but for the false starts. It was 
about this year that " Skipper" Wilkinson, whose Hindustani 
was always lamentably weak, made a match to ride his yellow 
countrybred against another planter's moke, and before he got 
into the saddle he wanted to impress upon his syce that if he 
won he'd give him a present ; what he did say was " Ugger him 
girengey hum turn ko buxis dengey." The syce knowing how 
very careful his master was of his own car-case, consolingly 
made answer " Koch dhur nahin saheb ap zeroor bachhengey." 
On the last day Blue Bell beat Vantage and Fieldfare in the 
Civilians' Cup. Denis got home in front of Geraldine and Game 
cock for the Doomraon Cup, Snowdrop won the Champagne 
Stakes, and Master Jaffir won a selling race with Thisbee, now 
in the Lall Serryah stable. At the end of the year the minds of 
old patrons of the meeting were still seriously exercised as to 
future prospects, as the following letter in the Asian shows : 
"DEAR SIR, As a Soneporite of sixteen years standing, 
allow me to enter a mild protest against the idea you encourage 
in your paper of the gth instant, viz., that Sonepore is on the 
decline, and has seen its best day. The primary object of 
the meeting is to enable the residents of Behar to come 
together after the tedious enforced retirement of the hot 
weather, and to dispel dull care by a happy reunion with their 
friends from a distance. The last meeting, as far as I could 
learn, was considered, in a social point of view, to be one of 
the pleasantest held for years, as indeed your friend allows. 
Unforeseen and unavoidable accidents, together with the 
uncommonly rich prospectus offered at Hyderabad, helped to 
swell the list of absent owners and horses, but considering 
how few of the latter there were, if close finishes are any 
criterion, the racing was above the average. Next year I 
trust we shall see the colours of the Maharajah of Durbangah 
borne to the front by a horse worthy of a nobleman who 
behaved so handsomely this year when the meeting was on 



126 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

the eve of dissolution ; and we must also look to Cooch Behar, 
who is a sportsman every inch, and worthy of the imitation of 
his brother chiefs. Talkaway's owner will then find foemen 
worthy of his steel, and if he takes my advice he will stick to a 
good horse when he gets him, as in these days of failures he will 
find it safer than the bank or even an old established agent. 

"SAM SLICK." 

It was at this or one of the meetings before or a little 
later on, that Charley Webb cured an atheist. The chap was 
a brother of a leading Civilian, but was a good deal tabooed, 
being an arrant snob in addition to having such peculiar ideas 
of religion. Charley took him for a drive one evening with his 
celebrated team of mules. The youth started giving Charley 
the full benefit of his disbelief of the existence of the Deity. 
Never a word said the driver, but all of a sudden he wheeled 
the mules round and sent them full dash across country. In 
front loomed a huge ditch and bank. " What are you at/' 
shrieked the terrified atheist. " Going to see if they'll jump 
this ditch," lisped Charley in his quiet voice, but putting the 
whip smartly across the mules. " For God's sake don't," yelled 
the unbeliever. " Oh you do believe in God after all, do you," 
said Charley. And in another second the whole concern was 
heels upwards in the ditch. Charley picked himself up and calmly 
proceeded to extricate the mules from the debris, and, taking 
no notice of the groaning wretch, walked back to camp and all 
he said on arrival was, " I've converted the atheist, I think. " 
At any rate, we had no more of the youth's blasphemies and he 
left the camp next day. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

YEAR 1880. 

Early in 1880 that good little mare Blue Bell left the 
Jaintpore stable, having been purchased by poor Peter Richards 
the Indigo Planter of Midnapore, a good and straight sports- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 127 

man, now alas no more. Talkaway had broken down and 
been bought for the Lall Serryah stud by Jimmy McLeod, poor 
old Echo had joined the majority, having come to his death in 
a most terrible way. Harry Abbott, who had gone to the Gya 
meeting straight from Calcutta, sent instructions to his trainer, 
Robinson, to bring some of his horses from Jaintpore to Gya. 
Robinson took all those likely to be wanted, but left old Echo, 
not thinking he'd stand the long march of seventy miles. The 
old horse, who was in a big tatti loose box by himself, hearing 
the others clear out, got into a terrible state of excitement at 
being left behind, and started neighing and running round the 
box, tearing at the bamboos with his teeth, in his anxiety to 
get out and follow them. Up to the bungalow rushed a pestilen- 
tial servant and yelled out to Mrs. Abbott that Echo had gone 
mad, and would tear down the stable and be loose in a few 
minutes ; to call her children into the house, and barricade all 
the doors was only the work of a few minutes. " Shoot him," 
she said to the servant, " before he can get out and bite anyone." 
Away went the slave, and the only weapon available 
was an old muzzle loader gun, some native powder was 

rammed in, and a lot of pice used in place of bullets ; a hole 
made through the tatti, and about four shots at intervals 
were fired, till the poor brute dropped, shrieking in his death 
agony. 

The old horse's pedigree is worth recording: 
Echo was a chestunt, bred at the Cape by Alexander 
Vanderbyl from the thoroughbred English horse Saraband. 
His dam was either by Emilius or Young Saddler, both 
T. B. E.'s, and her dam ran back to Lord Charles Somerset's 
Irish mare which he imported into the Cape as a two-year-old. 
Echo could not gallop a bit, and he was thrown out of training 
into a large paddock where he was a source of amusement to 
everyone, for he appeared half cracked ; he used to pick up 

sticks in his mouth, take them into a corner and make a pile 



128 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

of them ; sometimes he would trot round and round with his 
head against his flank for half an hour at a stretch ; he would 
run after crows or other birds that alighted in the paddock, 
chasing them with his mouth wide open ; in fact, his antics 
were far more like those of a puppy than a colt. After about 
a year he was put into training again, and although he occasion- 
ally showed speed, yet he developed so much temper that he was 
sold to Jack Thomas, a famous jockey and trainer down there, 
for twelve or fifteen guineas ; Jack Thomas at that time hunted 
the Cape hounds, and used to take Echo out regularly with the 
pack, soon getting him quite handy and quiet. Seeing after a 
bit that he could do almost anything with him, and also notic- 
ing he had a decided turn of speed, Thomas added Echo to 
the string he was then training, and the colt steadily improved. 
He ran well up in one race and was then allowed to lie bye 
for another season, after which he was brought out as a five- 
year-old, when he won two races out of four starts at the Cape 
Town races, two out of four at Malmesbury, and one or two 
other races at smaller meetings. The following year he 
cleared everything before him and was scarcely, if ever, 
beaten ; all distances seemed alike to him, one mile, or two and 
a half, they crushed him with weight but he never seemed to 
mind it, and with Thomas on his back was simply invincible. 
As in his latter days, he was an awfully lazy horse in training, 
and the boy on his back used to have to literally flog him for 
three hundred yards ere he would go faster than a trot ; he 
was so sleepy and lazy that he hardly ever went out to exercise 
without falling down once or twice ; and one day, when being 
led from his stable to the race course, a distance of about a 
mile, on one occasion with two men leading him and a small 
boy on his back he fell twice, and then won his race two miles, 
with ten stone seven up giving everything else twelve pounds 
and more. Nobody would send their mares to him when he 
was advertised for the stud, as he was such a bad hack, and 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. I2Q 

breeders did not like his color, a mealy chestnut, so he went to 
India. Of his career here in the hands of Colonel Carey, Mr. 
Macallister and Mr. Lethorn under the skilful care and pilotage 
of Ryder and Dignum, the Oriental Sporting Magazine and 
Asian's columns told of many a good race gallantly won, and 
afterwards at Jaintpore his wondrous constitution and pluck 
enabled him even at the green old age of twenty and twenty- 
one, when his knees really were bowed out level with his toes, 
to show that there was life in the veteran yet. Few sounder, 
pluckier or more successful horses have ever been imported 
into India than the Cape horse Echo. Second perhaps to Mr. 
Maitland's Kingcraft, but certainly to none other up to this 
epoch. 

In spite of doleful prognostications, the Sonepore gathering 
promised to be a good one, as Colonel Money, now in charge 
of the Durbangah Raj, signified that the Maharajah would be 
present and give a big camp, as well as a Cup of Rs. 1,000 to 
the races. The festive Bob Lockhart, then an eligible bachelor, 
with George St. Aubyn Nixon, ran a quiet Chupra camp just 
behind the ball room, which was a very useful rendezvous for 
those whose fervent worship of Bacchus rendered the finding 
of their tents a matter of difficulty. Jimmy McLeod had a big 
camp in the corner, Gwatkin Williams, Albert Mangles, Anthony 
Patrick MacDonnell, Colonel Money, the 65th Regiment, Steuart 
Bayley and Harry Abbott, besides several smaller fry, all had 
camps. Jock Harvey, Manager of Paikpara and owner of the 
mighty Palmerston, and the brothers T. and A. A. Apcar, were 
guests of Harry. Major Ben Roberts, who was acting as 
Mentor to Durbangah, was a guest of Colonel Money's, as was 
Mr. Eraser McDonell. The racing was again confined to 
the local stables, though they were all, save Mr. Cresswell's, 
greatly improved ; the latter gentleman had sold B. Sharp to 
the Maharajah, but most unfortunately the handsome little 
horse had broken his fetlock joint and had been sent to the 



130 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

stud. Outsiders were represented by that good horseman 
Captain Butlean from Lucknow, and the ever faithful Jaffir, 
who had come into a legacy of Rs. 5,000 from poor old 
Bricky Collins' estate, as well as all his racing cups, and who 
had now blossomed forth, according to his own story, as the 
trainer of a mysterious native nobleman, named Nunna Khan, 
for whom he had purchased Kingcraft, Salisbury, Rex and 
Widow ; Kingcraft had been summering at Jaintpore. It 
leaked out afterwards that Mr. Nunna Khan was Jaffir's son 
and heir, a funny little boy some three years of age. Dur- 
bangah's stable consisted of Caspian, Wentworth, Benham a 
beautiful little chestnut, scarcely over galloway height, bought 
from Weekes, a good looking grey Arab called Electric, the 
bay Wabdan, a maiden Arab Sonepore, and Bellona. Later 
in the meeting he added Raven and Widow to the string, 
neither Caspian nor Wentworth ran at Sonepore, being unfit. 
Jimmy had Jim Henderson's uncertain mare Rouble, 
Mercedes now belonging to the festive " Apples," Fieldfare, 
Thisbe, Birdlime, Geraldine, Peter and Mill May. Captain 
Butlean had only Kirby. The Jaintpore stable consisted of 
Mr. Harvey's Palmerston and Young Tokay, Mr. Charles' 
Blue Bell, Success and Madcap, the evergreen Spider, Petrel, 
Longfellow, Merry Lass, North Star, Fleur-de-lys, Lord Ripon 
( a perfect beast ), Speechless and Fancy. Mr. Bob Lockhart 
was training and riding for Mr. St. Aubyn and had the old 
chestnut Bangle and a pony Ariel; these constituted the horses 
likely to compete during the meeting, and there seemed every 
prospect of rattling good racing, and a fair division of the 
prizes, and so it turned out. Sonepore never saw better 
lotteries, for it was years since they had had thousand rupee 
ones ; one filled on each race. 

Mr. Harvey backed his horses in both events through 
thick and thin, but ticket takers had but poor satisfaction for 
their money. However, to judge from the noise made, every- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 



one went home perfectly happy and to sleep till the band 
commenced its gentle tootling five minutes before the gun 
that usually brings you up with a jump from your beauty sleep, 
and before seven o'clock the stand was simply crowded with 
fair lady visitors, while, down below, the host of strange faces 
from all parts of India proclaimed that Sonepore was indeed 
still to the fore, and that the meeting far excelled those of the 
last few years. Far to the eastern end of the gentlemen's 
stand might be seen the cheery face of Calcutta's inimitable 
Secretary, Major Ben Roberts, who brought up Tingey and 
little Robinson, in charge of His Highness the Durbangah 
Maharajah's stud. The way Benham romped home in front of 
Jock Harvey's grand horse, Palmerston, showed how correct 
was his opinion of the little horse's capabilities. Next to Major 
Ben stood the stalwart Major who managed the princely Estate 
of Durbangah ; Mr. Cresswell, late owner of that grand though 
unfortunate horse B. Sharp, was in front and quite spoiling the 
view of the speaking countenance of Mr. Mills, chief promoter 
and sustainer of sport at Gya, now transferred to Patna. The 
lower tier was filled with several Tirhoot faces, first and fore- 
most Jimmy McLeod, as well-known at Sonepore as household 
words. Then that quiet little man, Harry Abbott, whose voice is 
so seldom heard, even in the lottery rooms, and who was doomed 
that morning to see his paragon, Palmerston, beaten. It was 
a foregone conclusion Spider's losing, for he fell in the lottery 
to his owner's bid, who for once stoutly refused to part with 
even one little bit of the fiddlehead. By him stood a well- 
known and stalwart specimen of Tirhoot's sons, the renowned 
" Whang " Rennie, now alas no more. The judge's box was 
filled by Arthur Butler. There, too, was Chupra's chief 
stay, the irrepressible Bob, ever ready with a quip, never 
nonplussed at repartee, and whose laurels won on Bangle will 
as long be remembered at Bankipore and Arrah, as his tear- 
drawing speeches. 



132 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Great was the consternation of Jock Harvey when, after 
Palmerston seemed to have the Bettiah Cup safe, just oppo- 
site the stand, we saw Southall raise his whip hand and little 
Benham shot by the big bright bay, winning by two lengths. 
Princely Durbangah thus scored his first win on a Behar 
course midst the hearty cheers of the onlookers. Again the 
stable scored by Electric winning the Derby, though his 
stable-companion Wabdan started first favorite. Jaifir on 
Widow beat Spider, Geraldine and Merry Lass in the Tirhoot 
Stakes. Then Birdlime walked over for the Behar Stakes, 
and Mercedes, with Jimmy up, won a newly framed race from 
Bangle, Thisbe, Birdlime, Blue Bell and Longfellow. 

This ended a most pleasant morning's sport, resulting 
chiefly in the triumph of the Maharajah's stable, which, to 
judge from the congratulations showered upon him and Ben 
Roberts, showed how popular the win was, although Mr. 
Harvey's disappointment was equally sympathised with. South- 
all's face was a caution. He considered it impossible for the 
horse to be beaten, and certainly seemed more to be pitied 
than either the owner or Harry Abbott who were quite confi- 
dent that the race, if run over again, would be reversed, and 
were offering to run Benham over the same course and at the 
same weights for one thousand rupees or more, if it could be 
put on. Eventually a match was arranged to come off on 
Tuesday. 

On Friday the lotteries filled well, favoritism being divid- 
ed between Palmerston and Kingcraft for the Durbangah Cup. 
Mr. Harvey backed his nag bravely, though Jaffir would not 
touch Kingcraft ; but a jovial Major of the yoth Regiment, 
with the voice of a Sims Reeves and the thirst of a sand- 
bank, bought him in each lottery. In the race Kingcraft 
made running, and romped home three lengths in front of 
Palmerston, who was much too fat, Fieldfare and Rouble 
beaten off. Mercedes, owner up, beat Peter, Kirby and Sue- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 133 

cess in the Welter ; Fleur-de-lys and Mill May, with Robinson 
and Tingey up, ran a grand race for the Galloway Stakes, 
Harry's mare just doing the trick ; and then came the Selling 
Race, Bangle, Birdlime, King Wizard, Kirby and Fancy. King 
Wizard bolted in the preliminary, Jimmy having almost to pull 
him on his haunches to escape killing an enthusiastic Bobby 
who would keep crossing the course. The stirrup leather gave 
and away went the black, completely extinguishing his chance, 
Kirby meanwhile got sulky and refused to start .When they at 
last got off, the Jaintpore pair went to the front, Fancy going a 
clinker to the corner, where he bolted off the course, and 
Bangle coming away with a wet sail won pretty easily from 
Birdlime, King Wizard a decent third. At the commence- 
ment of the day it looked as if bad luck was going to stick 
to the Jaintpore stable, first the total overthrow of Palmer- 
ston, and then the utter collapse of Success, whom Harry was 
half inclined to think too good for the race, but Fleur-de-lys' 
victory was some recompense. Jaffir sold Widow to the 
Maharajah of Durbangah for Rs. 2,000. Well worth the money. 
On Tuesday came off the great match between Benham 
and Palmerston, and midst the greatest excitement Palmer- 
ston won easily, but the cup of Mr. Harvey's ill luck was not 
yet full, for Southall on going to scale carelessly took his 
bridle, and was of course over weight and disqualified. The 
Maharajah declined to take the match money himself and 
generously handed it to the Stewards towards the funds. At 
Monday night's lotteries Kingcraft was made a roaring favor- 
ite for the Hutwa Cup, again being unbacked by Jaffir, but 
bought by the same cute old soldier. Kingcraft, never headed, 
once more got home in front of Rouble, Benham, Raven, 
Spechless and Peter. Jaffir was the recipient of a handsome 
pin from the Major, and wore it with great pride throughout 
the meeting. He had a second win in the Civilians' Cup, 
Salisbury beating Electric, Geraldine, Wabdan, Spider and 



134 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Merry Lass. Thisbe won the Chumparun Stakes, and little 
North Star the Pony Stakes in a walk. In the evening Harry 
Abbott improvised a Gymkhana, which was greatly apprecia- 
ted, one of the events especially. It was a side saddle race, 
the jocks being dressed in ladies' dresses, hats, etc. Three 
started, Bobby Llewhellin on Princess, was ticked off on 
the correct card as Miss Jane ; Bob Lockhart on Primrose 
figured as Jemima ; and Harry Abbott on Ganymede answered 
to Sarah Ann. 

The following were the terms of this historical event : 
" For all hacks nominated by ladies to be ridden by 
gentlemen in side saddles wearing skirts and bonnets with 
racing colors as jackets ; distance, mile for a piece of jewel- 
lery. Any gentleman not completing the distance at a pace 
exceeding an exercise canter to present the lady nominating 
second horse with a silver bracelet. Any gentleman tumbling 
off to present the lady nominating third horse with a pair 
of silver bracelets." 

Jemima looked well in a sweet yellow jacket and black 
skirt. She sat well down in her saddle, and had a bold look 
which augured well for keeping her seat. Jane, only having 
learnt to ride late in life, leaned not ungracefully all over on 
one side, and several exclamations of " She's off, she's off" 
resounded from the laughing men of the yoth Regiment, who 
enjoyed this race tremendously. Jemima had a love of a hat 
with a real ostrich feather stuck bolt upright in the centre 
and which was worn by the late Lord Mayor's wife at her 
presentation at court. The jacket, a lovely sky blue, suited her 
somewhat sallow complexion admirably, and if her habit had 
not been somewhat immodestly short, Jemima would have 
been put down as a regular aristocrat. Then followed Sarah 
Ann, a most atrociously vulgar young woman in a bright red 
bonnet with green strings, yellow skirt trimmed with red, 
and a blue body. A regular roar of applause greeted her as 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 135 

she rode gingerly down to the start. They got well away at 
the start, Jemima inside, going neck and neck with Sarah 
Ann, the pace being a clinker, poor Jane swaying about and 
seemingly quite out of it. Round the corner both leading 
ladies were seen to be at work, and such a ding dong race 
ensued as has seldom been seen, first one, then the other in 
front, skirts ballooning beautifully in the air. " Jemima wins, 
no, Sarah Ann," was the cry and it looked cither's race till 
that cute old lady Jemima, riding close to the gaudily attired 
Sarah Ann, prevented that damsel using her whip, but, alas 
for her, the race was not over, for by this time Jane, who 
had got used to the saddle, came up with a rush, caught and 
passed the pair, holding on like grim death to the lady mayor- 
ess's feather, and winning by a short moustache. 

The lotteries on Thursday were better than any. For the 
Doomraon Cup, Speechless yst, Fieldfare 8st. gibs., Palmerston 
gst. i2lbs. and Rouble 8st. gib., were declared to start ; favor- 
itism being divided betw.een Fieldfare and Palmerston, who each 
sold for Rs. 310. Electric, now called Flash, was the tip for the 
Hajeepore Stakes ; Thisbe and Mercedes were equally fancied 
for the Champagne Stakes, and Widow was served up hot for 
the Chupra Cup. On the course nothing would go down with 
the public but Palmerston ; but at one time it looked as if Mr. 
Harvey's bad luck was going to stick to him, for Speechless 
ran a great horse, and Southall had to use the whip freely to 
save the race. Salisbury upset the apple cart in the Hajee- 
pore Stakes, just beating Geraldine ; Merry Lass, with a 
feather on her back, third. Harry Abbott, who had bought 
her two years previously from Jaffir for Rs. 4,000, and had 
never won a race with her, on her coming into the paddock 
took off her saddle, and putting the reins into Jafifir's 
hands said, " Here take the brute away, you may have her 
back for nothing !" Jaffir jumped up barebacked and went 
off straight to the stables, Thisbe, Tingey up, won the Cham- 



136 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

pagne Stakes, after a magnificent finish with Jimmy McLeod 
on Snowdrop. For the Chupra Cup there were half a dozen 
false starts due to Donaldson on Fleur-de-lys not joining his 
horses, she was a perfect tempered mare, but the little scamp 
had evidently been on the drink the previous night and was 
jumpy. When they did get off, he lost fully ten lengths. 
Widow rushed to the front, Spider soon joined her, but the 
roarer died away at the distance, and then Fleur-de-lys came 
like a streak of lightning and almost caught the big mare, 
who, however, won by a couple of lengths. The Lall Serryah 
stable and Jafifir were the chief winners. One of the Gymkhana 
events was a postillion race which Jimmy collared for the 
fourth year running. Rowland Hudson was an absentee that 
year, but Messrs. Nicolay, Apperley and Jimmy well kept up 
the reputation of Chumparun, and in Bob Lockhart Chupra 
could boast of a cool, good rider. Harry Abbott's riding 
days were over, for he had come a delicious crowner early in 
the year at Calcutta, when riding Vantage in a race against 
Benham, Fisherboy and Dauntless, she broke her leg at the 
distance when going strong, and falling through the rails, 
pitched her rider on to a carriage, breaking three or four ribs 
and making a nice mess of him. After this home rule was 
brought to bear, and he had to promise to give up race rid- 
ing for the future. Since then, like that old hero Jeshurun, he 
has waxed fat. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

YEAR 1881. 

Now in spite of the fillip given to Sonepore racing in 
1880 by the birth of the Durbangah racing stable, and the 
numerous additions of the outside owners who sent their horses 
to Jaintpore, Lall Serryah and Burowley to train, it was 
curious to notice that while Mozufferpore, much less easy of 
access and unfashionable for years a.s a. racing centre, was 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 137 

getting more popular, Sonepore was steadily going down hill, 
and the reason therefor was not difficult to gauge. Dear old 
Bicrom with the very best of intentions, knew not a race horse 
from a donkey, and year by year he seemed to get more and 
more blind to the reasons for his meeting decreasing in popu- 
larity among the general racing community. Let us take his 
Stewards for 1881, and be it always remembered that when a 
Secretary has been in harness as long as he had, he could, if 
gifted with any powers of organisation, have gathered round 
him sportsmen, instead of unsympathetic individuals who looked 
on the racing portion of the show more as a nuisance than 
aught else. Arthur Butler, who was the only one with any 
knowledge of racing, headed the list. He was straight as a die 
and a splendid judge of a horse, and as part owner in a racing 
stable, his sound judgment and attention to details, made him 
invaluable to an impulsive, generous, large-hearted, careless of 
expenditure, thorough sportsman like Jimmy McLeod, who 
would put up twenty friends every meeting, feed and train their 
nags, enter them, pay their expenses going from meeting to 
meeting, and then forget to send in a bill. Arthur Butler 
looked on this part of the show as " Magnifiqxe, mats pas la 
querre" he was perhaps a bit partial as a Steward. Then came 
good old Tom Gibbon, whom Jimmy had coaxed a year or two 
previously to come out of his shell and appear as an owner of 
horses, but to expect poor, gentle, shy, retiring Tom to pose as 
a racing oracle, was almost as hopeless as to try and teach a hip- 
popotamus to rival the Tespsichorean revels of a ballet dancer. 
Fred Halliday, best of good fellows and hosts, cared naught for 
the green sward, though he would subscribe liberally to it; 
Major Money, a good man in his place, but an absolute ignoramus 
in racing matters ; Anthony Patrick MacDonell, whom planters 
loved not, was shoved on as Steward chiefly to keep him as much 
as possible out of mischief ; Paddy Hudson by this time cared 
little for the game, while Mr. C, C. Quinn was a nonenity. 



.REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



Best of the boiling, but slow to rouse to a sense of what 
was wanted, was Albert Mangles, yet even he, like Bicrom, 
seemed to fancy that to publish a programme and wait for 
results began and ended the duties of a Secretary. Curiously 
enough to a great extent Mofussil Secretaries and Stewards 
still cling to this palpably false idea, and yet what went 
far to ruin Sonepore in the eighties, when meets were 
fewer and personal hospitality greater than in 1896, is 
naturally more likely to do so now, when meetings on a 
direct line of railway offer better purses, better gambling 
facilities, and better accommodation to owner, trainer and 
horse, than did or even still do our Behar Meetings. Search 
the world and it will be harder to find any race meeting to 
equal Sonepore in social enjoyment ; go to Lucknow, Calcutta, 
Bombay, Meerut, Madras or any ordinary head centre, as 
stranger and owner of horses, and what do you find, you have 
to put up in a dirty hotel or lodging house noise, filth, vermir 
and foul food being the luxuries you have to pay for ; nothing 
to do when you come back from the course in the morning, 
save to wait for every other day's racing. At Sonepore 
from the moment visitors arrive, till the camps break up, there 
is not one second free from fun. All owners want, is to have 
once been asked there as guests, and they will go on patronis- 
ing the meeting. But it was in this Mr. Abercrombie and his 
stewards failed. What filled Jimmy's, Gwatkin's and Harry's 
stables ? chiefly because they invariably asked as guests, to 
their camps at Sonepore, the men who trusted them with their 
horses. Coax owners and our Sonepore and Mozufferpore 
.Meetings will be better in 1900 and on ahead than they have 
hitherto been. The racing has never at Sonepore from 1883 
to 1896 cost the Stewards, or visitors, one anna, for the 
Secretary has invariably managed, so that a surplus has been 
available from racing funds to keep going the ever-increasing 
expenses of the ball room, bands and entertainments. Surely, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



therefore, it would in 1881 and the preceding year have been 
well worth the while of the Sonepore Stewards, when they 
had men like the Princes of Jodhpore, Dacca and Cooch Behar, 
as well as the [best European sportsmen England or India 
could boast of, willing to come to their meeting, to have 
parcelled them out among the local native Princes' and 
Stewards' camps, and have made much of them. It was more 
this blindness to good management, than all the tall talk 
about family party business, that confined Behar racing from 
this epoch, to mere local competition. There was very little 
to choose between the rival local stables, each, to a certain 
extent, was jealous of the others, yet no truer friends ever 
existed than the three Europeans who virtually ruled Behar 
racing during the eighties. The papers were beginning to slang 
Sonepore, when Judex Simpson, who, still though an absentee, 
loved Sonepore as did, and do, all its devotees, wrote thus to 
the Asian in March 1881 : 

" In the present instance the past can compare favorably 
with the present, as can be seen from the fact that then the 
five days of racing were supplemented by an entirely extra 
sixth day, on the Monday; and now people are quite satisfied with 
four days. To me, who had sworn by Sonepore in the old days, 
who had felt it to be unapproached and unapproachable by 
anything in any way, it was sad to hear of this diminution of its 
regular days from five to four, for I felt how the amount of in- 
terest taken in it in former days would have made this im- 
possible, vide the extra sixth day, which obtained in 1855, as 
well as in 1856. Indeed so bound up were all frequenters of 
the meeting with all connected with it, and such friends had it 
made us, that I do not know what it might not have extended 
to but for that terrible mutiny with its permanently deterio- 
rating effect upon everything. How our racing has gone off, 
in quality not in quantity, since then ; and how much have not 
native non-official officers lost by the extinction of John Com- 



140 REMINISCENCES OF* SONEPORE. 

pany, the best masters that servants ever had ; and my good 
friends, planters, little as you liked the regime then, would the 
Indigo Crusade ever have taken place if the Company had 
been to the fore ? 

" However, I took up my pen not to drift into Indian poli- 
tics, but to compare Sonepore of the present with that of the 
past in no cavilling spirit, but in the humble hope that I might 
possibly suggest some old ideas which might go towards im- 
proving the present. A very little word may do a great deal 
of mischief, so why might it not do good perchance? 

" A remarkable difference between the past and the present 
is in the large ' camps ' which are now a feature of the camp. 
They are often very expensive, needlessly so I mean, for 
guests surely need not have cheval glasses in each tent, the 
good food and good liquors all well bestowed. But I cannot 
but think that it is owing to the largeness of these camps that 
this general and exceeding good fellowship which used to 
grow with each day of the meeting is not now apparent. 
Large camps there must be when people have many guests 
who come from a distance, who could not otherwise be there 
on their own account ; and if these camps were composed 
only of such elements, they would perhaps only add to the 
general association. But now the guests in camps are often 
made up only of neighbours, who would otherwise come on 
their own account as they formerly used to do, and this I 
think is unfortunate. A large camp is a society in itself, and 
people in it must more or less hang together ; they are inde- 
pendent of others at first, and sometimes just a little tired of 
each other at last. Now these same people if there separate- 
ly on their own account, or if making up small independent 
parties look to others for their society and form in them- 
selves an available society for others, which gets pleasanter 
and pleasanter as days go on and they know more of each 
other. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONERORE. 



"Also I have known many pleasant people not go because 
they had not a large party of their own, and I have also 
known charming people leave who had come alone because 
they felt out in the cold among all the large ' guests' camps.' 
Mess Camps are a different thing, but they are perhaps pleas- 
antest when small in themselves with room for plenty of drop- 
pers-in. No one would wish to preach diminished hospital- 
ity, but the guests from a distance, though limited in num- 
bers, are enough generally to make a party pleasant, and then 
the droppers-in to a pleasant camp are never wanting, in 
quantity at least. I may be utterly wrong ; Tis frequently 
so ; but I cannot but feel confident that if people in the neigh- 
bourhood were allowed to come on their own hooks, separately 
or in small ' camps/ they would come if they were wanted, 
and that some would come who stay away as it is, but would 
be decided additions if they did come. On the first evening 
they would miss the big camp, but by the time that the after- 
noon of the first day's racing was over they would be begin- 
ning to like those whom they would, even by the time the 
meeting was over. All really used to love one another, and 
a friend of mine, known to fame as well as to many, ' Mr. 
Herwald/ used to retire with me, far from all maddening crowd, 
at midday of the midday of the meeting to reflect in sad and 
sober earnest that half of the meeting was over. It used 
really to depress us for a quarter hour or so, and then it 
all became jollier than ever. Some of us met our ' fates' 
there, but we literally loved so many there that there was 
not time to be particular in one's attentions, notwithstanding 
that the verandah of the ball room was then unseated and 
uncarpeted and lit only by the moon. 

" How peaceful and bright the course used to look in the 
full moonlight, and how sweet accents could be heard over 
that balustrade as the music sounded dimly, though clear 
enough in that unsurpassable ball room. What a ball room 



142 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

that used to be, and must be now, so smooth, so elastic, so 
perfectly proportioned. And how one used to enjoy it! One 
year long long ago others besides myself must still remember 
our dancing the last light out. V.C.'s, Commissioners, 
Generals, or Judges, or none of these, and the wives thereof, 
they now are, but surely they cannot have forgotten the small 
but very jolly party that we were in that wet meeting of 
days long gone by!" 

Later on The Asian wrote editorially : 

" Racing in Behar seems in a bad way, and it has come 
to this, that either the present welter weights must be aban- 
doned, or the races must become sky meetings. It is hardly 
likely that owners will run valuable horses under- weights 
likely to break them down, and if the reputation of racing 
in Behar is to be kept up, this must be altered at the principal 
meetings. Welter weights were all very well when the race 
meetings were confined to local stables. Now they are opened 
to everyone ; and if the success of an open meeting is 
desired, the terms of the races must be such as to suit all. 
Why not, sportsmen of Behar, conform to modern ideas at 
Sonepore and Mozufferpore and indulge the propensities of 
the amateur heavy weights at the minor meetings! " 

But even if the short-sighted policy of the Stewards did 
much to virtually close Behar meetings to outsiders, we were 
now on the eve of a cycle of successful meetings, for year 
by year the three local stables were not only increasing nu- 
merically, but were improving the quality of the horses, and 
once more were thoroughbreds to be seen galloping on our 
courses. Moreover, we had to welcome as additions to our 
local racing men, the generous young Prince of Durbangah, 
who had John Irving to train and young Jimmy Robinson 
to ride for him. His first purchase was the Arab Wabdan, 
bought from Captain Doyne ; he also bought B. Sharp, who 
had been performing well in Calcutta, from Gwatkin Williams. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 143 

In every way the meeting of 1881 was inferior to its 
predecessor, camps were fewer and the only outsiders present 
were Jaffir, Mr. Hopkins with two useless ones and Brewty 
from Bombay with the Aga Saheb's Earl and Secunder. Mr. 
Harvey after a short but brilliant career of two years had 
retired from the turf and had sold Palmerston to Coomar 
Indra Churn Singh of Paikparah, but his place in the Jaint- 
pore Stable had been taken by the Messrs. Apcar, who had 
sent Southall to Australia early in the year to get them horses, 
and he returned with Rosine and Rebecca, two very fine 
mares, and brought Perrett, then able to scale six stone, to 
steer them. Caractacus and Queensland had also been 
added to the string, and a fine looking countrybred of 
General Parrott's named Sir Bevis. So, with Spider, Success, 
Blue Bell and some more of the old lot, the stable numerically 
was strong, but it was decidedly unfit when the meeting 
opened. Jimmy had a big string as usual, Dunrobin, Torch- 
light, Audrey, Geraldine, Stockport, Mercedes, Lantern Fly, 
Thisbe and Doleful. Durbangah had Wentworth, Caspian, 
Benham, Widow, Flash, Sonepore and Sir Peter. Jaffir had 
Kingcraft, Rex and the countrybred Jung Bahadoor. Gwat- 
kin Williams was again unrepresented. Poor lotteries the 
first night, Wentworth favorite for Bettiah Cup, Jung Baha- 
door a hot favorite for Tirhoot Stakes ; and Stockport 
ditto in Behar Stakes ; Rebecca was entered for this race, 
but scratched by Mr. Apcar. Wentworth beat both Queens- 
land and Kingcraft easily in the Cup ; but that game mare 
Geraldine beat Jung in the Tirhoot Stakes, Widow and Sir 
Bevis behind them. Another upset in the Behar Stakes, 
Dunrobin, who sold for forty rupees in the lotteries, winning 
after a pretty race from Torchlight ; the favorite nowhere. 
The Derby was an easy win for Durbangah's Sonepore. 
Saturday's fields were poor. In the Welter, Jimmy on Mer- 
cedes won a pretty race from Lantern Fly, " Apples" up, the 



144 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

favorite Benham third only. Bob Lockhart's Bangle beat 
Marion and Spider in the Selling Stakes, and The Earl had 
an easy win in the Durbangah Purse from Jung Bahadoor 
and Sonepore. Bob pulled out Bangle for a second selling 
race, and putting little Perrett up, won from Stockport, 
Thisbe, Success and Corkscrew. On the third day Rex, the 
best pony India ever saw, won the Civilians' Cup in a trot 
from The Earl, Geraldine and Sonepore ; and then Tingey 
on Doleful and Jimmy on Mercedes fought out a great finish 
for the Chumparun Stakes, the professional beating the 
amateur by a head. A hockey pony race, won by Jimmy on 
Exchange, led to an objection, which was disallowed. The 
fourth day was a little better, but the handicaps were wretched. 
Wentworth beat Queensland and Success in the Doomraon 
Cup, and then came the race of the meeting, when the de- 
spised Flash, let in at yst. won the Hajeepore Stakes from Rex 
gst. I2lbs., Geraldine gst. I2lbs., Sonepore yst. 4lbs., Spider 
yst, and Jung Bahadoor gst. 7lbs. The Stewards did not make 
this handicap, but sensibly got a racing man to do it for them. 
Doleful, steered by " Apples/' beat Mercedes, Blue Bell, 
Thisbe and Corkscrew in the Champagne Stakes, and Jung 
walked over for the Chupra Cup. So ended the racing. The 
Asian's correspondent wrote of it : 

" As far as the racing is concerned, there is not the 
slightest doubt that Sonepore has been for the last five years 
deteriorating terribly, and it seems a pity that the managing 
committee are not sensible enough to recognise the fact, and 
entirely change the character of the meeting. Years ago 
Sonepore was visited by heaps of outside racing men, but now 
it is entirely deserted, save by the three local stables of Chum- 
parun, Tirhoot and Durbangah, and even their representa- 
tives can scarcely write, like the visitors of a Dak Bungalow, 
1 satisfied;' and from what I have heard on all sides, it is hop- 
ing against hope to expect outsiders to patronise it. One 



REMINISCENCES OF soNEPOke. 145 



dissatisfied owner makes many, and there is no doubt a very 
strong feeling exists against Sonepore. The majority of visitors 
who attend the meeting come purely and simply to enjoy the 
most pleasant camping picnic in India. Ladies are there in 
legion, and the sterner sex in attendance on them far prefer 
seeing their subscriptions spent on balls, lawn tennis and 
other amusements which the ladies can share and enjoy 
equally with them to plunging at the lotteries or seeing 
horses that they do not know, belonging to owners they do 
not care a dump about, gallop round the course. There is 
literally no interest taken by the public in the first-class races 
here, and in the lottery rooms, with the exception of perhaps 
half a dozen punters, the business is confined exclusively 
to the representatives of three stables, and there is very 
little margin of profit left for them, when the tickets they 
have lost, the high prices they have to pay for supposed 
good things, which generally fail to come off, jockey's 
fees, forced subscription, and other inevitable expenses are 
deducted. 

" For the last two years, sky races in the afternoon have 
been, by the consent of the Stewards, allowed, and a great 
deal more interest is shown in them than in the legitimate 
business, because all racers being barred, the competing hacks 
and ponies are known to almost every lady and gentleman 
present. Why they were not got up this year I could not 
exactly find out, though somebody said it was because the 
gentleman, who has hitherto kindly oflficated as Secretary, took 
offence last year because one man alone in the whole camp had 
refused to subscribe the ten rupees asked for to enable prizes 
to be given, saying he did it on principle as he had already 
subscribed to the races. I heard afterwards that this individual's 
subscription for the entire meet had been a gold mohur only, 
and as he had attended both races and ball suppers, his princi- 
ples were evidently those of the highest economy. I therefore 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



scarcely see the necessity for the Secretary's getting touchy 
over so unworthy a subject. He was an Emigration Agent 
from Calcutta. 

" Amongst the entire body of Stewards there is only one 
gentleman who knows or cares anything about racing. The 
prospectus was too evidently hastily formed and still more 
carelessly supervised. Errors, which the veriest tyro that ever 
attempted to get up a pony sky meet would never have passed 
unquestioned, were allowed to creep in, and when objections 
were raised, the decisions of the Stewards were weak in the 
extreme, and in most instances have been appealed against. 

" With regard to the handicapping I fully concur with the 
sentiments expressed by the correspondents of the other 
papers present. If the Stewards, instead of puzzling their 
heads for hours to bring horses together, of whose running at 
other places they know literally nothing, would send for the few 
owners or representatives of the horses, these individuals 
would in ten minutes frame a handicap, which the whole lot 
would accept and on which several lotteries would be held. It is, 
however, I fear too late to hope for any chance of resuscitating 
the Sonepore Meet, as it has become too utterly utter, but had 
this been done before, there might have been some hopes for 
the future . 

" I fear I shall raise a buzz of indignation from all connected 
directly or indirectly with the management, but I only echo 
the undisguised sentiments of those outside what the correspon- 
dent of the Pioneer described ' as the little family party.' A 
lesson that might well be learned by other well-wishers of sport 
in getting up new race meets is the utter absurdity of the long 
list of complimentary stewards that almost invariably swell the 
list of prospectuses, who are mostly placed there in the hopes 
that the honor paid them will be an inducement to increase 
their subscriptions. Utterly ignorant of racing and its laws, 
with every desire to be just, their votes but too frequently go 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORt. 147 

to give weight to an entirely wrong decision. Vanity prompting 
them, they accept their position, and if they possibly can, shirk 
their work, naturally enough feeling their incapacity. Four 
good working men, unconnected if possible with the horses 
competing, would be worth a dozen dummies, and Secretaries 
would do well to remember this. Not a single person, even 
those most justified in grumbling, hesitate to express their 
gratitude for Mr. Abercrombie's manifold exertions. Almost 
everything is on his shoulders, and how he manages to stand 
it, and put up with the grumbling, objections, and too frequent- 
ly impertinences, is a wonder. Most men would have flung 
up the thankless task in disgust long ago, but his equanimity 
carries him through everything, and it is due to him alone 
that one of the large local stables continues to run at Sonepore. 
The enthusiasm and speechifying at the last supper night 
might well have been dispensed, with. On such a woeful 
collapse as occurred, the less said the better. Alas ! for the 
days when little Mac, Teddy Drummond, Frank Vincent, 
Ulick Browne and Simmy ruled at Sonepore ; managing it as 
it should be managed, ruling it with firm but generous hands, 
lovers of horses and sport, encouraging sportsmen and owners 
from all sides of India with inducements of heaps of lotteries, 
princely hospitality, and an extra handicap or two got up on 
the last day, instead of, as now, no lotteries, unless owners 
toss for their own money ; little or no accommodation for a 
stranger if he comes, talks of cutting down purses, a weak 
prospectus, and still more deplorably weak management. 
Well may it be printed in large letters, ' Sonepore was.' " 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

YEAR 1882. 

In April 1882 the Planter r s' Gazette made its first appear- 
ance, and as there were now two sporting papers, the chroni- 
cling of racing events was more reliable. India lost a good 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



sportsman this year, by the death of poor Monty Stewart who 
was running horses in partnership with Lord Bill Beresford. 
Prospects looked very bad for Sonepore, Mr. Abercrombie 
issued the usual prospectus, but finding in September that the 
only entries up till then, were those from the Jaintpore stable, 
he wrote asking Harry Abbott if he would act with him as 
Joint Secretary. He consented, and started by endeavouring 
to get up-country sportsmen to enter and come, and though 
it was a bit late in the day, he nevertheless managed to in- 
duce his old trainer Robinson, now with Nawab Syed AH of 
Cawnpore, to bring Wicked, Yanathan and O' Kelly, and 
persuaded Lord William to send Ryder with Blackthorn and 
Mooltan, as well as Captain Hopkins, who brought Pandora 
and a couple of others. H.H. of Cooch Behar had a pony 
called Kate. Gwatkin Williams, Bob Lockhart, and another 
sportsman running as the Conservatives, all promised to sup- 
port the meeting. They had an unknown commodity in an 
Australian named Beaconsfield, Bangle, and another called 
Northcote ; Gwatkin was also looking after two of Kajeh 
Ahsanoola's, Dacoit and Kangaroo. Paragraph, Somerset 
and The Abbot had been imported during the year by Southall 
for Messrs. Apcar and Abbott, and had hot weathered at 
Jaintpore; the stable had also Rebecca, Queensland, Chieftain, 
Christmas Carol, Caractacus, Sir Bevis, Speechless, Maid of 
All Work, Devastation, Rosine, Chaste Susannah, North 
Star, Avenger, Chief and a little daughter of Kathleen's by 
Echo, called Mavourneen. Neither Paragraph nor Somerset 
ran, being reserved for Calcutta. Captain Charley Gordon 
of Segowlie, just back from Egypt, had a thin looking rail of 
an Australian called Wily Pedestrian. Captain Paget, the 
gunner of Dinapore, had a black gelding Seer, and the Chupra 
sportsmen were determined, if possible, once more to bring 
back the prestige of the meeting ; Sproggins, Nixon, Bob 
Lockhart, Gwatkin and all the planters did their level best, and 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 149 

at any rate the meeting was not the failure it promised to 
be a few weeks previously. Jimmy had his old lot and 
backed up the meeting loyally, his stable consisted of 
Mercedes, now Rowland Hudson's, Blackbird, Glacialine, 
Geraldine, Scamp, Dunrobin, Torchlight and Toots. Durban- 
gah had signified his intention of dropping racing, as after 
Major Ben Roberts went home, he could find no one to 
manage for him. From the camps were lost the regular ones 
of Mr. Metcalfe, the Commissioner, gone on deputation, and 
Durbangah's, but Mr. and Mrs. Mangles had a large farewell 
one, and Gwatkin Williams too. So had the giddy Chupra 
bachelors, one of whom was soon to leave their ranks. 
Sarun backed up the meeting heartily, and Jimmy had his 
usual big gathering. Early in the season Messrs. Abbott and 
Apcar foreseeing the falling off in Behar of first class racing, 
had begun to train a portion of their string at Bangalore, and 
to patronise the other Indian Meetings. Poor old Spider, 
the hero of a hundred hard fought tussels, had crossed the 
bourne. Along with Somerset, Paragraph and The Abbot, 
Southall had brought up a chase horse to Jaintpore for the 
popular Mr. George Thomas of Calcutta ; this was Cumber- 
land, a fine big bay. During August he was attacked with a 
go of heat appoplexy, and Abbott put Dewing, the cross 
country jock, on to old Spider's back about ten o'clock 
in the morning, and told him to ride smartly to the nearest 
telegraph station, Mozufferpore, twenty miles off, and thence 
wire to Calcutta for a Veterinary-Surgeon. As far as is 
known Dewing scarcely slacked rein, till when within a 
quarter of mile of his destination, the game old horse 
dropped dead from over exertion. Spider was a studbred 
rejection, had never been a day sick, and never had a shoe 
on his foot in his life. The Stewards were in a dreadful 
quandary just before the meeting. To add to their other 
troubles, they heard the new Bengal and North-Western 



15 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Railway line was to be carried right through the course, 
which would naturally have ruined it; but fortunanely Mr. 
Levinge, the Engineer in charge, and his attendant satellites, 
visited the meeting at which Master Harry and his backers 
did them so well in the eating and drinking line, and Bob 
Lockhart talked to them so touchingly, that they wept tears of 
sympathy and declared the railway itself should be abandoned 
before Sonepore should suffer. They said they considered 
the Stewards were the best judges of wine in the country, 
but as Bob pointed out, the perfection of their brands was 
chiefly due to the fact that Mr. Vesey Westmacott, boss of 
the country grog-shops, was present ; and he would have 
fined the Stewards heavily had they given him a bad bottle 
of the Boy. Thus Sonepore was saved, and the line taken 
through the elephant's instead of the biped's camp. 

The Chupra officials were all there, but not in one big 
camp. Mr. Paul, the Collector, a rare good sort, just leaving 
the District, was by himself, Dr. Russell ditto, and so was 
the Joint Magistrate. The fair was a big one, the polo ground 
in great request, and entire harmony prevailed throughout ; 
none of the crotchety objections that spoilt preceding years 
marred the good fellowship. The lotteaies on the first night 
were not very good, but one filled on each race. Three 
accepted for the Leger The Abbot, Princess and Kangaroo, 
the first-named a hot favorite. For the Derby, Mooltan, 
Geraldine, O'Kelly, Lielle, Christmas Carol and Kathleen's 
two-year-old filly Mavourneen by Echo ; nothing was looked 
at but O'Kelly. The Behar Stakes had Toots, Devastation, 
Lady Maude, Northcote and Chancellor, the first three equally 
fancied ; for the Galloways, Pandora, Glacialine, Chieftain, 
Mabelle and Kate accepted. Pandora alone was backed 
heavily. In the morming The Abbot opened the ball for 
Jaintpore by romping home for the Leger ; and had Green- 
halgh any idea at first, how good ugly little Mavourneen 



. REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 1 5 1 

was, he might have scored a second win in the Derby, in 
which after one false start, owing to Mavourneen being on 
the wrong side of the post, the field got off fairly together, 
O' Kelly and Lielle going to the front, Tingey on Geraldine 
lying next, while the Jaintpore pair and Mooltan whipped in. 
At the three-quarter mile Geraldine and Mooltan, followed 
by Mavourneen, who was on the extreme outside, took closer 
order, and the four leaders ran a pretty race to the corner, 
when Mavourneen shot to the front, and O' Kelly fell back 
beaten, the countrybred filly coming round very wide. At the 
distance Ryder was niggling at Mooltan ; Geraldine had cried 
enough, and the cornstalk was sitting still ; but inch by inch 
Ryder crept up, and in the last few yards the superior stride 
telling, the uncertain bay came home a winner, all out, by a short 
length ; Geraldine third, the rest easing off. Had the filly 
been able at any time to slip inside, she must have won, for 
she came in seemingly quite undistressed. She galloped 
just in the same form as her good old mother. The other 
jockeys declared they could hardly ride from laughing when 
they found the only dangerous one in the race was the queer 
little despised weed they had all been chaffing Southall about 
for the last week. 

The Behar Stakes was a fairly easy win for Jimmy on 
his own nag Toots, though Tingey on the Jaintpore repre- 
sentative, Devastation, who had run off the course at the start, 
made him sit down and ride at the distance. Pandora won 
the Galloway Stakes in a walk, the first and only win Captain 
Hopkins had at Sonepore. Much better lotteries on Friday. 
For the Bettiah Cup five accepted, in one lottery held Beacons- 
field and Caractacus divided favoritism. 

A poor lottery on the Durbangah Purse, only Wicked, 
Mavourneen and Christmas Carol going out. Wicked favorite. 

The Welter had six acceptors, Wily Pedestrain, Yana- 
than, Mercedes, Maid of all Work, Sir Bevis and Seer, 



152 REMINISCENCES O* SONEPORft. 

Mercedes backed and made favorite by her stable at 
Rs. 300, Wily Pedestrian bringing only Rs. 70. For the 
Selling Race Bangle, Princess, Chaste Susannah and Speech- 
less all fancied, and bringing on an average a hundred each. 
The Bettiah Cup treated us to a great race between all, bar 
Dacoit, who was soon beaten. Jimmy Robinson rode Bea- 
consfield as well, as Southall rode Caractacus badly, and 
midst deafening cheers the Chupra boy's horse got home by a 
neck. Wicked won the Durbangah Purse easily enough, but 
now came an upset, for Wily Pedestrian got off with a flying 
start in the Welter, and was never collared; Speechless and 
Susannah ran a good race for the Selling Stakes, the horse 
winning, because the Chaste one swerved at the finish. Jim- 
my's Blackbird finished up the day by winning the Pony 
Race. 

The morning of Sunday, the 26th, came on in the midst 
of rain, iron-grey clouds and general gloominess. The over- 
cast sky, the drizzling of the rain, and the cold, desolate ap- 
pearance of the tents, made between blankets the most com- 
fortable place where one could lie and ponder on the strange 
ways of Providence, which at one fell swoop had turned the 
bright merry meeting into a sad-looking gathering. The piti- 
less rain which poured down till the shamianas began to give 
way, and tents to sway in an alarming manner, brought out 
the latent energy of burly planters and still more burly civi- 
lians, who might be seen with kodallies in hand cutting the 
channels round their separate tents, to let the water run clear, 
and hammering down the tent pegs to keep them from slip- 
ping out of the earth softened by the penetrating " jupsie." 
This continuous drizzle rendered the roads over the " deara" 
lands something awful. Tenacious mud, strong enough to 
act as book-jack to some gentlemen, who were observed to 
quietly go into their tents in a limping manner on returning 
from the ghat. It was afterwards found out that this was 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 153 

owing to their having lost their boots in the gummy mud. On 
the road to the river, the multitude of natives who struggled 
through this awful mass of stickiness to the ghat, some four 
or five miles distant, was so great, or the tenacity of grip in 
the ponk so powerful, that even these careful creatures left 
shoes sticking to such an extent, that by native shoes alone, 
the track could be found to the ghat, where Baboo Beharry 
Singh's steamer transported the passengers to the southern 
bank of the Ganges. 

On the other side, the mud up to the Bankipore 
pucca road was very nearly as bad, in some parts worse. 
Cruelty to animals was largely displayed in the way poor 
wretched ponies were compelled to drag heavy ticca gharries. 

After an early breakfast, the more venturesome among the 
ladies and genlemen attended a midday service held in the 
supper room, after which cards being tabooed, chat and gossip 
took their places, and silvery tones mingled with masculine 
gruffiness in the once cosy and pretty drawing-room shamianas. 
Going round the camp during a short break in the rain, which 
took place in the evening, the extent of damage done was 
at once s e en ; most of the drawing-room tents were unin- 
habitable, and in one some horses might be seen revelling, 
where the night before flirtation had run merry riot. The 
lawn tennis tournament, which was finished when the fine 
weather returned, was won by Miss Richardson and Mr. Harry 
Lee after a hard fought battle. Among the players, one 
of the most admired for her style was Miss Hunt. Her over- 
hand service was at times magnificent, and there were very 
few men present at the meet who could do it better. A lawn 
tennis handicap in the Chupra camp was won by Colonel 
Skinner, who walked in an easy winner. 

Taking camps all round without exception the Chupra 
camp deserved credit for the excellent way in which it was 
managed from beginning to end without a single hitch or 



154 .REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

trouble of any kind, and the kind-hearted lady who made the 
arrangements for so many guests, deserved both credit and 
thanks for the great success which attended her exertions. 

Polo was played nearly every night, no serious accident 
occurred, though Sproggins Mackenzie got cannoned from his 
horse, resulting in a torn boot and damaged toe, and Apples 
gallantly received the polo ball in his dexter optic. 

On Monday it cleared a bit, and at the lottery rooms in 
the evening it was evident the spirits of the racing portion of 
the community had not suffered. For the Hutwa Cup Handicap, 
the following accepted : Blackthorn gst. ylbs., Lord Beacons- 
field 8st. iolbs., Queensland 8st. ylbs., Dacoit yst. All but the 
last were fancied and backed, Rebecca, slightly the favorite. 
For the Civilians' Cup Wicked, Geraldine, Christmas Carol, and 
Avenger, the firstnamed favorite. The Chumparun Stakes 
was well patronised, Dunrobin, Speechless, Mercedes, Torch- 
light, Toots, Bangle and Chaste Susannah elected to go, 
Toots and Mercedes red hot favorites, Speechless next in 
demand. On Tuesday the sky was bright enough, but the go- 
ing terribly heavy. The Hutwa Cup resolved itself into a duel 
between the Jaintpore pair, Ferret on Queensland getting 
home a length in front of Tingey on Rebecca, whom Harry 
had backed at the lotteries. Jimmy was the lucky buyer 
of Queensland. Wicked cantered in for the Civilians' Cup, 
and the ever lucky Mr. Fraser's Dunrobin won the Chum- 
parun Stakes. Timing throughout was awfully slow. A clear 
fine Wednesday made the going nice for Thursday, and the 
shamianas having dried, things hummed again. Messrs. Wil- 
liams and Butler did the handicaps throughout, and did them 
so well, that nearly all the imposts were accepted. For the 
Doomraon Cup there were three, Rebecca 8st., Queensland 
8st. ylbs., and Beaconsfield yst. i2lbs., Queensland favourite in 
two lotteries. Wicked was favorite for the Hajeepore Stakes, 
though Christmas Carol pressed him close. For the Champagne 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 155 

Stakes six declared, Toots a long way most fancied ; Pandora, 
a hot favorite for the Galloway Handicap, bringing Rs. 270, 
Chief, Rs. 80 and Glacealine, Rs. 40. Lovely going in the morn- 
ing. The Doomraon Cup proved the very best race of the 
meeting, one false start caused by Beaconsfield' s fidgetiness, 
then they swept past the stand all together, Rebecca slightly 
in front of Beaconsfield, Queensland at the latter's girths, the 
whole way ; the same distance parted them till, when close 
home, Rebecca was joined by Beaconsfield, soon, however, to 
be collared in turn by Queensland, who first caught the judge's 
eye by a neck ; half a length separating the other two. 

The Hajeepore Stakes was thought a moral by the 
professional element for O' Kelly ; Harry Abbott fancied both 
his light weights likely to be there or thereabouts, while 
Wicked had but little public favor. Robinson never brought 
up Wicked till he saw O' Kelly in trouble, and then came with 
a rush, having a stone in hand. Avenger, who was going very 
strong till close home, was only beaten on account of sore 
shins troubling him at the finish. 

The Champagne Stakes was another very pretty race, 
Chaste Susannah and Dunrobin led for the first quarter, then 
Speechless, skilfully steered into inside place by Tingey, forged 
to the front, old Yanathan coming next, all the rest together. 
Speechless, who went on increasing his lead, till the grey was 
unable to catch him, won easily by a length. The grey the 
same distance in front of Toots ; Chaste Susannah a bad last. 

The handsome Pandora, in spite of her heavy impost 
could easily have won the Galloway Stakes had she not swerved 
when just opposite the distance post. Tingey in this race 
showed what a perfect horseman he was ; Ryder just out from 
England, had been bucking that Archer, Fordham and Wood 
could give the Indian professionals any amount, but Tingey's 
finish on Chief will ever be remembered by those who witnessed 
it as one of the most brilliant displays of riding they have seen, 



156 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

A quarter mile scramble for all ponies, 13 hands and under, 
bought at the fair, for which the generous young Maharajah of 
Cooch Behar gave a purse, brought out a dozen competitors. 
Whack, whack, whack, went the whips from the very start, the 
result being that Messrs. Barclay and Apples ran a dead heat, 
the favorite, Mr. Cresswell's Potiphar's Wife, being nowhere. 
On running off the dead heat, Mr. Barclay not being used to 
such unusual exertion, want of condition told on him, and long 
before his pony caved in, the rider was done, so Apples, always 
fit as a fiddle, cantered home an easy winner. This finished 
the Sonepore Races of 1882. The course was perfect, prizes 
good, lotteries well filled, and the management had the full 
confidence of the public. At the supper in the evening Mr. 
Cresswell in a feeling speech proposed the health- of Mr. 
Abercrombie, who in reply, said that the success of the meeting 
was entirely due to Harry Abbott's exertions in rescuing the 
racing from utter failure, by inducing the Maharajah of Jodh- 
pore, Lord William Beresford, and other owners to send horses 
and thereby show the public the good racing they had witnessed. 
Harry elevating himself in a chair, declaimed any praise 
whatever, saying truthfully that from start to finish it was to 
Mr. Abercrombie, whose excellent arrangements of the camps, 
balls and suppers had really contributed to make the meeting 
such a pleasant one. As far as racing was concerned, he asserted 
that he would guarantee next year to show them some of 
the best horses in India running for their cups, and that instead 
of Ichabod being applicable to Sonepore, it should be termed 
the Phoenix Meeting. He also alluded very feelingly to Mr. 
and Mrs. Mangles' approaching departure, and called on the 
company to give them a farewell ovation of cheers, which they 
did uproariously. Mr. Butler proposed the health of the ladies, 
to which Bob Lockhart replied in his usual graceful style, and 
all retired to their virtuous couches, thoroughly well pleased 
with the ten days' picnic. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 157 

Harry Abbott owed any amount of thanks to the Chupra 
contingent for the cordial way in which they supported his 
efforts, as also to Messrs. Butler and Cresswell for their assis- 
tance in the handicaps. Jimmy's camp and stable were also 
towers of strength. The settling was got over most satisfac- 
torily, Messrs. Cresswell and Abbott being the largest win- 
ners. Luckily there were no heavy losers. Just after the 
Dumraon Cup Jimmy bought Beaconsfield from the Conser- 
vatives, the reason for the sale being that their leading light, 
Bob Lockhart, proved the old adage " lucky at racing unlucky 
in love" to be in his case entirely incorrect, for it leaked out 
on Thursday evening that he had wooed and won the neatest 
and nicest lassie at the meeting ; and ere a month elapsed he 
led Miss Vanrennen to the altar, since then the happy 
pair have been the backbone of Sonepore Meetings, for is 
not their hospitable camp ever the creme de la crerne of 
every year's gathering ? and round their piano every evening 
visitors crowd to listen to good music ; tell tales of the last 
meeting before Bob was married, and relate to new comers 
how, on hearing the news, the dulcet tones of Bob Berrill's 
mellifluous voice rang out. 

He's not lost to us for ever, our brilliant beamish boy, 
Best looking of our bachelors, our Chupra spinsters' joy : 
So we'll bear up in our sorrow, and check the rising sob, 
While we pledge fair Miss Vanrennen, and her well select^ 

ed Bob. 

Early in December the wedding of Mr. Lockhart and 
Miss Vanrennen was celebrated with great eclat at Banki- 
pore, over 60 people witnessing the ceremony in the pretty 
little church, which was most tastefully decorated with white 
roses. Miss Halliday and Miss Richardson officiated as 
bridesmaids, waited on by four little tots, two of them nieces 
of the bridegroom, daughters of Mr. Coffin of Sartee, the other 
two daughters of Mr. Arthur Butler of Motihari. The happy 






REMINISCENCES OF SONEPQRE. 



pair, after the ceremeony, accompanied by their friends, 
were sumptuously banquetted at the hospitable house of Mr. 
Mangles, alas too soon to be lost to Behar. 

There is an amusing anecdote about Mr. Apperley, which 
it would be unfair to that humorous sportsman to leave out of 
these chronicles. At one of the balls, Apples took the lady he 
had been dancing with to the long corridor outside the supper 
room, to get some fresh air ; she had never been to Sonepore 
before, and asked " What place is this ? " " Oh," said Apples 
"this is ' Kissy ka jugger.' ' She knew a little Hindostanee, 
and jumped up, ablaze with indignation, " How dare you insult 
me, Sir," she said. " What have I done," asked Apples. " It 
isn't what you've done, it's what you said." " Well I'm 
blessed," answered Apples, " this comes of your ignorance of 
the language. I didn't mean what you thought I did. ' Kissy ka 
jugger' means anybody's place, everyone is allowed to come 
here." The lady was obliged to accept the explanation, but 
the story leaked out, and the corridor has been known as 
" Kissy ka jugger " ever since. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

YEAR 1883. 

But for 1883 in spite of Harry's boast, things looked worse 
than ever. The only entries were from Messrs. Cresswell 
and the Jodhpore Princes. Harry Abbott had sold his share 
of the stable to his partners, and went in April, for his first 
trip home, since he came out in 1862. Jimmy McLeod had 
gone on a visit to Australia, and did not return till too late to 
prepare his horses for Sonepore. The Messrs. Apcar had now 
taken to send their horses regularly to Bangalore to train, and 
only a few summered at Jaintpore, and when Harry got back at 
the end of June, it was only to find there was little or no chance 
of a meeting. The Calcutta Exhibition was on, and localites 
could not afford the double expense of a Sonepore camp and a 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 159 

jaunt to Calcutta. Besides which the Behar Light Horse were 
booked for inspection during the exhibition week at Calcutta, and 
the boys wanted what bawbees they had for the bigger show. 
So for the first time since its initiation Sonepore was abandon- 
ed, and only a few Chupra officials camped under the trees, a 
desolate, wretched crew. Early in the year Mozufferpore had 
been very successful, though the lotteries were not up to those 
of 1882, when thirty thousand rupees worth filled on the Dur- 
bangah Cup alone. Gwatkin Williams had sold his entire 
string to Nawab Kajeh Ahsunoola, and Durbangah had now 
formed a confederacy with Lord William Beresford, and though 
this of course ensured his having a. powerful stable, it drew his 
horses away from district racing. 

The Planter -s' Gazette wrote of tint fiasco of 1883: 
"We hear that the number of horses and cattle flocking 
this year to Sonepore is, if anything, beyond the average, and 
that, in spite of the absence of the European camps, prices are 
likely to rule excessively high, as not only have the Calcutta 
Tramways Company bespoken agents to purchase for them, but 
the horse dealing firms in the same city will also be strongly 
represented. It seems indeed a sin to sound even a temporary 
requiem over one of the oldest, most unique and most pleasant 
meetings in India; but it was inevitable, as we have in previous 
issues fully pointed out. Looking back to old turf records, we 
find that the Hajeepore Races were amongst the first ever 
held in Behar, and that as far back as 1839 the locale was 
changed to Sonepore. We hope to be able later on when 
space presses less strongly on us than it does now, to produce 
a series of reminiscences of Sonepore, which we are perfectly 
certain will prove of interest to the many readers of our 
journal who may have either retired to the dear old country of 
their nativity, or still growl under Indian heat and Riponian 
misgovernment. Take one instance alone to show how those 
who love and know the meet regularly visit it ; this will be the 



l6o REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

first year, for twenty consecutive ones, when the kindly face of 
Mr. John will be absent from a meet which years ago was 
.dubbed the ( Goodwood J of India. The present ball room, 
which owes its origin to the sturdy appeal of Teddy Drum- 
mond, published in the Oriental Sporting Magazine in July 
1868, will this year not resound to the pretty feet of the sweet 
little votaries of Terpsichore ; but will stand out in all its bare 
whiteness of aspect unlighted from within, in the November 
moonlight. Unhappy Beharee Singh in his dera just opposite 
will curse the verdict that has deprived him of the numerous 
pickings that from year to year, he has been in receipt of 
from this, his El Dorado ; the horse dealers will deeply deplore 
the absence of Messrs. McLeod, Williams and Abbott, who 
regularly took good horses from them at good prices, in large 
numbers, and for whom they religiously reserved their picked 
stock ; and still more deeply than all will the Joint Secretaries, 
each in his special groove, say ' Ay de mi.' Unpolished must the 
dancing floor remain ; unladen the supper tables and no more 
will the cry of ' Toss, you for a page, Sir ' be heard in the 
snug little lottery room. Let the curtain fall sadly to slow 
music for this year only, and taking the words written years 
.ago by Teddy Drummond, let us say to the racing men, in the 
interests of the noble sport, which must never die out as long 
as there are Englishmen in India : 

" 'To the public in general in the interests of the dear old 
'Sonepore Meet The Goodwood of India the one holiday 
that all in Behar, both Europeans and Natives, and many in 
^Bengal and up-country, look forward to throughout the 
greater part of the year, as giving us all a brief escape from 
the collar at a most necessary season after the oven like heat 
of the hot weather and the steamy heat of the rains have done 
their best to sap our health and energy. 

U( To one and all; in the recollection of the beautiful groves 
of mangoe trees ; of the picturesque encampment ; of the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. l6l 

charming friendly gipsy life in the fresh air under the trees ; 
of the strains of the band floating through the but semi- 
conscious brain at early dawn as a summons to the races ; of 
the good- racing ; of the pleasant balls; of the fair faces ; of 
the good fellows full of fun and jollity ; of the wondrous and 
endless diversity of sights throughout the fair ; of the many 
old friends always met there, etc., etc., (without end) do I 
appeal. Shall Sonepore end, shall it suffer for the want of 
a few dirty rupees ? Never.' This is what he said in 1868, 
and now in 1883 the words of the present Secretaries are 
that they will bring it out next year in more than all its 
pristine glory, guaranteeing that it shall not clash with 
Hyderabad, and that both visitors and horses shall be 
ensured." 



CHAPTER XXX. 
YEAR 1884. 

As early as May 1884 Messrs. Abercrombie and Abbott 
issued a four days' programme and had fair promise of sup- 
port. Mr. Arthur Forbes, a genuine little sportsman, was 
now at Chupra and determined it should not be his fault if 
Sonepore did not buzz. On the Stewards' list Gwatkin Wil- 
liams replaced Mr. Butler, who, after the lamented death of his 
wife, had gone home. Harry Abbott caught smallpox in April, 
fortunately his family were at Darjeeling, but it didn't bother 
him much ; he kicked out the doctor and cured himself with 
carbolic acid, amusing himself by sending daily wires to his 
anxious spouse of this sort, " Beauty still unimpaired, nose 
holding out splendidly." Having now a comparatively empty 
stable he began to look round for somebody to help him to fill it, 
and found that bright Armenian luminary of the Calcutta bar 
Mr. M. P. Gasper, willing to trust to his guidance, so he per- 
suaded him to buy Paragraph from the Messrs. Apcar, and 



162 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Avenger from Mr. Namreh, and with a few more had a re- 
spectable string. In addition to Nawab Kajeh Ahsanoola's lot, 
Gwatkin had now got Rhesus and First Water in training at 
Burowley for Mr. C. H. Moore, Jack Perrett training ^for him. 
In June at Meerut died from the effects of a fall, poor John 
Irving, the jockey, who had ridden many a race at Sonepore, 
and whose last employ had been with Durbangah. In Novem- 
ber, the Government fiat went forth to do away with Segow- 
lie as a military station and Behar bade a sorrowful farewell 
to the officers- of the sporting 6th B.C., who had made them- 
selves so thoroughly popular. Not only were the men good 
fellows, but the ladies of the regiment, Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. 
Charley Gordon, were bad to beat in any game which the sex 
is allowed to indulge in. Mrs. Wheeler was a most cool and 
accomplished horsewoman ; once when riding Jimmy's 
Lantern Fly at Lall Serryah, she cleared thirty-three feet 
with a four foot bank in the middle, and the horse never 
put toe on the obstacle. At tennis Mrs. Gordon was a cham- 
pion, and in a bolstering match could give her husband 
pounds. No entries being received, save a few from Jaint- 
pore, the Stewards once more resolved on throwing up the 
sponge, but the Chupra boys came forward and voted for a 
Gymkhana. Mr. Gasper had taken his nags up to the Ndrth- 
West meetings, where Paragraph, Avenger and Chloe carried 
everything before them. Chloe had turned out a clinker, Alec. 
Clarke was training and Vinall riding for the stable, Caracta- 
: cus had broken down, and been rebought by Harry Abbott 
for the Jaintpore breeding stud. Jimmy McLeod had also 
been going in for breeding and had two fillies fit now to 
gallop, by Kingcraft out of Finette, and Talkaway ; he also 
had Lincoln, who proved most successful as a pony sire. In 
August Bertie Short threw up the North-West and joined the 
Indigo and Tea Planters' Gazette, now under the kind 
advice of Paddy Hudson changed to the Indian Planters' 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 163 

Gazette. The Gazette writing about Sonepore in November 
said : 

" Verily Mr. Kelly Maitland was right (much as we who 
loved the time-honored surroundings hoped against hope) 
when he wrote seven years ago that Ichabod might be written 
against Sonepore. The House of Lords is seemingly doomed, 
Sonepore is gone as an aristocratic meeting, and the only 
thing worth living for to sportsmen of the old school in 
Behar is that Lord Ripon is leaving these shores never to 
return." 

1 This year saw the opening of Sonepore as a railway station 
of the Bengal and North-Western Railway, and great was the 
convenience. The old Stewards having resigned en masse, Mr. 
Arthur Forbes determined that at any rate a good sky meeting 
should be held, so he formed a committee of the following 
gentlemen: R. S..Lockhart, E. A. Mackintosh, C. Boileau, G. 
Nixon, Captain O'Mealy, H. E. Abbott and himself as Hono- 
rary ^Secretary. The racing was, of its class fair, Jimmy, 
Gwatkin and Harry brought what nags they had suitable for 
the programme, and the fields compared favorably with the 
more, pretentious meetings of late years. . Perrett was the 
only professional present, the other riders being Bertie Short, 
Apples, Bob Lockhart, Gilbert Nicolay and Sproggins Macken- 
zie ; Charley Webb was to have come, but had been tumbling 
about and broken his collar-bone just before the meeting. 
Rowland- was an absentee, his marriage to the fair Miss Bar- 
clay taking placet at Mozufferpore, while Sonepore was in 
progress. There is nothing worth chronicling as far as the racing 
is concerned, nobody won and nobody lost much, but the fol- 
lowing account of the friendly little gathering which appeared 
in the Indian Planters' Gazette will give an idea of how the 
fun of the fair was carried on by the Stewards of 1884: 

" Brave men struggling against adversity are popularly 
supposed to be fit spectacles for the gods. Such have been 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



Messrs. Abbott and Abercrombie in their endeavours to steer 
the Sonepore Meeting through the shoals and quicksands 
which have at length overwhelmed it as a first-class meeting. 
But we doubt very much if a single visitor to the meeting of 
1884 can be found to gainsay the general verdict that the 
change from a first-class to a sky meeting is infinitely for the 
better. As long as racing was conducted on honorable prin- 
ciples the sportsmen of Behar lent themselves heart and soul 
to carrying the meeting through, but the malpractices of Mr. 
Johnny Armstrong met with scant mercy at the hands of this 
community, and a frequent recurrence of that ubiquitous 
sportsman's performances has resulted at last in the manage- 
ment dispensing altogether with his attendance, and no 
one regrets his ostracism from the shady groves of Sone- 
pore. Hence the declension of the gathering to a sky 
meeting and the right man was in the right place, and his 
name Arthur Forbes. The result of his labors can be best 
appreciated by the frequently expressed consensus of opinion 
that the Behar Planters' Association should -exert its utmost 
influence with Government to render that sporting civilian a 
permanent institution in Chupra. This could easily be managed 
for him until his turn comes for the Judgeship at Chupra and 
Commissionership of Patna. When the climax of a Lieute- 
nant-Governorship falls vacant we shall of course have to bear 
the heart's wrench of parting ; but there is no earthly reason 
against even a Lieutenant-Governor piloting the Sonepore meet, 
and we can quite sympathise with the- joy with which a* 
Lieutenant-Governor would temporarily divest himself of the 
cares of state to gambol through a planters' gathering. An old 
aphorism teaches us to clutch the right man, when found. 

" A fortnight is short notice indeed in which to make 
arrangements for such a week's crowding of events as came 
off between the 3ist October and the 6th November, and the 
fact that not a hitch occurred throughout, speaks volumes for 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 165 

the energetic management ; but with such men and women on 
the Committee as Mrs. and Mr. Forbes, Mrs. and Mr. Hugh 
Llewhellyn, Mr. Gwatkin Williams, Mr. Bob Lockhart, Mr. 
Nixon, Mr. McLeod, Mr. E. A. Mackintosh, Mr. Boileau, 
the active Adjutant of the Behar Light Horse, and Mr. Harry 
Stuart, ubiquitous with the subscription book, success was a 
foregone conclusion. Quite the most socially pleasant people 
were got together, and the 5ist K.O.L.I. sent a show detach- 
ment of sportsmen who supported the meeting in a manner 
quite in accordance with the traditions of the Regiment, 
the 6th B. C. provided two guests in Colonel Upperton and 
Mr. Thompson, and Goruckpore was ably represented by 
Mr. King of Beoree Factory. 

" Proceedings commenced on the night of Thursday, the 
3Oth October, with well attended and signally well supported 
lotteries, and the next morning saw a concourse of fair 
women and brave men on the race course. Full details of 
the racing will be found below. The day was devoted to 
making calls, and a handicap for a lawn tennis tournament 
which has been played off daily throughout the week and 
ended in a well fought victory for Mr. Lee of the Civil 
Service in the single, and again Mr. Lee aided by Miss Ayers 
in the double match. Friday evening saw a polo match, 
Planters versus The World, which ended in a draw, each side 
scoring three, goals, and the same night the ball room was 
filled just sufficiently to admit of uncrowded dancing to the 
strains of the band kindly lent for the occasion by H.H. the 
Maharajah of Durbangah. Satiety in the mazy waltz is an 
impossibilty, and the -balls came off nightly with an .overture 
on Tuesday in the shape of that sparkling farce ' The Area 
Belle,' in which Mrs. Joll, assisted by that bright particular star 
of the Bengal Police, Mr. Fasson and Mr. Hederstedt from 
Bankipore, stage managed by that specialist Mr. Joll, brought 
down on themselves thunders of applause from an appre-, 



166 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

ciative audience. On Wednesday evening Ghupra played 
Tirhoot and Chumparun at polo and suffered defeat by one 
goal to none. 

" The fair has been well attended and admirably served by 
the Tirhoot State Railway, the staff of which had a busy time 
running several trains full of natives daily, and the heavy traffic 
should show an appreciable increase in the profits of the line. 
The horses and ponies brought for sale stood at fair prices. The 
amusements in the fair were of a varied character, and the 
usual tamashas of this gorgeous land were relieved of their 
usual monotony by the presence of an Indian Circus, and the 
Imperial Theatrical Company who gave the melodrama of ' Laili 
and Mujnoo ' ( in Hindustani) to a crowded audience, conspicu- 
ous among which was a dress circle composed of a party 
of brutal planters chaperoned by that versatile civilian Mr. 
Grimley. 

" Life unfortunately cannot be all champagne, dancing, 
racing and lawn tennis, and stern duty necessitated the 
disposal on Tuesday of the dry monopolists who had nightly 
or rather morningly made the rafters of the supper room ring 
with song and mirth, and regularly anticipated the proverbial 
chanticteer in proclaiming the break of day. But at Wednesday 
night's supper a grateful reference to the untiring labors of the 
Honorary Secretary and Mr. Llewhellin and of the fair ladies 
who double their joys and halve their sorrows,. was made in 
Messrs. McLeod and Williams' speeches, proposing their' 
healths. The thunders of applause from fifty stentorian- 
lungs showed how warmly those labors were appreciated and 
the "Jolly good fellows, " whose health was uproariously drunk 
and warmly responded to by one of them, Mr. Forbes, must 
have felt convinced then that they had quite stolen into the 
hearts of Behar men, amongst whom they live and have their 
being. They have fully revived the corpse of the Sonepore 
week and filled that necessary component of the joys of a 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 167 

planter's life with a health and strength which will give evi- 
dence of itself in November 1885." 



CHAPTER XXXI. 
YEAR 1885. 

In 1885 the Jaintpore stable had become a very big one. 
In addition to Mr. Gasper's strong string, consisting of Regula- 
tor, Paragraph, His Lordship, Slander, First Try, The Shrew and 
Avenger, it had Sting, Aimee, Triplets, Pollio, Noorong, Ned 
Kelly and Thunderstorm of Mr. Rugnath's ; and in July it 
was joined by Mr. Moore's lot, Rhesus, First Water, 
Prospect, Nulquine, Red Deer and May Queen, for Gwatkin 
had left Buhrowlie and gone to take charge of the Durbangah 
Raj estates in Purneah. Mr. Mullick, a sporting young Cal- 
cutta Bengali, had also with Harry Abbott, Sir Greville and 
two Kernaul bred colts, called Greased Lightning and Piece- 
goods. Very few of these though ran at Sonepore, as sky 
races were still in favor there, and Lucknow and Calcutta 
seemed better goods. The stable was heavily hit that year, 
Clarke went down to Australia to buy a couple of clinkers, 
and secured two very fine maidens, Conningsby and Gohanna, 
but he neglected to insure them. The steamer experienced 
bad weather in mid voyage, and both horses contracted lung 
disease and died ; the first-named cost five hundred guineas. 
In June died Gilbert Nicolay's good old nag, Red Gauntlet, who, 
since Arthur Butler first bought him in 1869 for Bob Hills, 
had been a steady source of income, both to his owners in the 
way of purses and the Sonepore stewards in entrance money ; 
he was shot as he had got very infirm and mangey. In July we, 
in Behar, heard with heartfelt sympathy of the death in Cal- 
cutta, of one who had been a dear friend to many of us, and 
whose horses, trained mostly at Lall Serryah, had often got 
their heads in front at S.onepore and Mozufferpore. The 



l68 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Planters' Gazette, noticing the sad occurrence, wrote as 
follows : 

" No more genuine and deep expression of profound re- 
gret was ever uttered by the whole community, than that 
which burst universally forth last Wednesday morning, when 
the sad news of Mr. George Thomas' sudden death was an- 
nounced in Calcutta. During the many years of his honor- 
ed . career ,as .a member of the popular firm of Messrs. J. 
Thomas & Co., it can safely be said that he never made an 
enemy. Strunch as steel ; by his friends and they were le- 
gion he was beloved as a brother, and even comparative 
strangers took at once to his courteous manners and gentle 
bearing. Nature's true gentleman, the kindest and gentlest 
heart that ever beat in human breast was his, a man who never 
did an unkind thing, ,or said an unkind word. Truth and 
honesty itself, he always saw the world on its brightest and best 
side, and could not be brought to believe that such a thing 
as downright badness existed. His place either in his firm, 
as a most popular member of the community, or as a leading 
sportsman , will be hard to fill, and his name will for years to 
come, be mentioned with respect and affection, in the office, and 
in the social circle, as well as in the clubs, and on the race 
courses of Ballygunge and Calcutta. To sportsmen he ever set 
a bright example of pluck and probity ; a good rider himself, 
probably over a country second to none, no horse ever owned 
by him but stepped out on the course with the intention of win- 
ning, and everyone knew they could back it with perfect confi- 
dence. Done to death by that scourge of Calcutta, cholera, while 
yet in the very zenith of life, for he was only 37 ; the news of his 
untimely end came like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, upon the 
startled residents of Calcutta, and shocked them beyond power 
of description. The seizure was a very sudden one, he had 
gone to office as usual, but about noon he complained of not 
feeling very well, and so returned home ; the actual attack 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 169 

came on in the evening. He was attended by Dr. O'Brien, 
and as the symptoms got worse, Dr. McConnell was called 
in, but in spite of these gentlemen's unremitting care, he 
gradually sank and died about six o'clock the next morning ; 
sincerely mourned, deeply regretted, and affectionately re- 
membered by relatives, friends, planters and sportsmen. 
Vale, George Thomas the good and true. The memory 
and the worth of George Thomas will long remain green in 
the treasured recollections of all who ever came within the 
influence of the loving charm of the man whose untimely 
death is sincerely mourned by the entire European community 
of Calcutta." 

In 1885 Arthur Forbes and the same stewards held office 
again at Sonepore, and the racing was a distinct improvement on 
the previous year's form. More horses, a better class of them, 
and more interest taken in a sport that had of late years 
been somewhat treated as a necessary evil. The results were 
of a rather mixed description, not altogether favorable to 
backers, as, for instance, in the Selling Stakes, for which Blue- 
bell was supported in a fashion almost reckless, considering 
that she was opposed by Seer, a very much improved horse. 
But the fallibility of human judgment was shown by the de- 
spised Badger, belonging to young Dick Llewhellin, making 
his own running and winning cleverly, while Messrs. Apperley, 
and Short, on Bluebell and Seer, were waiting for him to 
come back to them. The bustle consequent on young Lochin- 
var's improper behaviour towards his young woman, was 
nothing compared to those two sportsmen's hurrying up in 
the last hundred yards, and the Principality of Wales must 
have chortled over the news of Dick Llewhellin's coup. Red 
Deer in the Trial Stakes was good goods, though the Jaint- 
pore stable manfully stood the ancient Triplets. There was 
some indecision in the Red Deer camp, as to whether their 
second string Vice Versa so named from haying turned her 



170 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

former owner, Tim Lockhart, upside down was not good 
enough to take the cake, but the absurdity of the idea of a 
countrybred, however good, beating a waler, was again de- 
monstrated, for although he finished in front of Triplets and 
Torchlight (who were eased when pursuit of Red Deer was 
hopeless), he never at any period of the race flattered his 
backers. In the maiden 13-2 pony race that smart 12-3 pony 
Jessamine by far the best piece of goods in Messrs. Fitch 
and Go's celebrated emporium showed up the mediocrity 
of the 13-2 ponies opposed to her, by beating them hand- 
somely. Pulled out again half an hour later in the 13 hand 
pony race, she was equally successful in disposing of the 
much-fancied but now broken down Fleur-de-lys. The result 
of the maiden countrybred race was a perfect illustration of 
the difference between public and private form. Greased 
Lightning had invariably in trials shown his heels to his 
Jaintpore stable-companion Thunderstorm, and Harry Abbott 
consequently planked it down manfully on the former, but the 
wrong one outstayed the slippery one, and the Jaintpore 
dollars went into the coffers of Jimmy and Baby Canning. 
Bob Lockhart's stable, however, produced the favorite in 
Behar, a very blood looking bay, full of quality and very 
English, but not gifted unfortunately with the faculty of 
going. The second day was better than the first ; an easy 
win of Colleen Bawn's commenced the proceedings, and 
it was quite in the order of things that the timehonored 
Behar Stakes should fall to Jimmy's stable. Favorites did 
not, however, have all the best of it, and the plungers 
determined to recoup themselves in the countrybred race, for 
which Vice Versa was thought to be the best of good things. 
And very happy the said plungers were, until the nags were 
within three lengths of the winning post, when it was seen that 
the favorite, who had been running level with the despised 
Thunderstorm, could not get his head in front of him, and after 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. iyi 

a game struggle, Harry's nag caught the judge's eye first by a 
very short head. General Parrott's Thunder colts had not 
turned out the success which his other sires' foals had, but 
Thunderstorm proved the exception. A fine big-boned, up- 
standing three-year-old colt of undeniable good looks and 
quality, of perfect temper and with perfect manners, he proved 
a credit to his breeder. It is seldom that a countrybred of that 
age will stand the determined riding Thunderstorm got in 
Bertie Short's hands from the three furlong post home, and 
make a brilliant effort in reply to the whip at the end of it. In 
the Selling Stakes those two ancient opponents, Mercedes and 
Bluebell, met for the fiftieth time, and though the former made 
a bold bid in front of the stand, she could not quite catch Blue- 
bell, who won cleverly by half a length. Mercedes was far 
from disgraced. It was just asking the good old mare to do a 
little too much to concede ylbs. The 13-2 pony race was an 
interlude which gave everybody time to go away and refresh, 
while the race was being run, as there was not much to be got 
out of looking on at Billet Doux doing an exercise canter. 
Some interest was, however, taken in the i3-hand pony race, 
in which the brilliant Jessamine met that persistent winner 
Little Dan. The Lall Serryah stable determined to leave no 
stone unturned to ensure success, and sent out a smart pony 
in Rogue to make running. They were rewarded for their 
trouble after a pretty race, but it seemed as if Chapman's call 
on Jessamine was just a little late. 

The third day was devoted to those necessary evils, 
handicaps. In that for all horses, one mile, the only real 
malcontent was that brilliant miler, Red Deer, and his owner's 
representative refused to accept of the heavy impost, I2st. ; 
more in mercy to his horse's legs, than from any idea that he 
had been harshly treated. Anyhow, welter weights being the 
order of the day, the handicappers could hardly have put less 
on him after the way in which he won on the first day. 



1 72 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

The other non-acceptors were merely hacks whom it was 
impossible to bring together with the four who elected to 
start, and the best criterion of the excellence of the handicap, 
was the timidity with which these latter were backed, no 
owner standing more than half his horse in the lotteries. On 
public form, however, Seer was more than a stone behind 
Torchlight. Bluebell's ability to get a mile was confessedly 
a thing of the past, and Triplet's wretched performance on 
the first day certainly did not justify her sanguine owner in 
entrusting her with much money. So the talent went for 
Torchlight. But Triplets, with Apples up, ran a very different 
mare to what she did the first day, and at the distance, when 
the favorite apparently had the race in hand, Harry Abbott's 
old plater sailed past her seemingly without an effort. This 
was the commencement of a series of upsets, for in a half mile 
scurry for all horses that had never won, Druid, a hot favorite, 
went off from a false start, and was ridden for half the distance 
under the impression that the flag had fallen an impression, 
moreover, justifiable by Bertha being raced against him. This ; 
of course, destroyed his chance, but even then no one dreamt 
that the winner would turn up in another of Harry's stable, 
the despised countrybred Greased Lightning despised in fact 
to such an extent that not a single ticket bearing his name was 
found in the pari mutuel box, whereby the fund benefitted 
considerably. The time, 52secs., was pretty tall going for a 
countrybred. Dream was considered by her owner to have an 
excellent chance for this race, but whatever it was worth was 
destroyed by Greased Lightning crossing her soon after the 
start and knocking her off her legs, and it spoke well for Bob 
Lockhart's good nature that no objection was laid, as evidence 
was ample to prove the cross. This was followed by a scurry 
in quarter mile heats for all ponies, and backers were soon 
put out of their agony, for Ruby's easy win in the first, 
augured a similar result in the second heat. Speculation on 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 173 

the Buggy Stakes was very spirited, Badger being supported 
freely on the strength of his having beaten Seer and Bluebell 
on the first day, while the Jaintpore stable manfully stood 
their master's charger, Jerusalem. The winner, however, turn- 
ed up in Mr. John's hurdle racer Rona, who was of a slightly 
better class than her opponents, a fact which had entirely been 
overlooked by everyone but Jimmy. An objection was lodged 
against her starting in this race, " for all maiden horses," on 
the ground that she had won over hurdles, but was, of course, 
overruled by the Stewards. There is no doubt that the inten- 
tion of the framers was to exclude winners of every descrip- 
tion, but anyhow Rona was rightly held eligible. The talent 
girded up its loins for the next and last encounter of the 
meeting, a very dangerous one, seeing it was for all ponies 
bought in the fair. To pick the winner from ten raw country- 
bred ponies, all pretty much together, and not one standing 
out pre-eminently from the others, is indeed a tempting of for- 
tune ; but a race of this kind has peculiar fascinations, and 
there was more betting on it than on any of the other races. 
In the uncertainty lay the fascination. Perrett's Maggie, 
named after one of that youthful trainer's fiancees, and Jimmy's 
Fairy, were the great tips, but they had to be content with 
third and second places respectively, though the latter was not 
placed, as Ryder failed to draw the weight. A very smart 
little 12-2 mare Jenny Lind, who, after many false starts, with 
the crack light-weight Richmond up, got first away, and in- 
creasing her lead from the distance, won with great ease. 

That good countrybred Jessamine was disposed of by 
Mr. Chapman for Rs. 1,000 to little Richmond, who resold her 
for Rs. 1,300 two days later, and she joined Billet Doux in 
Mr. Luttman-Johnson's stable. The pair shortly after the 
meet started for that ultima thule of ponies Assam. 

The victory of Thunderstorm over the other local maiden 
countrybreds, and afterwards over the plater, Vice Versa, 



174 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

followed up by Greased Lightning beating the waler in the 
half mile Scurry, time 52secs., was another good advertise- 
ment for General Parrott's youngsters. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 
YEAR 1886. 

In 1886 prospects for Sonepore looked poorer than ever, 
for Jimmy had not added anything of great reputation to his 
lot, and the Jaintpore stable, which had been joined by the 
horses of H.H. the Maharajah of Cooch Behar, though more 
powerful than ever, had only one or two bad enough for a sky 
meeting ; moreover, it got abroad early in the year that Mr. 
Forbes was certain for promotion, but his successor at Chupra 
was not known. At last a Mr. Clay was appointed, and the 
district opinion was, that he would prove of little use, for 
being on the eve of retiring from the service, he did not want 
to spend a penny on entertaining. When at first approached 
and asked to do the proper thing in giving a camp and taking 
up Arthur's dropped mantle as Secretary of Sonepore, 
he point blank refused; then the district doggerel bards 
began to sling ink in the I.P.G., of which the following are 
specimens: 

NOT THE MAN FOR CHUPRA. 

(Air " The Man for Galway") 
I. 

Who thinks Sonepore 

An awful bore 
Dislikes the Fair's gol gopra 

Who'll nothing know 

Of indigo 
He's not the Man for Chupra. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 175 

II. 
Who little cares 

For drill, nor wears 
Behar Light Horseman's kapra 

Of sticking pig 

Recks not a fig 
He's not the Man for Chupra. 
III. 

Who shuns the sweets 

Of social meets ; 
The dances and the supp'r ah ! 

Who thinks small beer 

Of Hutwa's cheer 
He's not the Man for Chupra ! 

IV. 
We can but sigh 

For days gone by, 
When Forbes' hand was upprer 

Oh ! Mister Clay 

I grieve to say 
You're not the Man for Chupra! 

AN APPEAL TO CHUPRA. 
If you can't make a brick out of clay 
Bestir yourselves, Charley and Rob, 
Or there'll soon be the devil to pay 
If our Goodwood is not on the job. 
There's Judex and Robertson Pughe, 
Will give you the best aid they can ; 
Motiharee and Dinapore too, 
Will all back you up to a man. 
( Andsome 'Any and Jimmy the bold, 
Will supply you with racers galore ; 
So don't let your meeting be sold, 
If clay is not good at Sonepore. 



176 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOEE. 

It is only fair to say that the skits against Mr. Clay un- 
earthed from a correspondent of the I.P.G^ the following 
story which shows that the hero of it had plenty of pluck. 
His apologist wrote : 

" Anent the verses on ' The Man for Chupra,' let us look 
on the scenes which happened when several of us were still at 
school. 

" Scene I. A paddy field in Chota Nagpore, around 
which are gathered three sportsmen from the neighbouring 
station awaiting the turning out of a leopard or tiger (beast 
uncertain), which the villagers have reported to have taken 
refuge therein. The beaters refusing to beat him out, assigning 
private reasons, one of the sportsmen enters the paddy and 
looks up the brute. He is promptly charged by a full grown 
tiger, fires without stopping him, and the next moment is hurled 
to the ground with his left shoulder well inside the brute's 
mouth. A small dog ' yaps ' at the animal and draws him off, 
when the wounded man with the assistance of his two compan- 
ions finishes him off. Several weeks of an unhealing wound, 
burrowing deep and breaking out afresh, for the four holes 
left by a tiger's teeth do not heal up in a hurry, mind you. 
A trip to sea and a game shoulder left vivid recollections in 
the mind of ( the Man for Chupra' of his first adventure with a 
tiger on foot. 

" Scene II. Yet another tiger, a year or so later, reported 
in the vicinity of a village. Three sportsmen go for him on 
foot, no elephants available. He charges out of his lair, 
knocks one of them down and stands on him. ' The Man for 
Chupra ' stands his ground and fires at the brute on his 
comrade's body, thereby drawing his wrath on himself, and 
is promptly charged and again hurled to the ground with 
a nasty bite in his hand, which, however, was partially saved 
by his rifle butt, which the tiger chewed. This brute was 
likewise killed, and 'The Man for Chupra' is, I suppose, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 177 

the one man in India who has been on two separate occasions 
knocked over by tigers and lived to fight again. 

"INSAF." 

But we did not want a tiger slayer. We wanted an open- 
handed, genial sportsman to boss our show, and nothing was 
actually done till September, when Mr. Clay, at last seeing 
the error of his ways, consented to be a cypher Secretary. 

The programme was like those of its two predecessors, 
purely " Sky." Bad floods in October made the course during 
that month in an awful state, and it was feared the camping 
ground would be dangerously damp ; but the meeting com- 
menced fairly. The course, which a month previously had 
been completely under water, was in really splendid order, 
chiefly owing to the exertions of that most indefatigable of 
policemen, Mr. Robertson Pughe. He was aided in a great 
measure by the judicious advice and undoubted prestige of 
Mr. R. S. Lockhart, a close connection of the sportsman of 
the same name so well known in those days at Raneegunge 
as " the well preserved old gentleman." Mr. Clay merely lent 
his name for the executive to conjure with, but it was not 
found of much use, as Harry, Bob and " Toast " Macintosh had 
to do all the work. 

The delay in issuing the prospectus no doubt militated 
against the success of the racing, which happened to be fixed 
at a time when up-country and Calcutta horses were idle. 
A crowd of them would have come from Lucknow had 
earlier intimation been given and racing weights been in 
vogue. The only thing that did arrive from the capital of 
Oudh was Mr. F. G. Johnson, who said he had come to ride for 
Mr. Abbott. He did not, however, take much by his journey, 
occupying on the first two days that back seat so dear to the 
humble minded. 

Raneegunge was represented by the genial Mr. Roy 
Campbell, who turned up with his beloved totalisator, without 



178 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

which he would have been even as a tinkling cymbal, for 
when he wasn't working it, he was playing on the pianoforte. 
He was attended by his trusty Lieutenant, Mr. Fiddes Rowe, 
just returned from the Burma Campaign. 

Fields were larger than at the meeting of 1885, owing to 
the presence of a few more horses from the Jaintpore stable 
than had attended for two years ; the Lall Serryah stable was, 
of course, a host in itself, and these two contributed most of 
the entries. 

There were three starters only for the first race for all 
maidens of the day, and Victor, an English colt, imported by 
Gwatkin and sold to Mr. George Sherman, was installed 
favorite, on the strength apparently of having been three 
times defeated at Lucknow. The race was run just to suit his 
supposed turn of speed, which, however, turned out to be a 
myth, for he was never in the hunt with a couple of hacks, 
and the winner turned up in Robin from the Lall Serryah 
stable, who just managed to get home a head in front of 
Sweet Home, an Irish mare of Rowland's, who would, however, 
have won in another six strides. 

A stupid pony race followed, in which Edith sternchased 
Rowland for half a mile ; then old Bluebell appeared as usual 
in a selling race and simply romped home in front of Jack in 
the Green, Dream, Badger and Song, the latter, however, pul- 
ling up lame after going a hundred yards. A thirteen-hand 
maiden pony race wound up the morning's proceedings, and 
fell to the Chupra stable, as these races generally did in those 
days, for good old Bob always had a dark pony or two. 

A change came over the spirit of the lotteries on the 
second day's racing, merely because there happened to be a 
race which was not considered a certainty for one horse. The 
result was that men fought for dice boxes and clamoured for 
more lotteries, which proved that if Sonepore could only hold 
out any inducement to outside stables, their owners could at 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 179 

any rate back their horses if so inclined. Six started for the 
All-Horse Race, and public opinion was undecided as to 
whether Keswick, Caractacus or Goonambie was the plum, so 
four lotteries quickly filled up, at the end of which opinion was 
still as undecided as ever. However, we knew all about it in 
the morning, how Caractacus, a screw and short of work, tired 
after leading his field a brilliant dance for half a mile, how the 
weight, lost, i ilbs., told its tale on the long barrelled Keswick, 
(at least Johnny said so,) and how the cart horse Goonambie 
wore the field down and won easily at the end. The next 
three races were uninteresting ; Rowland cantered in, in front 
of a polo pony, on Breach of Promise. Vice Versa did the 
same with Chloe, and Rogue followed suit in a thirteen-hand 
pony race, in which his owner had declared him to win 
from his stable-companion, Little Dan. But the Buggy Stakes 
resuscitated interest, Jerusalem, Ned Kelly and Ringleader 
were the trio, each of them was fancied, Jerusalem most; 
backed by his owner, he ran last, and Ringleader won easily, 
and then everyone remembered how he once ran a good 
second at a Mozufferpore Meeting and cursed themselves for 
not having remembered it before. 

The third day's racing was not of an interesting charac- 
ter ; after the half mile scurry had been decided and which 
Keswick won very easily, and opinion was divided as to 
whether he ought not to have beaten Goonambie in the mile race 
the first day. 

In the 13-2 pony race, Little Hercules was in receipt of 2ilbs., 
and had no difficulty in disposing of Rowland. He did not run 
off the course on this occasion. Rogue placed the thirteen-hand 
pony race to Jimmy's credit, and the meeting wound up with a 
race for all ponies purchased in the fair a very open affair, 
more open in fact than yearling races used to be at home, for 
all these animals were of course untrained, though most of them 
had been spun against some reliable trying tackle, or against 



180 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORg. 

the watch the day before, when being bought. The winner 
turned up in Rowland's nomination, a very good-looking 
pony indeed, purchased for him by Jimmy at the commence- 
ment of the fair ; a fourteen-hand investment of Frank John- 
son's, running second. 

Then men began to talk of next Sonepore Meeting, and 
various suggestions were made, which culminated in Harry 
Abbott putting up a notice to the effect, that With a view to 
induce owners of horses to attend, it was proposed to offer a 
very liberal prospectus for the following year including a purse 
of Rs. 3,000 for all ponies. The following gentlemen kindly 
consented to form a committee of management : Messrs. F. 
M. Halliday, J. Boxwell, E. A. Mackintosh, W. Macgregor, 
J. Harrison, D. B. Allen, R. Lockhart with H. E. Abbott as 
Honorary Secretary, and a first-class prospectus to suit all 
conditions of horses was to be issued within the next month. 

This notice was discussed by a select committee at the 
second supper on the last ball night, when Mr. D. B. Allen 
was called upon to make some suggestions for the ameliora- 
tion of the meeting. He pointed out that the visitors to 
Sonepore might be divided into two classes, the racing division 
and those who came to pic-nic, play tennis and look for wives. 
The latter class, however, in not according sufficient support 
to the former by attending lotteries and taking tickets, he said, 
overlooked the fact that without races there would be no 
Sonepore at all, and that as racing is impossible without lot- 
teries, they were to blame for withholding that support. But 
On the other hand, each party had its duties towards the other, 
and so the racing men must not expect the pic-nickers to fill 
up lotteries without being prepared to allow them to back 
their fancies, instead of glaring at them with venomed looks 
when they bid up horses (they should be satisfied with claim- 
ing half their horses), and so give the pic-nickers a chance of 
sharing in the profits of winning horses. Now this was 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. l8i 

common sense, a quality which has always characterised all 
Mr. D. B. Allen's utterances, and if owners could only be 
induced to act up to it, they would have no cause to complain 
that it is impossible to back their horses. Owners must be 
content with small profits at small meetings. Mr. D. B. Allen's 
speech ought to have been inscribed in letters of gold and hung 
up for guidance of all attending lotteries. This meeting was 
responsible for the future of four very popular members of the 
district, for Miss Ayres elected to be guided in double harness 
by Mr. Sproggins Mackenzie and Miss Richardson carried 
by storm the heart of the Adonis of the district, once the best 
looking Etonian of his year, Mr. Edward Hall of the Mozuffer- 
pore Bar. These engagements were whispered about towards 
the end of the meeting, and the marriages came off during 
the ensuring year at Chupra and Mozufferpore. Since then 
Mr. and Mrs. Hall have done much for Mozufferpore, for 
years Mrs. Hall has managed the ball suppers economically 
and well, and this is nowadays no light task; while the new 
ball-room and other improvements are mainly due to the 
interest taken in the Station Club by Mr. Hall and his energy 
in obtaining subscriptions. More power to your elbow, Sam- 
my. Just as it was with her large-hearted mother, so is it 
with Mrs. Hall ; she works unselfishly and indefatigably for 
the public weal, but her real worth will only be honestly 
acknowledged when she has left the district, and then when 
it will be impossible to find an equally devoted slave to others, 
she will be accorded that recognition which ought in common 
gratitude to have been yearly offered her while with us. 

Cholera made its appearance in the European Camp during 
the meet and carried off three or four servants and one of the 
Durbangah Band. The matter was kept very quiet, so that 
only a few were any the wiser, and certainly no one was any the 
worse, except, of course, those unfortunates chiefly concerned. 
Luckily the scourge did not spread to the native part of the fair. 



182 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

A cricket match, which " had been much talked about, 
did not come off after all. Everything was ready, Public 
Schools versus The World, and a really good pitch made. 
But when some one prompted by an insane curiosity asked 
where the cricketing gear was, the only reply he got was, 
Where ? Then ensued a lot of hurrying and scurrying and 
after much telegraphing the gear turned up at 2 P.M., and 
then, of course, it was too late to commence. So the one cricket 
match in the year, which was then customary to be played in 
Behar, did not come off. 

Music was plentiful and very good it was. Frank John- 
son's lovely voice, then at its best, was a treat to listen to. 
The good-looking hard-riding scamp of an ex-Hussar is now 
stumping America with a sort of Moody and Sankey show, 
his sweet tenor voice, still unimpaired, drawing crowds. Fancy 
Johnny singing Psalms and Hymns. The Durbangah Band 
had been steadily improving under its grand old leader, 
Mr. Armour. Lobo's String Band did duty at the dances and 
very perfectly they played. 

Polo was plentiful, but only one match was played 
Mr. McLeod's Camp versus The World. Mr. McLeod's 
Camp consisted of Mr. Rowland Hudson, Mr. Apperley, 
Mr. M. H. Mackenzie and Dr. Roderick McLeod, while The 
World composed Mr. H. Collingridge, Mr. G. Collingridge, 
Mr. J. Hodding and Mr. Fenton. The game was won by the 
Camp by three goals to one. Jimmy McLeod's absence from 
the field being fully accounted for by his arm in a sling 
arrangement. 

No necessity to chronicle the fact that tennis was in full 
swing throughout the meeting. But one big match was made 
in blind confidence in the superiority of Messrs. Jenkyns, 
C.S., and Jack Lowis of Motihari, over Messrs. Pereira of 
Chumparun and Fenton of Chupra. Six to four on the for- 
mer was the opening price offered by the civilian book- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



makers, but that was soon swallowed up, and their Camp was 
soon beseiged by crowds of planters who wanted to get on 
at any price, and wound up by offers to lay odds on Pereira 
and Fenton, but these offers were unheeded. The match was 
very soon over, as was only natural, when Mr. Pereira, one of 
the best back court players in India with a lightening service, 
and Fenton, as smart up at the net as they make them, met 
two very average opponents. First set, six to one ; second 
set, six to two, and the tale is told. 

It was a mystery at that Sonepore what used to become 
during the middle of the day of one of the principal officers of 
the Thibet Mission, the great Mr. Paul, who had visited the fair, 
nominally to meet his old Behar friends, till, by chance, some 
of us, from curiosity, entered one of the many booths on the 
wayside, in which the gentle Jews turn an honest penny and 
there he was, he the debonair bachelor, the beloved of Darjeel- 
ing maidens, doing a roaring trade, disposing by auction of 
surplus tooth brushes and sponges, thrown on Government by 
the failure of that ill-fated misson. We left him just as he had 
stuck an unwashed Rajah with 13 dozen of the former useful 
articles at six pie each, and with a smile illuminating his speak- 
ing countenance for he had received a wire announcing he had 
got the district his soul yearned for, Darjeeling; but a tear 
stood in his eye for a careless chuprassie had let down the 
parcel containing the last lot of gum scrapers bang on his 
gouty toe. Let us draw a veil over the rest of the scene. St. 
Paul's Jorbation to the Corinthians was nothing to what that 
chuprassie received. Among other visitors to the meeting 
was Colonel Macnaghten, a brother of Edmond's, who was on 
the look out for remounts for his regiment. As ill luck would 
have it his men, without asking anyone in authority where to 
put his tent, selected a vacant spot between two small hill 
tents, in one of which was located Frank Johnson, and in the 
other the. irrepressible Bertie Short. On the morning after 



184 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

the second night's lotteries, the Colonel wrote Harry Abbott a 
note saying he wished to see him particularly. On arriving, 
Harry asked the old gentleman what he could do for him. " I 
must have my tent moved," was the answer. " I have put up 
for two days and nights uncomplainingly with the frightful 
language used by the two awful men whose tents are on 
either side of mine, but after what occurred last night I must 
remove to some safer spot. About an hour after you had closed 
the lottery rooms I heard the most frightful shrieks and cries of 
murder from Mr. Framji's dining tent, and on rushing over 
there, I saw those two terrible men dressed only in their night 
clothes, but each with a huge carving knife in his hand, chasing 
poor Mr. Framji round and round the dining table, and they 
were within an inch of catching him, when on seeing me he 
fell at my feet, and claimed protection. ' Gentlemen, gentle- 
men, I said,' 'what has this inoffensive man done to be thus 
treated ?' What they said, Mr. Abbott, I refrain from repeat- 
ing ; but I gathered from them, that they had been refused 
supper, and in default of that they intended to devil and eat 
the poor Parsee. I asked Mr. Framji why he had refused to 
provide them with supper. He replied, that by your orders, 
he closed his bar punctually at one o'clock, and, moreover, it 
was not easy to get his accounts settled with these gentlemen. 
'Base is the slave that pays' shouted out Mr. Short, ' just 

you tell him old 'I again spare your ears, Mr. 

Abbott, ' that we'll wreck his whole show if we don't get 
some ham fried in champagne for supper.' Fearing they 
might proceed to carry out their threat, I told Mr. Framji, if 
he would supply their wants I'd speak to you, report their 
conduct, and see him protected from further violence. I then 
left, though they were most pressing in their wishes that I 
should join them. I had scarcely gone to sleep when I heard 
them returning more boisterous than ever, and I feared they 
might take it into their heads to play tricks on my tent, but to 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 185 

my intense satisfaction, I heard them grope their way to their 
own tents, yet not to go to sleep. No ! they kept on remind- 
ing one another with yells and shrieks of laughter of the 
different smart tricks they had played the public at diverse 
race meetings in their career, interlarding their astonishing 
reminiscences with the most fearful language ; and only an 
hour ago did they cease talking." Harry soothed the old 
gentleman and had his tent put out of danger, but his lecture 
to the delinquents had not the smallest effect on the pair of 
mad-caps. There is another story of poor Bertie's love for 
practical joking which convulsed the district with laughter 
that year, and which is too good not to be chronicled. Bertie 
was veritably a bete noir to Mr. Rigby, Manager of the Tirhoot 
State Railway, for he would sometimes travel on the top of 
the train, sometimes on the engine, sometimes under the seat, 
and all for sheer devilry, and was always playing some new 
prank or other ; he was adored by the European guards and 
drivers, but dreaded with holy horror by the Bengali Station 
Masters who looked on him as a "pucca shaitan. " 

This is his own account of the story I allude to, written 
to Harry Abbott during the latter's absence at Meerut, and 
published by him in the I.P.G : 

DEAR MASTER, If " Sporting Notes " are a bit meagre 
this week it is owing to my time having been taken up in 
preparing my defence. The boss of the Tirhoot State Railway 
is running me in for having attempted to revive that closer 
rapprochement between the English and natives, which used 
to exist in the ante-Mutiny days and the absence of which 
is so universally regretted by all writers on the subject of 
social reform. The Station Master at Motipore is my medium 
for the receipt of Macgavin's Whisky (for my own consump- 
tion) andNeurasthenipponskelesterizo (for thejaintpore stable). 
He most unaccountably took umbrage at my mode of address- 
ing him, and forwarded my communication to that toffiest 



186 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

of Traffic Superintendents, Mr. Newcomen, with the dire threat 
that all traffic would be suspended unless I was chucked. The 
following are the appendices to the Station Master's report : 

Exhibit A. 
Mighty Baboon. 

Please send my case of whisky. 

Exhibit B. 
Son of a Cow Buffalo. 

Please send me my case of whisky. 

Exhibit C. 
Mystic offspring of a post-pliocene protoplasm, 

Please forward me my case of whisky. 

Exhibit D. 
Obtusest of parallelogrammatic Aryans, 

Please forward that van load of Neurasthenippo- 
skelesterizo. 

Farewell my Baboo of the rotund seat. 
The toffy one, like Venus with her " spretce injuria formae," 
fired up at my supposed reflection on the good looks of the 
T.S.R. Staff, and has worried the bosses into threatening 
to " rub it in " under some section of a pestilent work entitled 
"the Penal Code," the " it" being, I presume, the ullaged 
oil used to light the stations. But I have been misunderstood 
as if I had Gibbonsed orTrailled the Station Master. " Baboon" 
is the English for Hanooman, that great Hindoo god. Now 
you never feel insulted when I call you a little god, and Newky 
showed no signs of displeasure when Miss but there I must 
draw a veil over that scene. For addressing the Aryan as 
" son of a cow buffalo," I have the authority of " AH Baba," 
who said that the Lama told him that a virtuous cow hippopota- 
mus by metempsychosis might, under unfavourable circum- 
stances, become an undergraduate of the Calcutta University, 
and that, when patent leather shoes and English supervened, 
the thing was a Baboo. Besides, the cow is an object of yen era- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 187 

tion amongst Baboos. As regards Exhibit C. I am quite of 
Professor Darwin's opinion. Exhibit D is a term of endear- 
ment. So you will see that I'm a martyr to the T.S.R. 
Inquisition. However, I'm going to run the Gasper in my 
interests, and all he asks is drinks, because addressing a jury 
is provocative of thirst. He won't touch Macgavin. These 
barristers of superior calibre never look at anything but 
Ayala. This necessitates a sale of property, and as Messrs. 
Balmer, Lawrie & Co. won't give tick for advertisements, I 
hereby give notice that I've got a set of English harness in 
perfect order, a Boyce and Rogers' ylb. steeplechase saddle, 
and half a bottle of Gout Pills for sale Rs. 100 the lot. I 
shan't have any use for the two former in Alipore unless they 
let me out for the Calcutta Grand Annual, and the jail diet 
don't run to gout. BERTIE THE WRITTED. 

On the day the case was fixed the Mozufferpore Police 
Court was crowded with Europeans to see the fun, and 
Bengali Baboos mustered in hundreds. The Railway employed, 
a pleader to prosecute, Bertie defended himself, making use 
chiefly of the absurd arguments quoted in his letter to Harry. 
Poor Tute, the Magistrate, who, like all Irishmen, had a keen 
sense of the ludicrous, was obliged to keep his eyes on the 
desk to refrain from exploding with laughter ; as for the Euro- 
peans in court, it was useless trying to restrain their cachina- 
tions. At last Tute said, " There, that will do Mr. Short, your 
intention to annoy and insult is too evident ; you are fined ten 
rupees." But now came the best part of the story, fiddling 
about in his pockets Bertie said, " I'm very sorry Sir, but I've 
left my purse on the piano at home, would you very kindly 
lend me the amount." With a sickly smile Tute turned to 
his Sheristadar, and told him to give Mr. Short ten rupees, 
which sum Bertie graciously handed to the clerk, stepped 
jauntily out of the box, and as he expressed himself, 
left the court without a stain upon his character ; but Tute 



i88 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

whistled for that money, and got frightfully chaffed into the 
bargain. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

YEAR 1887. 

If the appointing of a civilian like Mr. Clay to a sporting 
centre, casts a damper on all social gatherings, the reverse is 
the case when a good fellow is gazetted, and it was a relief to 
all supporters of Sonepore when in 1887 we knew Mr. Jim 
Bourdillon was to be Collector of Chupra and Hamilton Gor- 
don, Judge, for both were certain to back up the meeting 
warmly. On the I5th August, at Harry Abbott's request the 
Stewards held a meeting at Mr. Bourdillon's house, Chupra, at 
which the majority of the European residents and stewards were 
present. Harry read to the meeting a vast amount of corres- 
pondence, including letters from Lord William Beresford and 
other sportsmen, promising cordial support to the meeting as far 
as horses went, and also letters from Calcutta merchants giving 
royal assistance in the way of prizes. The funds being shown 
to be in a satisfactory state, it was resolved to increase the 
value of several of the purses, and as the correspondence hand- 
ed in showed that many owners of stables grumbled at the 
short notice given, the original dates fixed for first entries 
were postponed till I5th September. The dates selected for 
the races ran the fixture so close on to Lucknow as to leave 
insufficient time for horses to reach Sonepore after running at 
the Oudh capital, the Stewards, therefore, sanctioned the 
meeting being postponed to Friday 4th, Monday 7th and 
Wednesday gth, November. Later postponement was im- 
possible, for the native fair began breaking up about the 5th, 
and as many of the local residents go to Sonepore quite as 
much on business as for pleasure, the receipts would be affect- 
ed detrimentally if the fair and the races were not fixed 
simultaneously, The postponement had besides the advantage 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOKE. 189 

accorded to racing men, a considerable accession of comfort 
to European visitors, for the fair would be cleared of a very 
considerable proportion of the once-a-year-washed but still 
unsavoury native devotee. Moreover, dealers in that sort of 
pony and screw, which none but an Aryan would purchase, 
would have taken their ewe-necked, cow-hocked, donkey- 
hoofed, sore backed abominations away. So that far less time 
would be lost by those needing serviceable hacks in searching 
out their requirements. Mr. Robertson Pughe agreed to take 
up the duties of clerk of the course, Mr. Gordon volunteered 
to judge, while the starter's flag was voted to Captain Adam- 
son. Mr. George Llewhellin was asked to take charge of the 
scales, a task which he had for so many years successfully 
carried through at Sonepore. The Civilians' and Planters' 
Cup was changed into the Merchants' Cup with an increase of 
Rs. 500 to its value and somewhat modified terms. The 
bonnes bouches for horses and ponies were shown to be excep- 
tionally handsome for a Mofussil meeting. Over Rs. 7,000 
was guaranteed for the three days' racing. The entries pro- 
mised well, and a jubilee race, value Rs. 500, for all assistants' 
ponies, induced a crowd of aspirants to enter. 

The Jaintpore stable had received two heavy blows during 
the year, first, game little Sting's dropping dead in the Viceroy's 
Cup, and taking away much of the pleasure of the stable's win 
with Mr. Gasper's Mercury. It was, of course, a great feather 
that three of the Jaintpore horses finished, one of them, Mercury, 
first with Sting and Sir Greville dead heat for third place in 
the race of the year, but there is no doubt Clarke sacrificed 
Sting to Mercury. Time after time ere Harry Abbott reached 
Calcutta, Sting and Aimee were pulled out to ask Mercury the 
question, and the undue exertion naturally told heavily on the 
old champion. When passing the old stand, half a mile from 
home, Sting faltered and stumbled, and then he must have had 
the first seizure ; perhaps had he been pulled up then by his 



I go REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

jockey, Thompson, he would have lived to gallop again. Be- 
fore the race Harry had warned Mr. Gasper that the horse he 
had to fear was Sting, and when it is remembered that after 
his first seizure this game little son of Grandmaster and 
Queen Bee finished three lengths off the winner, level with Sir 
Greville, to whom he could always concede two stone easily, 
Harry's warning was not unwarranted. Like many good 
horses Sting would not bother himself in private trials, but 
with the colors up he was a lion, as his glorious death proved. 
This was a knock with a vengeance, but Jaintpore got it worse 
later on. Infatuated with Clarke after winning the Cup, Mr. 
Gasper sent him down to Australia, with Rs. 15,000 to bring 
up another Cup horse, as Mercury had been sold to Lord Bill 
after winning everything he started for, for Rs. 10,500, just the 
money he cost landed in India. His friends begged Gasper 
not to send cash down with Clarke, but to lodge the money in a 
bank and to make it payable only when the receipt for the 
horse's price was submitted by the seller, and the Agent was 
assured there was no hankey pankey. Alec Clarke was a 
good-hearted lad, and a very painstaking, experienced trainer, 
but it was putting a terrible temptation into the hands of a 
man of his position, to let him go on board a P. and O. boat 
with Rs. 15,000 of his employer's money and some Rs. 5,000 
odd of his own savings and presents. It was a case of women, 
cards and wine. First one of the stewardesses got hold of 
him and bled him fairly well. On landing he played the 
swagger millionaire, and had to pay through the nose, then, 
whilst looking for a horse, he fell amongst Teddy Weekes and 
kindred spirits of that calibre, and lost a big slice of the money 
entrusted to him at cards. Instead of then and there going 
to any of Harry Abbott's Melbourne friends and making a 
clean breast of it, or wiring to his employer, he went the 
whole hog to recoup his losses, of course with the inevitable 
result. He then finished up with boozing as long as any- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



one would stand him liquor, and eventually went to the 
gutter, so when Mr. Gasper returned from his trip to 
England, and went straight to Jaintpore to see his new 
horse, all he saw were extracts from Melbourne sporting 
papers hinting at what really had happened. So Sonepore 
in spite of the vaunts made at the supper table the previous 
meeting, did not promise big licks in the racing line, for 
Jimmy had no new plums and Gwatkin not a ghost of a gee. 
Mr. Gasper had made Harry a present of a very neat little 
Australian filly called Edith, which the latter had fallen in 
love with at Weekes' sale. She was small, but very breedy, 
.with perfect action, and she proved the soundness of his 
judgment by winning him a very big lump at Lucknow, 
where she beat the speedy Cuba, having sold in five lotteries 
each of a thousand rupees, at an average of Rs. 100, backed 
by Harry in all. So this mare with Major Prior's Nereus and 
Caulfield and Mr. Mullick's Sir Greville, Miss King and his 
countrybreds, all at Jaintpore, were about the only decent first 
class nags in the local stables. 

The much considered, long talked of, and from which so 
much was hoped, meeting came and went ; and in the re- 
trospect thereof the Stewards may be credited with having 
scored an undoubted success. Divided, to suit racing men, 
rather too long from the native fair, merely holiday folk and 
strangers lost much that was novel and much that was curious, 
but the sporting part of the community gained by the com- 
parative quiet obtained in consequence, and settling down 
to work made racing the order of the day throughout. 

The compact character of the English camp and its 
contiguity to the course and ball room rendered locomotion 
comparatively easy, for there was no absolute necessity of 
turn-turns or ticca garries, and the furthest camp was barely 
a quarter of a mile from the course. Mozufferpore, Chumparun 
the iyth N.I. ha^ each a camp. Hospitable little Chupra 



192 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

brought no less than three, and that local celebrity, Tom the 
barber. By the kindness of Captain Wedderburn, the band 
of the iyth played everywhere through the meeting, not 
only at the races and evening drive, in turn with H.H. 
the Maharajah of Durbangah's, but was sent to enliven the 
dinners of the various camps. The racing was good, and the 
lotteries filled well, notably those in the pony race on the 
third day, no less than six were filled for that fancied little 
scrimmage. Outside owners should have gone away contented, 
for local stables could by no means be accused of having snatch- 
ed all the plummy bits of the cake for themselves. On the 
first day Perrett's Victor claimed the Behar Stakes, Mr. 
Mullick's Piecegoods the Bettiah Cup, Lord W. Beresford's 
Little Nell the Merchants' Cup and Mr. Gregory's Rescue the 
Indian Planters' Gazette Purse. For the home department 
the Chumparun division topped the list handsomely, and Harry 
Abbott carried away the Durbangah Cup with his good little 
Edith, named after his daughter. 

Polo was rather a failure, owing to the ground being 
in bad order, but as the Stewards promised to make the inside 
of the course one huge bowling green for the next year, the 
only growl heard during the meet was soon smothered. 

The balls went off splendidly, the floor berng in excellent 
order and the attendance large, over 150 sitting down to supper, 
excellently well supplied on all three nights by Messrs. Fram- 
jee, who deserved a ticket of " Highly Commended" for their 
exertions. The same firm kept their usual capital refreshment 
tent in a snug corner of the paddock, just beyond the Grand 
Stand, a first rate situation where the campless were catered 
for, and all necessary comforts provided. 

To while away the mornings of the off days, and seduce 
the weary from their afternoon siesta, those inevitable camp 
followers itinerant merchants called as usual at the tents, and 
displayed the gorgeous fabrics of Indian looms, brass 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPQ.RE.. 193 

from "Benares and Lucknow, inlaid ware from Agra, and jewel- 
lery frpm Delhi. Besides these, vendors of furs, wicker work 
chairs and tables, canaries and fruit, all were there. Wonder- 
ful Indian jugglers with improvised entertainments, and cobras 
and mongooses, and a clever company of performing birds, 
who ^threaded beads, told numbers, played cards, loaded and 1 
fired real cannons, and flew at word of command to any ; 
member of the audience pointed out> and offered a pouncet 
box of sweet scent for a smell. Mr. Worby, the Mozufferpore 
tailor, opened a branch establishment for receiving orders, and 
fixing up the members of the Behar Light Horse creditably as 
lady killers at the balls ; and Mr. Aldham from Fry and Rahn's 
was there to take all their pictures. The one accident of the 
meeting occurred to Sergeant Haslem who, while riding a horse 
of Mr. Drake's, was thrown by the animal putting his foot in 
a hole and coming down heavily. Sergeant Haslem unfor- 
tunately broke his collar-bone, which was set shortly afterwards 
by Dr. Mulvaney. 

It was most most regrettable that Mr. Gwatkin Williams 
was attacked with fever during the meeting, and he was 
greatly missed the last two days, it was with evident difficulty 
he dragged himself to the races on the second day. Fired by 
Harry Abbott's admirable speech in proposing at supper on 
the Qth the health of Jimmy McLeod, the King of Chumparun, 
the members of the Chupra elocutionary class held a seance 
after breakfast the following day, in the Sitalpore Camp, for 
the purpose of proposing healths and returning thanks for the' 
same. All the speeches were much aidmired ; and though the 
"guileless gillie " was not present to increase the favourable 
impression made on a former occasion, the ladies followed his 
advice and improvised a gallery whence, as is the habit in 
Calcutta on St. Andrew's day, they might listen to the orations, 
it be said that Harry Abbott in proposing the health of a 
bride and bridegroom was vociferously applauded, or 



IQ4 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

that Bob Lockhart, when he made his effort, brought down the 
tent, and tears into the eyes of all his audience with laughter. 
But the honors of the occasion were evidently given to that 
promising young debutant, Harry Russell, whose famous 
speech in returning thanks for the ladies will be longremember- 
ed by all who heard it. Called upon after dinner to champion 
the same great cause, he replied in terms of equal eloquence 
and ability, and it was difficult to decide of the two speeches 
which was the superior. Chupra is always very hard to beat 
and its coming men were very well forward that year. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

VKAR 1888. 

Prospects looked decent for 1888 as Jimmy had sent 
down instructions to Teddy Weekes at Melbourne to buy him a 
really good horse, and the selection was a fine young bay 
gelding called Knightsbridge. He had also Torchlight, now 
Baby Canning's property, and Rowland's Harlequin, a rattling 
good waler pony called Wagunyah and another called Catseye. 
Harry's stable had lost Mr. Mullick's string; the sporting 
young Bengali had died and his horses had to go to Calcutta 
to be sold. Harry offered ten thousand for them, but the offer 
was rejected. Ere the eventual sale, Edith died of apoplexy in 
Calcutta, Miss King sold for twelve hundred to a sportsman 
who never took delivery, Piecegoods went for seven hundred 
Sir Greville broke down and only fetched five or six hundred, 
Keswick about the same. Major Prior's string, however, 
replaced Mr. Mullick's, and Mr. Apcar's horses summered that 
year at Jaintpore, as well as Mr. Gasper's, the latter now racing 
in partnership with Mr. Apcar, though, save Splendor, none of 
the string ever ran again at any of the Behar meetings. That 
beauty Bellona had died from kidney disease. The Stewards 
were out as early as May with a liberal programme. The 
Stewards for the year were Messrs. H, W. Gordon, Robertson 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



Pughe, George Walker, J. Bourdillon, W. B. Hudson, W. 
Elliott, R. Brown, E. A. Mackintosh, M. P. Gasper, S. Llew- 
hellin, Captain Renton, and Majors St. Paul and Prior, with 
Harry Abbott, Honorary Secretary ; they had now for two 
years sensibly gone back to open to all programmes. 

Some years before this there were four or five meetings 
yearly held in Behar, at most of which the majority of events 
were open, and meetings not being so numerous, horses 
from all parts turned up to compete. To cope with these, 
first one and then a second, and a third local stable sprang 
into existence, and held their own fairly enough with the 
outsiders ; of course they collared the best of the local 
prizes, and deservedly so, for their horses were well 
selected and systematically trained. But the opening up 
of larger meetings nearer to the direct lines of railway, 
where better purses were offered and much more money 
obtainable from lotteries and bookmakers, caused a falling-off 
of outside horses at most of the Behar meetings, and, conse- 
quently, the racing was left chiefly to the three or four local 
stables. Then shortly afterwards a cry was raised by the 
youngsters of the district of " This is all skittles, we don't 
want to see Harry and Gwatkin and Jimmy ringing the 
changes race after race. Why should we not have a share ? " 
To please them an entire change of programme was made at 
Mozufferpore. Sonepore followed in its wake, but the result 
was chaos. Gya, Chupra and Motihari virtually died out. 
Mozufferpore struggled a year or two longer and then demised 
as a first class fixture, but the Sonepore men were sensible 
enough to see the folly of their ways, and by offering even a 
more liberal programme than in the days of yore, have gradually 
brought their meeting round, and, in fact, it now stands the only 
first class meeting in Behar. What chiefly militates against local 
amateurs racing nowadays is, that our boys have neither the nags 
nor the money to race with, polo takes all their spare cash, 



196 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



In spite of a liberal prospectus, very few first class walers 
turned up at Sonepore, the Hyderabad meeting clashing with 
it, and the Cawnpore fixture following so shortly afterwards, 
prevented many owners from attending, but a goodly number 
of countrybreds, ponies, and second class Australians put in 
an appearance. Eraser, the trainer, brought a big string from 
Calcutta including the patched up old gelding Sir Greville, Mr. 
Rowe's Minette, and a few other useful cracks of sorts. 
Jimmy had a large string, all looking fit and will ; among them 
his newly-imported colt Knightsbridge, who had improved 
wonderfully since landing. Ryder was now first jock for Lall 
'Serryah. Harry Abbott had three beautiful countrybreds 
Melody, The Toff and Sairey Gamp. Dunn arrived on Thurs- 
day with Lord William's Shamshad, and everyone thought 
the Merchants' Cup must be a moral for this handsome grey 
Arab, but early on Friday morning, the astute Fordham was 
"seen walking across the course, followed by a carefully clothed 
pony, who, on closer inspection, turned out to be the invincible 
Blitz. It was indeed a feather in the Stewards' caps and a 
fitting reward for the generosity of the Calcutta merchants, 
t'lat such grand ponies as Blitz, Shamshad and Minette 
should come to do battle for their cup. The Behar Stakes fell 
through and the Hutvva Cup, not finding sufficient maidens to 
fill it, was altered to a f mile scurry, open for all horses. Seven 
of the handsomest countrybreds in India stripped for General 
Parrott's Purse, every one of them bred at the Karnaul Stud, 
and in looks seeming fit to meet any average waler on even 
terms. The Zillah Stakes brought out five. The Lilliputs, the 
first race on the card, was appropriated easily by Mr. John's 
Catseye, with Rowland Hudson in the saddle ; then came the 
Hutwa Cup, for which both at the lotteries and the lists,. Bon 
Accord and Sir Greville, were served up hot favorites, but 
the old bay fidgetted a good deal at the post, it did not seem 
as if Thompson was fit to ride him ; the lad had scarcely re- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 197 

covered from the effects of a bad fall at Poona, and Sir 
Greville was one of the hardest horses in the country to hold 
together. They get off fairly well together, and Bon Accord and 
Rowland's Padlock, lying side by side, ran a really great race, 
the English horse astonishing everyone by the game way in 
which he stuck to the speedy black, who won all out by a bare 
length. Then came the race of the day, the Karnaul Stakes ; 
Splendor for power and size, perhaps the pick of the basket, 
was decidedly the favorite. Melody only went for fifteen 
rupees in each lottery, though his owner made no secret that 
he fully expected to win with him. Melody was a beautiful 
bright chestnut with the white points and blaze of Blair Athol, 
he was greatly admired, as also was Sairey Gamp, a line rak- 
ing filly, who had much of the cut-and-come-again looks of 
her half sister Eunice. The Toff, a very pretty little colt but 
small ; Tete-a-Tete, handsome but scarcely looking the class of 
the rest. Harlequin, trained to a hair, had improved wonder- 
fully on his last year's form. After one or two breaksaway, 
they were let go level, save Melody, who lost several lengths 
at the start. Splendor led them a regular cracker to the 
home 'turn, and was well in front of his field to the dis- 
tance, where he began his old tricks and, being collared by 
Harlequin and Sairey Gamp, completely shut up ; just 
before this Melody had joined his horses and a grand race 
was now seen. Opposite the stand, Melody was half a length 
ahead, but owing to Thompson's weakness, Ryder managed to 
catch him oil the post, and by really fine riding got Harlequin 
home by the shortest of heads, Sairey Gamp a good third ; the 
rest pulled up. The Zillah Stakes was thought to be a 
certainty for a well-bred 'little' piece of -stuff, Exchange, but he 
was never in it, and the race was won easily by Pat, who 
simply romped home in front of a straggling field. This 
ended a capital day's sport. 

All woke up on the 2oth November with a feeling that 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



some great event was to take place ; the cannon made even more 
noise than uaual, and the Band rose to the occasion and 
played " We all Love Jack " with more sweetness and light 
than they ever managed before, and all in honor of Blitz ; need- 
less to say everyone turned up at the race stand with punc- 
tuality. The first race on the card was for the Bettiah Cup, for 
countrybreds and Arabs, and four of General Parrott's breed- 
ing went to the post, Sairey Gamp in receipt of a stone from 
Harlequin, being favorite, but after a really good race 
between these two the mare had to put up with a short head 
defeat ; Young Manchester, as usual, led the field for the first 
half mile. The Durbangah Cup unfortunately fell through, 
so the second race was the Merchants' Cup. Shamshad was 
the first to appear, and a real beauty he looked, good enough 
to back for one's last dollar, if he had not been followed by 
Blitz, ridden by Greenhalgh. This was the first opportunity 
many of the sportsmen present had of interviewing this Or- 
monde amongst ponies, and though one is always disposed to 
see beauty in a good horse, there can be no doubt that Blitz 
was a perfect picture of an Arab racing pony, a gentleman 
all over from nose to tail. Blitz and Shamshad walked down 
to the post together, followed by Minette and Ameer, and 
this was the order they preserved throughout the race, Blitz 
winning hard held, in the commonest of canters ; he was 
honored after the race by the Band striking up " See the con- 
quering hero comes," and by all the ladies coming down to 
inspect him, and he showed his appreciation of their visit in 
the most gracious manner, allowing himself to be petted with 
equanimity. After this came the Selling Race, which was 
looked upon as a moral for Mr. Canning's Torchlight, who 
had a great pull in the weights. It would have been a wonder 
if the handsome old black did not manage to score a win. 
She did not disappoint her backers, winning fairly easily, but 
she was not claimed, even at the scarcely exorbitant price of 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. IQ9 

nil, which her owner put upon her. This clemency was due 
to her owner having such a silvery tongue and persuasive 
manners. The fourth race brought out a field of seven very 
good looking ponies belonging to Assistants; Breach of Promise 
and Little Hercules being the most fancied, the Jaintpore crack, 
Nellie, not coming inforthe support that her reputation deserved. 
After three false starts, they all got off together, and noth- 
ing was in it up to the distance with Asthore, who had the race 
in hand, till she broke down and was eased off. From the 
distance post, Breach of Promise and Little Hercules came 
away by themselves, till near the stand Greenhalgh, on the 
outsider, Beauty, managed to get up and win by half a length 
all out; Little Hercules a short nose in front of Breach f 
Promise. The race, however, was not of the swiftest, as the 
owner of the second objected to Beauty, on the ground that 
her owner had not registered his assumed name, and this 
being found a fact, Little Hercules was awarded the race. 
This was very hard luck on Mr. Adlam, a good sportsman, 
who deserved a win ; and so ended a good day's racing. 

The third day handicaps promised exceedingly good 
sport ; the lotteries had been well supported over night and 
everyone came to the scratch smiling, and determined to win 
a lot of money. The first race was a half mile Handicap for 
countrybreds, Tete-a-Tete on paper having a good look in, 
but his owner after the first lottery stated that he was only to 
go to the post, so punters had to look for another favorite. 
Harlequin was undoubtedly the pick of the handicap, after 
Tete-a-Tete, receiving as he was ten pounds from the harshly 
treated cur Splendor, and being at the same weight as the 
green colt Melody, whom he had beaten at three-quarters of a 
mile in the Karnaul Purse on the first day ; and sure enough, 
win he did, though only by half a length, from the much 
improved Sairey Gamp, who seemed to thrive on work. Next 
came a pony handicap, which was an exercise canter for 



200 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Minette, Jimmy's Wagunyah securing second money. Them 
came the turn up of the meeting the " P.I.G." Purse Torch- 
light was in it (and very well in it apparently), giving seven 
pounds to the very moderate Jubilee, and fourteen pounds 
over weight for class to Young Manchester, who was some 
three stone worse than Harlequin ; so the black waler was 
made a strong favorite, and supported by her owner with the 
bookies at 2 to i on. The countrybred looking as handsome 
as paint and ridden by old Abdul, led out at such a pace, 
that Ryder had to commence riding Torchlight at the half 
mile post, Jubilee never being in it; the game old mare answered 
to every call and crept up inch by inch, and opposite the stand 
was as nearly as possible level ; the white-headed old native, 
however, did not lose his head, and riding capitally just 
managed to land first past the post by a short head. The last 
race on the card brought out three ponies, the countrybred 
mare, Breach of Promise, being handicapped to give her two 
waler adversaries seven pounds. This seemed to be- distinctly 
rough on her, but her owner, Jack Lowis, being a real good 
sportsman, determined to let her run ; game mare as she was 
she h'i:l no chance with Catseye, who won with a stone in 
hand. So finished 1888. Captain Horace Hayes was at the 
meeting, a guest of Jimmy's. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

YEAR 1889. 

Early in 1889 racing, as far as countrybreds were con- 
cerned, received a heavy blow by the resolve of General 
Parrott to close his breeding stud at Karnaul, but the fine old 
man had more than proved the ability of Northern India to; 
produce clean bred horses with stamina; bone and size. In 
February poor old Mr. Abercrombie, who had for so many 
years been associated with Sonepore, died at Somastipore, 
aged sixty- nine. He had retired from the service and was 



REM-IN-ISCE.NGES .OP-.SONEPORE, 2O I 

managing the Nurhun Estate for the Court of Wards, his 
head-quarters being at Pusa. Poor old Bicrom, his memory is 
still green with us. Another great loss to the meeting was 
debonair Charley Boileau, who had sold his share in Cheyton 
; Pursa, and left to manage a business in Bombay, where he 
reigns now king of the Yacht Club ; to him, honest :< Bosun " 
Elliot, and cheery Bob Lockhart was mainly due the upkeep 
of the meeting from 1885. Poor Bill Stewart, whose cyni- 
cal sayings had amused us for many Sonepores, died at 
Mirzapore during June. The racing opened favorably, the 
presence of Majors Wallenstein, Beaver and Prior, and 
Messrs. Scales, Gregson, Gregory and other plungers, made the 
lotteries go with a verve they had not experienced for years, 
and Harry was dead beat, every night. Kangaroo squandered a 
big field for the Lilliputs, and Harlequin easily settled Melody 
and Mirabelle in the Karnaul Purse. A splendid field of ten 
declared for the Doomraon Cup, and Charley Webb's Midas, 
a dead outsider, romped home with Victor Hickley up. Midas' 
winning the Cup was a surprise to everyone, and should 
show men who can't afford to race, that it is quite pos- 
sible with care and a well selected horse, to beat big stables. 
Here was a zillah nag, trained on a track round the factory 
zerats, and without the aid of a light weight, coming out and 
beating Spray, The Ghost, Albicore, Caulfield, Torchlight 
and Flying Fish, all carefully trained racers. 

Mr. Charles Charlton won the Hutwa Cup. On the 
second day, Midas, this time with Rowland up, again beat all 
the cracks for the Bettiah Cup ; then Harry Abbott's Exbank, 
beautifully ridden by Captain Carandini, won the Durbangah 
Cup ; and his stable followed this up by pulling off the biggest 
plum at the meeting, the Merchants' Cup, with the dead 
outsider Little Sister, belonging to Major Prior, young Frank 
Shakespear steering her; Mr. Charles' Young Chorister, a hot 
favorite, was not even placed. However, there- was balm in 



202 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Gilead for Lower Bengal, for Spray, ridden by Rowland, won the 
Beck Cup, although she had slipped up and fallen the same 
morning in the Bettiah Cup, for which she had been heavily 
backed. This ended an exceedingly good day's sport. On the 
last day, racing was equally exciting, a grand struggle between 
Charlton, Victor and Exbank resulted in a half length win 
for the first named, from Victor, with the other close up. 
Harlequin again beat the moderate lot of Countrybreds present, 
and then that cur The Ghost, ridden by Ikey Barton, upset a 
terribly big pot in the Jaintpore Purse. " What am I to do ?" 
asked Ikey. " The minute they're off, crawl all over him if you 
can," said Harry, " and let the brute think he's running away 
with you," and he did it too ; with reins loose, Ikey wobbled 
about like a blancmange on a dish. The Ghost had never had 
such an experiece, in a blue funk he ran away from start to 
finish, and only when he got past the post, ten lengths ahead 
of the rest, did Ikey sit down and let the horse discover he was 
after all carrying a horseman. Gold, Baby Canning's pretty 
mare, won Jessop's Cup, and Ross-Palmer's Saleyard finished 
the meeting by winning the Planters' Gazette Purse. No 
big losers or winners, though Mr. Charles did not go away 
with empty pockets, still the purses were well divided, and 
everyone was satisfied. The Cups this year were beauties, 
the majority of them from Messrs. Walter Locke & Co. 

Ay de mi alhama said the Moorish king when finally 
banished from the well loved portals of his magnificent palace, 
and with equal fervour, though in the English language, did 
the visitors to Sonepore give way to lamentations when the 
curtain was pulled down by the Stewards of 1889 after as 
successful a meeting as was ever held at the Goodwood of 
India. Socially it was enjoyable in the extreme, and racingly 
by no means a failure, in spite of the fixture clashing with 
Lucknow, and that only a few horses represented the large 
Chumparun stable generally so well to the front. The major- 



RfeMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 203 

ity of Jimmy's string were in Calcutta under Captain Horace 
Hayes' able care, waiting for the big things there, and only 
one or two were reserved for Sonepore, but the Jaintpore stable 
was in force, and many of the nags trained by Harry gave 
decent accounts of themselves. Then Bob Lockhart had a 
few useful ones, and that well-known sportsman, Mr. Charles, 
the pride of Lower Bengal, brought four good gees with the 
elder Robinson in charge, to show the way home to the boys 
of Behar. Charlton and Young Chorister were both hosts in 
themselves, and facile princeps in their respective classes, 
while Thrasher was as good as could be made for his height. 
Spray also, Mr. Charles's property, had been trained at Jaint- 
pore, and only rejoined her owner the day of the meeting, 
looking fit and well. Captain Carandini, the neat and popular 
Adjutant of the Behar Light Horse, brought down, trained by 
himself, Gipsy, Mr. T. Barclay's well-known Australian mare, 
as well as that pretty chestnut pony of young Harry Moseley's, 
bearing the same name. Also an uncommonly handsome 13-3 
Arab, one of the good old-fashioned sort, a fleabitten grey 
entire, with grand legs, loins, girth and substance ; few such 
fine-shaped good-tempered ones are to be picked out nowadays. 
The sporting Dhurrumtollah Vet., Dr. Lauter, sent up a 
very nice Arab pony, Peacock, which, though not quite smart 
enough to overthrow Kangaroo in the Lilliputs, was after- 
wards purchased by Mr. Charles. Mr. Rowland had only Harle- 
quin, that best of Karnaul bred ones, his English horse, Pad- 
lock, being in hospital, but Harlequin proved good enough to 
pull off the most coveted prize of the meeting, the handsome 
Trades' Cup, which had been the cynosure of every eye since 
first displayed in the shamiana of Mr. Lockhart's camp. 
Absent, but not forgotten, was Charley Webb, the best man 
and bravest heart that ever breathed in Behar, but he sent us 
up a horse which, trained only on factory zerats^ showed us 
the way home in style, and made all who knew the owner 



204 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

regret he was not present to hear us cheer the popular vic- 
tories of his honest nag. Although there were not so many 
big camps as usual, yet a goodly collection of small ones made 
the number of visitors pretty equal to last year. In the com- 
bined camps of Messrs. Hudson and Macleod were over thirty, 
Mrs. Hudson being hostess, while in Mr. Lockhart's camp, 
close on forty had to be catered for, but Mrs. Nicalay, who 
kindly took upon herself the trouble of arranging, was fully 
equal to the occasion, and right well she looked after the wants 
of the large camp. Next down the line was the tent of the 
hard-working clerk of the course, Mr. Robertson Pughe, thanks 
to whom the polo ground and race-course were in excellent 
prder. The ball-room roof had to be dismantled just before 
the meeting, owing to several of the beams looking unsafe, 
but in spite of this Mr. Pughe had a temporary roof erect- 
ed, and the floor was in its usual good state for dancing. 
Next to Mr. Pughe's tent, came Dr. Russell's of Chupra, 
then Mr. Ellis', followed by Lieutenant Pressey of Dinapore, 
who brought a bevy of fair maids from across the Ganges 
to enjoy the fun of the fair. Then came Mr. Gasper 
Gregory's of Durbangah, with stately Miss Seth, and his 
three other winsome and accomplished little nieces, one of 
them gifted with a voice like that of the angel Isafrel; and 
last, but not least in this line, rose the fine shamiana and tents 
of the Connaught Rangers. Opposite were Mr. Bourdillon's 
tents, with a party of thirty, and then followed a host of small 
encampments, Mr. Harris, Captain Carandini, Mr. Chardon 
of Chupra and others. Mr. Alf. Simson of Messrs. Kilburn 
& Co., as guest of Bob Lockhart, was a welcome addition, to 
the meeting. The weather throughout was excellent, though 
a trifle warmer than usual at Sonepore. Major Beaver and 
Veterinary-Surgeon Blenkinsop were up on duty from Calcutta, 
buying remounts; from the first thing in the morning till dark, 
save on the racing -mornings, they were on their legs, examin- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOKEV 265 

ing and passing horses, and on several days not even re- 
turning to camp for breakfast. As usual the dealers for the 
first two or three days were impossible in their prices, but on 
the last two days 40 or 50 decent horses were secured by the 
Major for moderate figures. The majority of horses brought 
that year by the dealers were absurdly young, few being over 
two and a half years oldj and many of them showed wretched 
so-called Norfolk trotter blood, with hideous heads, coarse 
necks, big barrels and poor legs, they were an excellent 
satire on the mismanagement of Government studs. Ponies 
sold as dear as horses, and anything with galloping points 
brought big figures. The dealers- to a man acknowledged that 
horse-breeding would soon be a thing of the past in Northern 
India, for, as they sensibly said, it is cheaper for them to breed 
ponies than horses, as they eat less and fetch as good or 
better prices. Elephants were comparatively cheap, two very 
fine ones were secured for Julpai planters, by Mr. Simson. 
The Stewards were ably assisted by Major Beaver, and that 
the handicapping was good, was shown by the fact that only 
two horses out of all those treated cried noncontent. The 
finishes were, most of them, close, and the proverbial blanket 
would have covered the lot in many of them. Ryder, the 
only professional present after Robertson's accident on the 
second day, won most of the races he was successful in by 
sheer riding, and, although only two competed for the Dur- 
bangah Cup, the race from pillar to post was . fought inch by 
inch between Mr. Rowland and Captain Carandini, the gallant 
Hussar only just getting home on the: post. The only easily 
won event of the meeting was the Trades' Plate, Harlequin 
being much too good for the field. The. biggest upset of the 
meeting was the Merchants' Cup, looked on as a moral for 
Mr. Charles' handsome Arab, Young Chorister, who was made 
a hot favorite at the lotteries; the rest; starting almost un- 
backed,, but in. the. morning the race resolved itself ,into r a 



206 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

splendid struggle between the Jaintpore pair, Khedari disputing 
every inch of the ground with Major Prior's speedy mare. 
For a wonder, Harry Abbott's account was on the right side. 
The band of the Connaught Rangers played every morning 
at the races, adding very much to the enjoyment of those 
present. The speeches of Saturday night's supper were of 
the usual amusing description, particularly that of Mr. Owen, 
in returning thanks for the ladies. On Friday afternoon the 
Connaught Rangers improvised a most amusing Gymkhana, 
Mr. Robertson acting as Secretary. It commenced with an 
ekka race, driven by ladies, which brought so many entries 
that it had to be run in two heats. Miss Buchanan won 
the first, and Miss Stone Wigg the second, the latter 
lady finally proving the conqueror. Mr. Fletcher then 
won a hack race, which was followed by the cream of the 
evening's fun, a side-saddle race for gentlemen in ladies' 
costume. The first to appear was the elegant Miss 
Thoniasina Olpherts, mounted on Mr. Pughe's impetuous and 
fiery steed. The pretty horse-breaker was a bit uncertain in 
her saddle. She swayed about a good deal, and showed a 
good bit of foot, and more than once was saved by a vigorous 
grasp of the pommel. The boys most unkindly christened her 
" Carroty Poll," which hurt her feelings considerably. Sweet 
Tottie Owen was the pick of the bunch for face and figure 
combined. She was beautifully got up by Mrs. Simson, and 
showed a sixteen inch waist and a beautiful patent collapsible ; 
she sa,t in the saddle as if to the manner born, and the Bengali 
bookmaker promptly laid two to one on her. The other young 
ladies did not show so much care over their toilets, and were 
not in it with these two beauties ; the race lay between them, 
Miss Tottie winning quite in Vinall's best style. The Con- 
naught Rangers were the life of the meeting, and they not 
only expressed much admiration for Harry's judgment of 
champagne, but were deeply impressed by his Imperial capa- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 207 

city for sampling it. Who would have thought then, that only 
a short time hence, that bright boy Mostyn Owen, and poor 
old John Boxwell, would both fall victims, at Dacca, to that 
foul scourge cholera, or that clever little Harry Mosely, an 
assistant of Motipore, who wrote the following during the 
meeting, would also be cut off in the flower of his youth. 
A LEGEND OF SONEPORE, 1889. 

Our Master of the I.P.G. 

By his Great Paper swore 
That the Great Sonepore Meeting 

Should last for evermore ; 
By his Great Paper swore he, 

And named a Meeting Day, 
And sent Prospectus papers forth, 

East and West and South and North, 

To summon to the fray 

East and W T est and South and North 

The Post doth hie them fast, 
Till near and far each Factory 

Hath heard the news at last. 
Shame on the bloated Manager 

Who sits at home at ease 
And says his poor Assistants 

Shant camp beneath the trees ! 

And now hath every Factory 

Sent up his tale of men, 
The Managers are plentiful, 

Assistants too I ken. 
Before the Stand at Sonepore 

Is met the great array, 
A proud man was our Master 

Upon that Meeting Day ! 

For all Chumparun's noblest 

Were ranged beneath his ken, 
And many a stout Tirhootian, 

And most of Chupra's men ; 
And many a dainty damsel 

Came eager for the fray, 
And bookies from Calcutta 

Upon that Meeting Day. 



208 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

And Missirs there by thousands 

Came with their squealing tats, 
And elephants by hundreds 

And monkeys, dogs and cats ; 
A mile around the market 

The throng stopped up the ways, . . .-. 

A goodly sight it was to see 

Through ten long nights and days. 

The races filled up quickly, 

The card was well got up, 
And many there were present 

Who'd given Stakes or Cup ; 
And in the merry ball-room 

Were " Kala-juggahs " piled 
By hands of cunning mashers , 

For flirting soft and mild. 

And now the meet is over 

But Master's work's not done, 
For oh ! that horrid settling 

Is only just begun. 
The loser in his anguish 

Begins to groan and mutter, 
But Master blandly says," Dear boy, 

I'll post you in Calcutta." 

Never was Sonepore Meeting 

Run with such great success, 
The praises of all present 

Were echoed by the press. 
Thank to our little Master, 

We always now are sure 
That we shall have a meeting 

Each year in gay Sonepore. 

Assistants were not as strongly represented in the racing 
line as was hoped, but Messrs. Hickley, Canning, Palmer, 
Rutherford and Barton did their best, the latter's win on 
Ghost, property of that grand old veteran caterer, Mr. Monk, 
of Calcutta and Kurseong, was most amusing. Ghost had 
been hot weathering at Lall Serryah, but on account of Jim- 
my's uncertainty as to whether he would be able to come to 
Sonepore, was, at the last moment, transf erred to the Jaint- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 1 



pore stable. The shifty chestnut ran badly the first day, but 
he gave us a taste of the way he could travel when he liked, 
and simply squandered his field in the Jaintpore Plate. 
There was standing of drinks galore that night at the ex- 
cellent Esplanade Hotel, when the wire of the win was received 
there, and on arrival at Calcutta after his triumph, Ghost was 
treated to a whole magnum of Monk's own peculiar and particu- 
larly fine liqueur whisky, ten years in bottle. Mr. Carr-Stephen 
brought all the way from Mymensingh a couple of ponies, and 
all Behar men regretted his pluck was not better rewarded. 

A very memorable fight, without gloves, came off at the 
lotteries one night, between Tim the Chupra Toff, and Baby 
the Bruiser of Chumparun. One round was enough to satisfy 
honor and then both were put to bed. The comical element 
that year was supplied by that mealey-mouthed soldier, Cap- 
tain Willie Scales, who brought up Kangaroo. He came up 
quite promiscuously, hired a small dirty red and blue striped 
tent, stuck it up in a most conspicuous place, and kept us 
alive with his vagaries. Colonel Simpson had sent his two 
English ponies, Mike and Marquise, to Jaintpore to train, and 
they kept up the reputation of Tirhoot as a summering place, 
winning heaps of big races up-country, little Mike pulling off 
the Civil Service Cup. Jimmy's horses in Calcutta did not do as 
well as we all hoped, in fact from start to finish Knightsbridge 
proved a most disappointing and expensive purchase. During 
1889 Mr. Minden Mackenzie, Manager of Dooriah, always 
a welcome addition to Sonepore gatherings, wooed and won 
the belle of Behar, pretty Miss Alice Williams, daughter of 
that straightest of sportsmen, Mr. E. Gwatkin Williams. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

YEAR 1890. 

On the 28th April 1890 a meeting of Sonepore patrons 
was held at Mr. Bourdillon's house in Chupra, when all the 



210 REMINISCENCES OP SONEPORE. 

old Stewards were re-elected, and several valuable additions 
made, notably, Messrs. C. C. Stevens, W. Kemble, Sir George 
Larpent, A. C. Brett and others. Harry Abbott suggested 
that as the Railway brought in so many stray visitors, who 
came for a day, saw all the races, and left without subscribing 
a penny, it would be a good thing to rail in a paddock and 
charge these gentry gate money ; this was passed unani- 
mously. The programme, a very liberal one, with nine 
thousand rupees of added money, was passed and published 
during the month, and another record meeting was looked 
forward to. Judge Brett of Mozufferpore took in hand the 
working up cf subscriptions for the Civilians' Cup, and right 
well he did it, collecting over Rs. 1,600. A staunch supporter 
of the meeting, Mr. Hamilton Gordon, Judge of Chupra, 
had been temporarily promoted to the Calcutta High Court, 
but returned in November, and was present with his 
popular wife. Joint subscription camps were now be- 
coming the order of the day, and were just as jolly, though 
much of the old hospitable family party business was broken 
up, owing chiefly to many of the old Civilians and planters 
having retired, and their successors not being able to 
afford to play host to twenty or more guests. Year by year 
more and more comparative strangers now began to collect, 
and in a great measure the old order of things had changed ; 
but this was bound to be inevitable, and the Stewards were 
sensible in making the best of things and cutting their coat 
to suit their cloth; had they not done so the meeting must 
have collapsed altogether, which would have been most lament- 
able. Early in the year Chupra lost that popular medico, 
Dr. Russell, who was transferred, and his place was taken 
by Dr. Tom Macdonald, a brother of the Highland chief- 
tains Harry, John and George. A gloom had been cast over the 
district in February by the news of the sad accident at home, 
which resulted in the untimely death of poor Pierce Llewhellin 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 211 

of Rajaputti. The Jaintpore stable, in spite of the loss of the 
Apcar-Gasper string, was as strong as ever, for in addition to 
Colonel Simpson's champion ponies, Mike and Marquise, the 
powerful Jodhpore stable, now under the charge of Captain 
Lee-Warner, summered there ; as well as Mr. E. H. Gregory's, 
Mr. Dolby's and Mr. Charles' little lots. Jimmy had some rat- 
tling good ponies, and Lall Serryah bred foals ready to run 
this year, Tete-a-Tete, one of General Parrott's, Queenie, 
Finesse, Talkative (scxld to Charley Webb), Jessie, Sylvester, 
Fleur de Lys, and the walers Knightsbridge and Cavendish 
were his lot. First entries in July were excellent, the Chupra 
and Tirhoot jeunesse doree having evidently made up their 
minds to back up the meeting royally. In August we got the 
sad news of the death at home, from internal cancer, of 
poor M. P. Gasper, than whom a straighter sportsman never 
lived ; he was a great loss to the Indian Turf, as well as to the 
Calcutta bar. During the same month Harry Abbott lost his 
brother Edgar, a particularly fine horseman, who was the crack 
G.R. of China and Japan, he died from aneurism of the heart, 
brought on by trying to keep his weight down to the eight 
stone scale. The camps indented for at Sonepore were fully 
up to the average, Messrs. Stevens, Bourdillon, Lockhart, 
Barclay, McNaghten and Abbott had the biggest ones, and the 
new Dinapore Regiment, The Kings, was well to the fore. 
Colonel Joey Dene, Mr. Lawrie Johnstone, Mr. Jock Mclnnis, 
Captain Lee-Warner, Mr. Boteler and Major Beaver were 
among the guests. Very imposing, as visitors drove in from 
the station, looked the new enclosure, and as over four hun- 
dred rupees of gate money was taken from non-subscribers, 
the fifteen hundred rupees spent on it was certainly well 
laid out. 

That Sonepore was regaining some of its ancient great- 
ness was undoubtedly the opinion of all who assembled to 
attend the races. Both in the number of people present, the 



212 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

number and class of the horses, the condition of the grand 
stand, of the ball and supper-rooms, which had been greatly 
improved by the erection of the large enclosure, there was an 
immense improvement over previous years. Considering the 
obstruction caused to the preparation of the course, and the 
various other works taken in hand this season, by the terribly 
late and heavy rains during October, everything was in most 
excellent order, and the man would indeed have been fastidious 
to complain of the programme of amusements. All the regular 
camps which yearly formed for Sonepore, and many new ones, 
holding in some cases a large number of visitors, had early in the 
week taken up their sites. The Calcutta visitors were more nu- 
merous than in any previous year. The 8th Kings, who replaced 
the Connaught Rangers at Dinapore, brought over a camp 
and regimental band, and in addition to these, an unusual 
number of small camps had been started. Most of the district 
officials and heads of camps had been on the ground for a week 
before, seeing to all the necessary arrangements, but the 
afternoon train on Friday brought in the bulk of the visitors. 
The lotteries on the first night filled at such a rate, that the 
Secretary had his fingers quite cramped taking down the 
tickets. Bravo was made favorite for the Lilliputs, although 
many of the public fancied the Calcutta representative, Sprite, 
who was to be steered by that fine rider, Jimmy Robinson. 
The Behar Stakes had four starters out of the five entered, 
and Finesse and Talkative divided favoritism on account of 
their being older than Harry Abbott's pair. Lord Harry was, 
of course, considered a moral for the Hutwa Cup, and in spite 
of Exbank's dickey leg, he was thought good enough to be 
made second favorite ; while Knightsbridge and Referee both 
carried their owners' coin. Munwyrtina and Padlock were 
about equally sought for by backers in the Bettiah Cup, while 
Vedette on his Motiharee running was supposed to be out of it. 
IVJidas had most support for Messrs. Thomas and Moran's 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 213 

Cup, and The Brat for Messrs. Jessop's. Half past seven saw 
everyone assembled in the new enclosure, and the keeping 
out of the paddock of the crowds of dirty Aryans, who in 
other years were veritable nuisances and prevented ladies 
from coming down to look at the parade of horses, was 
thoroughly appreciated. Mr. Apperley, on Bravo, opened 
the ball for the Lall Serryah stable by beating Sprite in spite 
of Robinson's determined riding, and then all went to inspect 
the four Behar countrybreds. Colonel Dene, Director of the 
Army Remount Department, was especially interested in 
these, and expressed his admiration of them in no measured 
terms ; they certainly were a very handsome lot. Talkative, a 
daughter of that once famous Behar Stakes mare, Talkaway, 
was a bright bay five-year-old filly, very like her mother, and 
with plenty of power and bone. Finesse, 3 years, by Lincoln 
out of poor Charley Mangles' Finette, for such a young one 
shaped well. Both these were bred in Chumparun by Jimmy 
McLeod. Stately, the best looking of the Jaintpore pair, by 
Statesman out of Czarina, was a very blood-looking colt, 
though wanting time, being only a few months over two ; he 
was a bright bay with black points, a lovely head and rein, 
standing 15 hands and with perfect manners and mouth. How 
Nice was a pretty little 14-2 filly by Caractacus out of a stud- 
bred mare, and though not a race horse, looked like making 
a rattling good hack and pigsticker. Messrs. McLeod and 
Abbott certainly proved that fine good boned horses can be 
bred in Behar, and it seems a pity the industry has not been 
more developed in the district. Lord Harry, who, as usual, came 
out in blinkers, looked in the picture of health and condition,, 
as did his stable-companion, Exbank ; Knightsbridge had 
never been brought to the post in India in such brilliant 
fettle as when his owner stripped him that Saturday morning 
for the Hutwa Cup, and the Chumparun boys all fancied their 
representative's chance, Referee also did hi$ owner great 



214 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

credit ; he looked big and well, and his old lameness seemed 
to have quite gone. Marque was, like all the horses under 
G. Robinson's charge, as fit as hands could make him, and 
though everyone knew that if Lord Harry chose to go, there 
was nothing else in the race, yet the knowledge of his temper 
made the other owners hope they might have some small 
chance. Lord Harry played the garden ass going down 
to the post, but Mr. Nicolay, after two attempts, let the 
field go very level. How that English horse did streak 
out ; before a furlong was accomplished, he had simply car- 
ried the rest off their legs, and into the straight he led 
five lengths in advance, but at the distance post he stuck 
his toes in, enabling Underwood on Knightsbridge to creep 
up, but Pugh bustled the Jodhpore horse along and got home 
an easy winner. The Jaintpore stable's luck continued, and 
Vedette romped in a winner in front of Padlock, but Jimmy, 
under the terms of the race, claimed him for Rowland Hudson. 
Messrs. Jessop's Cup brought out a fine field of ponies, and 
a very pretty race resulted between Jessie and Tom Tit, 
the former keeping well up to last year's form, proved 
the best. So ended a very good day's sport, and every 
one went home pleased. The Durban^ah Band, kindly lent by 
the Maharajah, played in the enclosure ; polo and lawn tennis 
whiled away the afternoon, and were followed by a dance 
in the evening, capitally managed by Mr. Bourdillon, and at 
second supper Jock Mclnnis' beautiful voice aided much to the 
enjoyment of those present. 

The second night's lotteries were well attended, and it 
was all the Secretary could do to take down tickets; thirteen 
five hundred rupee forms filled up during the course of the 
evening, a couple of young Civilians being fortunate enough 
to draw Colonel Simpson's stable, which sold for Rs. 480 in 
the Merchants' Cup lottery. Proceedings opened on Tues- 
day morning with the Golightly Stakes, presented by that 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 215 

enterprising firm of seed merchants, Messrs. Begg, Suther- 
land & Co. of Cawnpore, and for this Kangaroo and Jessie 
divided favoritism, but the Arab succeeded in getting home 
an easy winner in front of Jessie, with Tom Tit third. Then 
Jimmy'sTete-a-tete appropriated kind-hearted General Parott's 
Farewell Kurnaul Purse, beating Victory and Hubshi easily ; 
for the first half mile the jockeys on the big pair cantered 
leisurely along and allowed little Hubshi to get a tremendous 
lead, but the rogue put his ears back turning the home 
corner and let them catch him hand over hand. Roy Ganga 
Pershad, the wealthy Durbangah Banker and Zemindar, gave 
a very handsome pair of silver side dishes to be run for ; they 
were chosen by his Manager, Mr. Gasper Gregory, from 
Messrs. Elkington & Co.'s stock. Six horses started to do 
battle for it, the favorite, Blaze, belonging to Joe Anderson, 
winning after a good race from Gipsy ; the latter's owner, 
Jack Barclay, claimed the winner and secured a cheap nag. 
The Durbangah Cup was a closely contested struggle, Knights- 
bridge at last earning a winning bracket for his popular and 
sporting owner. Exbank had been badly treated by the handi- 
cappers on his first day's running ; and, though they weighted 
the others fairly, they treated Exbank alone as if it had been 
an untruly run race. He, however, again occupied the proud 
position of last, conclusively proving his first day's form cor- 
rect. For the Merchants' Cup of Rs. 1,000, given by Messrs. 
Gisborne, Kilburn, Begg Dunlop and Gillanders Arbuthnot, 
nothing would go down with the public but Mike, and it was 
thought that the Jaintpore trained pair would run first and 
second, but Young Chorister showed up most unexpectedly 
and, having seemingly returned to his old form, split the pair 
opposite the stand and for.a moment looked like winning, but the 
game little brown came like a lion when Pugh shook him up, 
and eventually romped home a couple of lengths in front ; 
Marquise a close third. On Tuesday afternoon Captain Scales 



216 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE." 

improvised a very amusing gymkhana for polo ponies, buggy 
horses and hacks, which whiled away the time pleasantly. 
That wonderful old overgreen, Harry Abbott's Jerusalem, some 
eighteen years of age, simply left his opponents standing still 
in the buggy stakes and looked as sleek as a four-year-old. 
Again good lotteries on the third night and good racing on 
Saturday ; most of the horses dealt with accepted the handi- 
capper's allotments, which were fairly and carefully adjusted, 
though Exbank's owner had again some reason for dissatisfac- 
tion, being given top-weight, though he had occupied the last 
position in the two previous races he had competed for. The 
ball opened with the Doomraon Cup, which that good pony 
Kangaroo had little difficulty in appropriating; Tete-a-tete 
walked over for the Gazette Cup, and then followed the plum 
of the meeting, the Civilians' Cup, subscriptions for which had 
poured in so generously, that the sum total amounted to 
Rs. 1,500. Five of the best horses at the meeting went out 
for it, and most of the owners were sanguine of success, but 
the English filly, Gala, who had improved wonderfully in the 
Jaintpore climate, proved good enough to win easily ; Exbank 
last again. Messrs. Moran and Thomas, in spite of adverse 
times, did not withhold their customary purses, and that good 
old horse, Munwyrtina, the property of a popular Chupra 
planter, upset the calculations even of his trainer, and romped 
home a winner in front of Blaze. Everyone regretted their 
old friend the Maharajah of Cooch Behar was not present to 
see his Cup run for, but he was ably represented by his genial 
Secretary, Dick Bignell. Marquise was a hot favorite, but 
owing to Jimmy Robinson getting a flying start on Trojan, 
the latter got home in front of the game little mare. Then 
Ena won the Assistants' Scurry, and Messrs. Elkington's 
pretty little tea set went to Mr. Jack Wilson, whose handsome 
bay mare, Sweetbriar, well ridden by Pugh, came in a winner. 
The Trades. 1 Cup from Messrs. Elkington's was much admired, 



REMINISCENCES OP SON^PORE. 2ij 

and was placed in the centre of the supper room. After 
Thursday's supper the usual speechifying took place, Mr. 
Stevens eulogising the Secretary to such an extent, that the 
modest little man absolutely blushed, and when some enthu- 
siasts had carried him thrice round the room and set him down 
safely, he returned thanks in a truly becoming manner. 

For twenty years there had not been a more all round 
successful meeting ; the racing had been exceptionally good, 
and the prizes well divided, no unpleasantnesses to mar the 
harmony, all the arrangements capital, and from commence- 
ment to end the large number of people present combined to 
make everything pass off pleasantly. Mr. Stevens was, perhaps, 
a little too flattering to the Secretary in his speech after 
Thursday night's supper, for as Harry Abbott explained, he 
could have done nothing had he not been so liberally backed 
up and assisted by his brother Stewards and the visitors who 
flocked in from Chupra, Bankipore, Calcutta, Durbangah, 
Dinapore, Mozufferpore and Motihari, while the goodness 
of the racing should honestly be attributed to the generosity 
of the maharajahs, civilians, merchants, trades, and other 
donors of the handsome purses and cups, which naturally 
enough attracted owners. Messrs. Framji catered excellently 
and gave universal satisfaction. The subscriptions were libe- 
ral in the extreme, and everyone left the camp happy and 
satisfied. Horses were poor, in fact, year by year country- 
breds have deteriorated, showing but little blood or bone, and 
the heavy headed weeds one saw under every tree were them- 
selves condemnatory of Mr. Hallen's system, though with 
Colonels Queripel and Joey Dene, and common sense to 
the rescue, our Indian studs may yet be regenerated. Bullocks 
were dear, owing to Government agents purchasing all that 
passed muster. Majors Beaver and Webb picked up some 
C.B.'s for Native Cavalry purposes fairly cheap, and several 
very fine ponies were bought by Jimmy and other purchasers. 



2l8 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

The Calcutta visitors punted freely, but did not take away 
much 'oof, the principal winners being Captains Scales and 
Lee-Warner. Mr. Fenton was the happy possessor of the 
handsome Trades' Cup. Mrs. Bourdillon took great pains to 
have the ball-room prettily decorated each night, and, thanks 
to Messrs. Ellis, Longmuir and Geordie Graham, the course 
and polo grounds were in excellent order. Cricket, polo, gym- 
khanas and tennis all buzzed freely, while the evening reunious 
at the various camps and capital singing, made the meeting 
pass most enjoyably. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 
YEAR 1891. 

Early in 1891 it seemed as if the Stewards would have 
to look about for a new Secretary as Harry Abbott had left 
Jaintpore and gone to Calcutta to look after the interests of his 
paper, resigning ere doing so the Secretaryships of both Sone- 
pore and Mozufferpore. Two of the Stewards also retired to 
England Mr. George Llewhellin of Durbangah and Mr. E. A. 
Mackintosh of Chupra. The latter had sold his good little fac- 
tory, Rampore, to Glass Vincent, a son of Mr. Frank Vincent, 
who had done Sonepore such yeoman service in its earlier 
years. Like household words had been the names of Mr. and 
Mrs. Albert Mangles as staunch patrons of Sonepore for 
many long days, and sad indeed were all Beharites to hear 
from England that death had claimed their dear old friend. The 
I.P.G. wrote thusly: 

" With very deep grief we heard by last mail of the sad 
death of one whose cheery voice and good-natured face was 
well known in Behar. Albert Champion Mangles was a man 
whom to know was to like thoroughly; generous to a fault, hos^- 
pitable to excess, and kind-hearted to a degree, he was one of 
the most popular Civilians who ever joined the Indian Service* 
The old Haileybury lot were mostly good fellows but the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 2 1 9. 

school never turned out a better specimen than 'Noisy 5 
Mangles. After several years spent in Bengal, he drifted on 
to Behar, and it is there he was best known and beloved. 
Married to a Miss Elliot, whose kith and kin numbered large- 
ly in the district, he was the life of every meeting of bye-gone, 
days; and his camp was always filled with youngsters, who 
were taught that in seeing them enjoying themselves, their 
host was best repaid. Sonepore was par excellence the meet 
he loved best, and his last one was the only sad one he ever 
passed, for he, and all of us, knew that we could scarcely ever 
hope to see him again, camped under the dear old grove .of 
trees. Still we hoped that he would be able to pass years of 
happiness in the auld countrie and not be cut down in his 
prime. Often of late years, in the time-honoured after supper 
speeches at Sonepore, has affectionate reference been made to 
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Mangles, and many a warm ' Hear, hear ' 
resounded from the throats of their many friends. As an 
officer of H.M.'s Bengal Civil Service, he gained the golden 
opinion of all classes he was brought into contact with, and he 
never made an enemy, because it takes two to quarrel. As 
Opium Agent at Patna, he was a loyal^friend and kind mas- 
ter to all under him, and never once did he or his subordinates 
let indigo and opium interests clash. It is men like Albert 
Mangles, who, by their straightforward dealing, tact and honour- 
able conduct, have brought the Civil Service into deserved 
repute. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, who 
carried no side, and who said evil of no one. Our sincerest 
sympathies are with his bereaved wife, and she may rest 
assured that poor Albert's death is as sorrowfully mourned by 
all his old friends out here, as it is by his own people at home. 
He had been suffering for years with a painful affection in 
the throat, which proved to be cancer, and which gradually 
got so bad that towards the end he could scarcely swallow, 
and only speak with difficulty. An operation was performed 



220 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

by one of the most skilful English surgeons, but he obtained 
but little relief, and only lived three days after it, and on the 
1 5th April he breathed his last. Vale dear old Albert." 

And in July the awful news came of poor Gwatkin 
Williams' sudden death. Of him in the I.P.G. appeared the 
following : 

" Once more the sad task has fallen to our Editor of hav- 
ing to chronicle in these columns the death of an old and very 
dear friend. On Wednesday morning a telegram in the daily 
Englishman bore to his many friends in Calcutta the awful 
news of poor Mr. Gwatkin Williams' sudden and totally un- 
expected death, while playing lawn tennis in Durbangah. To 
say that a gloom has been cast over Behar and Bengal society 
gives not the faintest conception of the terrible shock with 
which the tidings were received for there were very few in 
this presidency to whom the late gentleman was not a persona 
grata. To know Gwatkin was not only to like and respect, 
but to love him heartily, for his was truly a most noble character ; 
of an extremely sweet and gentle nature, gifted with courteous 
manners and an exceedingly handsome presence, he endeared 
himself to all he ever met, Indians as well as Europeans, and 
there will be no more sincere mourners for him than the native 
servants and tenants of his old Chupra property, the Buhrow- 
lee indigo concern. Before going any further, we wish to 
mention a most curious circumstance which occurred in con- 
nection with the portrait which appears on the opposite page, 
and which was intended for our last issue. For the first time 
since we have been publishing these pictures the collotype 
company reported to us that they could not successfully print 
off copies of the photograph we had sent them for that week's 
issue, as, though they had made several different plates, and 
the first copy from each came out fairly well, yet the second 
was much fainter, and the next almost indistinct ; not wishing 
to disappoint constituents we urged the manager to do his 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 221 

best, but though he tried over and over again the results were 
still the same, and we were reluctantly forced to insert the 
following explanation. 

" We are sorry to have to disappoint our constituents of 
our usual fortnightly Portrait Gallery picture, but we have re- 
ceived information from the Calcutta Phototype Company that 
until the weather cools considerably they cannot work the 
collotype process on account of its being mainly dependent 
upon a solution of gelatine for the production of the pictures, 
and this is so greatly affected by the present intense heat as 
to be incapable of resisting the pressure required. Conse- 
quently we must ask the indulgence of our subscribers for a 
short while, assuring them that we shall do our best to issue 
the next portrait as soon as the weather permits.' 

" The picture was that of Mr. Gwatkin Williams, and the 
very morning the intelligence of his death reached us, the 
Company delivered the pictures at our office truly a strange 
coincidence. 

" Mr. E. Gwatkin Williams was born at that large Welsh 
fishing village Llangwin, which is on the river Chuddy in Pem- 
brokeshire, and of which village his father was, for over fifty 
years, the highly respected Vicar. Up to the age of fourteen 
Gwatkin was educated entirely by his father, who was very 
highly cultured, and during this period he got an unusual share 
of hunting, fishing, boating and shooting ; few lads have ever 
passed a more enjoyable boyhood, or had more perfect training 
as far as all sports went, and he was passionately fond of field 
athletics and yachting, so he could not possibly have been born 
in a country more suited to his tastes. Dr. Earle of Chig- 
well in Essex finished his education, and finding that circum- 
stances, would not allow him to follow his elder brother into the 
army, he came out to India in 1863, and choosing indigo as a 
future, started as an Assistant to Mr. J. F. Curtis of Ramkola in 
the Chupra district. In a few years he was put in charge of the 



222 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

.concern, and within four years of landing, purchased Buhrowlee, 
which was his home and livelihood for twenty-three years of 
his life, from 1867 to 1890. During his Chupra career he 
brought many good hoses to the post, including that wonder- 
ful country-bred Armadale, and the ponies Robin and Gold 
Mohur. That game and good Australian horse B Sharp was 
x>ne of his, and he bought him at auction for Rs. 6,300, a price 
never before realised at any Indian public sale ; with him he 
won several big prizes, notably the Calcutta Merchants' Cup. 
Then followed the purchase of Gonzago, Nulquine, that ever- 
green old horse Red Deer and many others of less note till 
finding racing too expensive as his family grew up, he sold his 
stable, as it stood, to that sporting Dacca nobleman, Nawab 
Kajeh Ahsunoola, who, however, made it a. sine qua non that 
Mr. Williams should train and manage all racing matters for 
him. Indigo about this time began to have a bad succession 
of seasons, and so in 1885, Mr. Williams accepted from his 
friend the Maharajah of Durbangah, the management of the 
Purneah Estates, but still looked after the Nawab's racing 
interests, employing the services of that steady trainer Perrett, 
who had been with him for several years at Buhrowlee. In 
1888 rinding his work would not permit him to leave Purneah 
much, he asked the Nawab to allow Mr. C. H. Moore to look 
after the horses ; when the Nawab got tired of racing he 
generously made Messrs. Moore and Williams a present of his 
entire string. For a short time these gentlemen raced in 
partnership with fair success, under the name of Mr. Cress- 
more, and then Mr. Williams retired from the turf, deservedly 
honored by all his compeers, for a truer or straighter sportsman 
never existed. A born judge of a horse, he seldom made 
mistakes in selecting, and as a trainer he was fully the equal 
of the best professionals, as a horseman he was one of the 
finest cross-country riders to be met anywhere, with perfect 
hands and temper, he could make his horse do whatever he 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 22^ 

wanted, and had he been a lighter weight he would have 
proved himself a leading light among amateur race riders. 
He visited the old country several times, and the Welsh squires 
found the old Indian very bad to beat over the banks and 
streamlets of their fine hunting grounds. He was one of the 
oldest members of the Behar Light Horse, having served for 
over twenty-two years, and he only gave up command of the 
Chupra troop when going to Purneah. 

" In 1888 Lord Dufferin procured Mr. Williams' services 
from H.H. the Maharajah, and entrusted him with the care 
and organisation of a monster shikar party, lasting for six 
weeks, at which were present the Duke and Prince Henry of 
Orleans, the Duke of Montrose, the Marquis and Marquise de 
Mores and many other notabilities, the party, thanks to his 
perfect managment, succeeded in bagging twenty-one magni- 
ficent tigers, and in gratitude therefor when Mr. Williams 
went to England the next year, he was personally presented 
by the Comte de Paris and Due de Chartres, with a very hand- 
some piece of plate. On the retirement from the manage- 
ment of the Durbangah Raj of Mr. George Llewhellin in 
April last, His Highness sent for Mr. Williams and installed 
him at head-quarters as his Private Secretary, and in all pro- 
bability would very shortly have entrusted him with the entire 
management of his vast estates, a position for which no one 
in the country would have been better suited. But alas the 
truth of the old adage of ' L'homme propose mats Dieu dis- 
pose' was never more fatally proved, and ere this could come 
about, poor Gwatkin was struck down in the very prime of his 
life and manhood, the cause being heart disease. None of his 
friends ever suspected his heart was wrong, though his liver 
had, for many years, been seriously affected ; he had been ope- 
rated upon for abscess on the liver, but thanks to his magni- 
ficent constitution and abstemious life, he pulled through, and 
save one or two attacks he enjoyed fairly good health. The 



224 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

following are the actual facts of the sad disaster. A station tennis 
tournament had been got up and Mr. Williams and Miss 
Briscoe were playing off the final ties with Mr. Cox and Miss 
Gregory ; after each side had won a set Mr. Williams suggest- 
ed stopping, as it was getting almost too dark to see ; but it 
was agreed to go on, and they were three games all when 
Gwatkin began serving, and on crossing to the left court he 
suddenly threw up his hands, and fell backwards, just as if 
shot. Mr. Nicolay, who was umpiring, ran up and raised his 
head, but to all appearance he was dead. In the absence of 
any European Doctor, the native Civil Surgeon was called in, 
but could, of course, do nothing. We have little doubt but 
that H.H. the Maharajah, who proved himself such a gene- 
rous patron to Colonel Money and Mr. Llewhellin, will not 
forget Mr. Williams' family in their affliction. 

" Mr. Williams was twice married ; by his first wife he 
leaves two children ; his eldest son is in Messrs. Thomas & 
Co.'s employ at the Gondawarrah indigo concern in Purneah, 
and his daughter was married last year to Mr. Minden 
Mackenzie, Manager of the Dooriah indigo concern in 
Tirhoot ; by the second marriage there are four young child- 
ren, and our sincerest sympathies are with his widow and 
bereaved family, whose only consolation in their grief must 
be that his death was comparatively painless ; truly it may be 
said of him that 

Throughout a life of virtue he remained unto the end ; 

Perfect husband, father, brother, perfect son and perfect friend. 

" A good man and true has been lost to us, but the re- 
membrance of Gwatkin Williams will long remain green in 
the memories of his sorrowing friends." 

Two other gentlemen who had often visited Sonepore 
died during the year, poor old John Boxwell and young 
Mostyn Owen ; both fell victims at Dacca to that foul scourge 
cholera. At a meeting held at Mr. Kemble's house at 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 22$ 

Bankipore in July, the Stewards resolved to write to Harry 
Abbott, asking him to still continue to act as Secretary, and as 
in addition to the round robin, all and each wrote privately, 
begging him not to desert the meeting, and as Bob Lockhart pro- 
mised to see to the course, he consented, and a programme, almost 
similiar to that of the former year, was shortly passed and 
published. Applications for camping ground poured in, the 
Lieutenant-Governor among the applicants, and a goodly 
gathering was assured. 

Arthur Rogers, then District Engineer of the B. and N. W. 
Railway, had laid down a new floor to, and generally reno- 
vated, the ball room. This was Mr. C. C. Stevens' last year 
as Commissioner of Patna, and sorry was everyone to lose 
him ; but an equally good fellow was to succeed him, David 
Lyall, whose prowess as a slayer of the unclean beast, in the 
Dacca jungles, was great in the land. The camps consisted 
of Sir Charles Elliott's, Mr. Stevens', Mr. Kemble's, Mr. 
Bourdillon's, Mr. Lockhart's, Mr. Brett's, Mr. Graham's, His 
Highness the Maharajah of Kuch Behar's, and several others, 
while the local Maharajahs of Hutwa, Durbangah, Doomraon, 
Bettiah and Gidour, all had camps, but vvere only entertaining 
their own native friends. Sonepore had not witnessed so 
much magnificence, pomp and display of native equipages 
and barbaric pearl and gold since Lord Mayo's year. The 
elephant fair was crowded. The outside racing men 
were represented by Mr. Ernest Gregory, Barty Bates, Cap- 
tain Gunn, the Ezra brothers, and Ernest Cowie from Calcutta, 
Frank Shakespear from Fyzabad, Captain Webb from the 
North-West. The jockeys present were Robinson, Trahan, 
Pugh, Griffiths, Ramshaw and Hardy. Mr. Gregory had 
brought up Miladi and Lady St. Clair. Mr. Ezra, old Exbank, 
Cruet and Busree. Charley Webb had Midas, Referee and 
Fairy. Jimmy had Knightsbridge, Black Donald, Gravity, 
Zuleika, Sylvester and a pretty chestnut Australian pony 



226 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

called after the old champion Fleur-de-Lys. Mr. Bob sent up 
Achievement from Midnapore and Mr. Dolby Sheik Esau. 
Ernest Cowie had Goldshares. Ross Palmer, good little Bravo 
and Beaufort. Jack Lowis, the spavined screw Munwyrtina, 
and there were a few more local horses and ponies, but a great 
falling off was visible from the days when Harry, Jimmy and 
poor Gwatkin, all had big strings. Goldshares opened the ball 
by winning the Lilliputs ; Blaze won the Hutwa Cup from 
Miladi, Knightsbridge, Exbank and Soudan ; old Refree sailed 
home for the Bettiah Cup ; Fleur-de-Lys, steered by Rowland, 
scored her maiden win in Jessop's Cup, Midas brought Char- 
ley Webb's, or rather Tim Lockhart's colors home in the 
Brokers' Cup, and Achievement cantered home for the Behar 
Stakes. On the second day Bravo won the Golightly Stakes, 
Captain Webb up, and Blaze put down the favorite Miladi 
for the big prize of the meeting, the Durbangah Cup. Refree 
scored another triumph for Charley Webb, winning Gunga 
Pershad's Cup ; Jimmy's Fleur-de-Lys won the big Pony Cup 
of a thousand rupees, presented by the Calcutta Agency 
houses, and Dragon won the Beck Cup. On the last day Sheik 
Esau beat Bravo in the Doomraon Cup, conceding the country- 
bred two stone, and Miladi lowered the colors of Blaze in the 
Civilians' Cup ; Refree secured the Trades' Plate, and The 
Cooch Behar Cup fell to Achievement. Munwyrtina carried 
off Messrs. Elkington's Cup for Jack Lowis ; and this ended 
a rather poor race meeting. But if the racing was poor, the 
social part of the fun was successful in the extreme. Those 
who know Lady Elliott can imagine how gracious and charm- 
ing she was to one and all, and it was with intense indignation 
a rumour was heard in the middle of the meeting, that the 
Chupra budmashes had broken into Sir Charles' tent during 
the night, and lifted some three thousand rupees and some 
jewellery belonging to the Steward's wife ; the thieves got off 
for the time. Geordie Graham was D.S.P. of Chupra and in 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 227 

charge of the camp, his hair did not turn grey, but he became 
prematurely bald. Sir Charles danced like a boy at the balls, 
and on the first night came a real good cropper, Harry Abbott 
went to help him up, and consoled him thusly : " Well done, 
Sir, you fall as you do everything else, most thoroughly." Sir 
Charles and Lady Elliott were lavish in their hospitality through- 
out the meeting, and gave a splendid ball as well. 

It is surprising that with all the fun going on and the de- 
mand on his time, His Honour found an opportunity not only 
to go through a great deal of work while at Sonepore, but to 
visit the Hajeepore Sub-Divison of the Mozufferpore District 
on the 1 6th instant. He was trollied across to the Hajeepore 
end of the Gunduck Bridge, where he got down and rode 
through Hajeepore and inspected minutely the Sub-Divisional 
Office, the Jail, the Moonsiff's Office and the Opium Office, and 
then walked over the Gunduck Bridge and rode from the 
Sonepore end (where his horse was waiting his return) to his 
camp. While at Sonepore he was frequently out riding and 
driving, and the rush of the crowd to see His Honour was a 
thing to be remembered, especially by those who happened to 
get mixed up in the thick. 

At the last ball on the night of the iyth instant, there 
were some excellent speeches made at the supper. 
" Jimmy " McLeod proposed the health of His Honour 
in a feeling speech. He welcomed His Honour to Sonepore, 
wished him a prosperous reign, and hoped that he would 
repeat his visit. Sir Charles, in replying, thanked the mem- 
bers of the meet and the Committee for the hearty wel- 
come they had extended to Lady Elliott and himself, and 
impressed on the planters the great influence they were cap- 
able of exercising for good or for evil, and hoped they would 
remember their position and exert their influence for the 
former only. He alluded to the Volunteer movement and to 
the stirring times of the Mutiny ; and pointed out how 



228 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

necessary it was for all to join as Volunteers, for though every- 
one may not think such a step immediately necessary, yet if a 
time came they would find what a small band of trained 
Englishmen could do even against tremendous odds. He 
could speak, he said, from his own experience what great ad- 
vantage discipline and training can effect. Mr. Stevens, in 
proposing the health of the Secretary, said that they were 
all under the apprehension, when Mr. Abbott resigned last 
year, that the Sonepore Meet would collapse, for who could 
manage so well as he ; the proof was the present meet, his 
excellent management was seen everywhere. So when Mr. 
Kemble, the Opium Agent, wrote in his usual persuasive 
style and asked him to resume the Secretaryship, everyone 
was happy that he had accepted this onerous post. Harry 
in returning thanks said that a great deal of the suc- 
cess of the meet depended on the cordial help he had 
received from several, especially from the Commissioner, the 
Opium Agent, Jimmy, Bob Lockhart and several of the plant- 
ers. At 10 A.M. on the i8th instant, Sir Charles, Lady 
Elliott and party left Sonepore for Mozufferpore by train, 
being escorted to the railway station by a troop of the Behar 
Light Horse. And thus ended one of the most magnificent 
meets that Sonepore has witnessed. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

YEAR 1892. 

In July 1892, at a meeting of Stewards, held in Calcutta, 
Harry Abbott asked to be relieved of his duties and suggested 
Mr. Bob Lockhart as his successor, but that festive sportsman 
declined, and so did several other localites, so Harry had to 
carry on the Secretaryship, and, publishing a programme early 
in August, drew excellent entries. The Stewards for the year in 
addition to the Maharajahs, were Messrs. Bourdillon, Graham 
Forbes, Kemble, Hopkins, Lockhart, Elliot, Gordon, Gladstone 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 22Q 

Hudson, Earle, Colonel Ilderton and Captain Edwards. Jimmy 
McLeod, for the first time for many years, was an absentee, 
having gone to Bonnie Scotland, leaving Donald Reed to 
run Lall Serryah for him. Camps were fewer than usual, owing 
to the depreciated rupee and a poor indigo season. The 
Lockharts' usual big gathering was non est, as they joined 
Mr. Earle's Camp ; but Arthur Forbes, now Commissioner of 
Patna, came to the rescue, and so did Mr. Earle, who was 
acting during Mr. Bourdillon's absence as Collector of Chupra, 
and both had huge camps. A big contingent of the Queen's 
Regiment turned up from Dmapore. Messrs. Graham and Hay 
Webb had camps, and Rowland Hudson occupied Jimmy's 
old site in the corner. Jimmy was not only missed by the 
Europeans, but many were the expressions of regret among 
the local horse dealers, for he was always a big buyer and ever 
ready to arbitrate between buyer and seller. No Sonepore dealer 
ever disputed Jimmy's dictum as to price. Among the visi- 
tors were Captain Webb, (this to be his last Sonepore), Cap- 
tain Eden Vansittart, Frank Shakespear, Captain Gunn, 
Mr. Fergusson from Behrampore, who had brought up old 
Yule Tide to carry his colors, and old Mr. Pell, the Calcutta 
boarding housekeeper, who had Velocity and Gerrard to ride 
him. Mr. Earle had put a board outside his camp, thoughtlessly 
dubbing it "Earleswood," of course he came in for considerable 
chaff, and the other campers called it the "Poggle Khana." Mr. 
Savi had come from Dacca with a batch of Government 
elephants for sale and managed to dispose of most of them. 
Harry Abbott brought up Exbank, whom he had trained sole- 
ly by swimming, and Jimmy Robinson had come to steer the 
old bay. Miladi had also been sent up by Mr. Gregory, the rest 
were all local horses. In spite of a small camp, the lotteries were 
well patronised throughout. The first day's racing proved a series 
of upsets. For the Doomraon Cup Kingsland was made a hot 
favorite, selling for Rs. 400 in a five hundred lottery, but 



230 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Ross Palmer on Mameluke beat him comfortably. Then 
Exbank waltzed home for the Hutwa Cup in front of the fa- 
vorites, Miladi and Blaze, Harry having got three quarters 
of him in three lotteries, the selling prices being Rs. 5, Rs. 10 
and Rs. 15. Yule Tide put down the heavily backed Camal- 
tha in the Bettiah Cup. The Deer was beaten by Bravo in 
Jessop's Cup, Ross Palmer as astonished at getting home as 
Rowland was at being beaten. At last a favorite ran up 
to expectations, and Rowland had some small consolation 
from steering Irish Jig in winner of the Brokers' Cup. On 
the second day Captain Webb rode little Tulloch in the 
Golightly Stakes and won it for Jack Lowis, beating Bravo, 
Cocoa and Wagunyah. Four only accepted for Durbangah's 
Cup, Harry having scratched Exbank. Miladi, Blaze, Velocity 
and Referee were left in. Mr. Gregory's mare won by a head 
after a dingdong finish with Captain North on Blaze, Wool's 
fine riding getting the best of the amateur. Mermaid, a dead 
outsider, won the Assistants' Race for Dick Summers, easily 
beating seven others. White Wings placed the Merchants' 
Cup to Mr. Fenton's credit, and then midst loud cheers Knights- 
bridge brought the black and yellow of the absent Laird of 
Lall Serryah first past the post for the Beck Pilsener Cup. 
Then a match took place between Unknown and Isa, loser to 
give his pony to winner ; the latter won and the Eurasian gent 
owning Unknown refused to part, till Harry settled matters 
by handing the pony to Mr. Holden, and as the dark gentle- 
man still remonstrated, Harry flung him over the rails and no 
more was heard of him. On Monday Ross Palmer gave the public 
another sell, winning Messrs. Bourne and Shepherd's Purse 
with Full Moon ; Exbank carrying top weight won the Civilians' 
Cup easily from Blaze, Bad Spec, Volant, Camaltha and Miss 
King. Tulloch beat the favorite, Bravo on the post for Messrs. 
Cutler Palmer's Purse, Captain Webb and Rowland riding a 
desperate finish. Referee won the Trades' Cup, The Fern 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



Cooch Behar's Cup, and Dragon Messrs. Elkington's Vase. 
Altogether'the racing was good and the purses equally divided. 
On Friday the Planters played the Queen's at polo and beat 
them badly. R. Hudson, Jack Barclay, Victor Hickley and San- 
dilands represented the Blues ; Taylor, Glasgow, Cowper and 
another officer, the Queen's. The Behar Wanderers also put a 
cricket team in the field against the Queen's, which match 
they pulled off with eighty odd runs to spare. Jack Campbell 
played a strong innings in the match and, when out, he had 
a total of 68 to his credit. Of other entertainments, there was 
a musical evening given by the members of the regimental camp 
round a bonfire on Sunday evening ; while the whole camp 
was invited to a very prettily arranged programme of tableaux 
vivants at " Earleswood " on Monday evening. The scenes re- 
presented were : four taken from Robin Grey, two from the 
poem " Home they brought her Warrior dead " and three from 
" Where are you going my pretty Maid ?" They were all 
very well rendered, especially the one where the widow was 
weeping over the body of her " warrior dead " ; singing and 
music accompanied each scene from behind the stage. On 
Tuesday afternoon, a little gymkhana was held ; it included a 
race for all ponies bought in the Fair, an Eka race, Gyla race 
and a jumping competition. The pony race for Messrs. 
Framjee and Co.'s Cup, was won by a pony belonging to Cap- 
tain Vansittart, with ease. 

The native fair was dirty and crowded as it always is ; 
the ponies were as numerous as ever, but in class somewhat 
below the average. Until the very end, the fair kept very 
healthy, but as it was breaking up cholera was reported to 
have appeared. An elephant also caused a little diversion, as 
it went mast, and getting into the crowd successfully placed 
two men and a woman hors de combat. The European 
tamasha was over by the nth, and what with wild 
elephants and a cholera scare, the native portion quickly 



232 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

dispersed. At the last supper, in response to Harry's bidding, 
absent Jimmy's health was drunk with Highland honors. Mr. 
Forbes proposed the Secretary's health, saying there were few 
Secretaries who could say like theirs, that he had seen the 
mothers of several of those present wooed and won at Sone- 
pore twenty or more years before. The Queen's boys carried 
Harry round the room and nearly spilt him a dozen times. 
As a memento of an enjoyable meeting the Stewards presented 
him with a very handsome piece of plate. Young Morshead, 
the Hajeepore Magistrate, met with a nasty accident while 
riding in the gymkhana ; trying to break gylas he ran a pointed 
bamboo into his leg, just missing the femoral artery, but he 
was amply consoled for his accident, for he got engaged 
during the meeting to Miss Hill, daughter of the best and 
bravest planter Lower Bengal ever boasted of, Archie Hills, 
now alas gathered to his fathers. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

YEAR 1893. 

Chupra sustained a regrettable loss when Jim Bourdillon, 
who had done so much for volunteering and cricket, as well as 
Sonepore, was transferred to the Board of Revenue early in 1893, 
the more so as his successor and schoolfellow, George Manisty, 
though a good fellow, knew nothing of racing, and was not, like 
his predecessor, in touch with the entire Behar community. 
Hamilton Gordon, the popular and hospitable Judge, had been 
replaced by Mr. Kelleher, a complete recluse, so a funeral 
pal seemed to have fallen over a station, which only a year 
before was famous for its hospitality and conviviality. The 
Sonepore racing programme, however, appeared with commend- 
able punctuality, Mr. Manisty replacing Mr. Bourdillon on 
the Stewards' list, while . Colonel St. Paul and Mr. George 
Paget of the Rifle Brigade were welcome additions. The 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 233 

first entries were promising, local owners showing up well. 
Mr. Arther Forbes, the sporting Patna Commissioner, always 
encourged the local officials to visit Sonepore, holding, and 
rightly, that they learnt more during those ten days of the 
community they lived amongst, than during the whole of the 
rest of the year. From the commencement of his Behar career, 
when as Magistrate of Taj pore, he cleared his sub-division of 
bud mashes and jackals, Arthur had ever loved a good horse 
and pour encourager les autres, he in 1893 bought at Weekes' 
sale that well-bred mare Lady Roseberry, as well as the weight 
carrying sprinter Wabba, to carry his light blue colors at 
Sonepore, and won with them too ; loud were the cheers as Lady 
Roseberry and Wabba fought out the issue for the Civilians' 
Cup; his old friend Charley Hay-Webb had kindly trained 
them on his capital course at Mooktapore. Mr. Gye, a nom de 
course but faintly veilingthe identity of the popular Mozufferpore 
medico, who was, ere he came to Behar, a shining light among 
Assam racing planters, had bought Profit and Lord Hopetoun 
from Green, the importer, and the horses had been trained at 
Mozufferpore by Mr. Thomas, an experienced cross-country 
and flat gentleman rider, who had come out from England to 
amuse himself by riding and training for " Groggy " Gregson, 
who under his racing name of Mr. Charles, also weighed in 
with numerous entries for Sonepore. The Rifle Brigade en- 
tered several, and the Chupra sportsmen, Arthur Vincent, who 
in September had married Miss Boileau, poor Sammy Ayres 
and Harry Boileau were well represented; Rowland Hudson 
had two good ponies, Mavis and Sir Hugh, both bred at Lall 
Serryah, but for the first time for many years not a single entry 
came in under the name of Mr. John. He was still at home. 
Victor Hickley, Phil the Fluter, and Ross Palmer, with Rowland 
Hudson worthily upheld the reputation of Ottur as a sporting 
centre y and Jack Barclay's evergreen Blaze figured among those 
Anxious to pull off some of the big events. 



234 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



How often of late years had newspaper critics been forced 
to write of Sonepore "Socially delightful, racingly poor," but 
of 1893, " an all round success" may honestly be written. A 
big new stable had sprung up at Mozufferpore, which, under 
the able management of that experienced G.R., Mr. L. 
Thomas, seemed likely to sweep the board. Calcutta sports- 
men poured in their entries, and Mr. C. Hay-Webb was 
known to have several good ones among his string at Mookta- 
pore, while Rowland Hudson and his rare " Oirish boy," 
Mr. Phil Murray, weighed in with a few good enough to come 
occasionally to the fore. So, from the very first, it was evi- 
dent we were not to have a one horse show, but really open 
racing. The Princes of Durbangah, Hutwa, Doomraon and 
Cooch Behar had all responded royally to the yearly call on 
them for Purses; the Calcutta Merchants, Brokers and Trades- 
men had also cordially weighed in with handsome cups and 
donations; while the heart of every fair maid who was invited 
there fluttered with anticipation of a rarely good time; and 
could caustic Teddy Drummond or that bravest of brave non- 
combatants, dear old Fraser McDonell, have been able like 
Asmodeus to float over the tent tops, they would have ac- 
knowledged their successors had not allowed their favorite 
old recreation ground to deteriorate. 

But while the lads and lassies thoroughly enjoyed them- 
selves, there was pleasurable pain to the older ones present in 
calling back to recollection the old faces that in days of yore 
used to frequent the grand stand, when if a hundred all told 
were present it was considered a record meeting. Large 
hearted Monty Turnbull, proud owner of the gallant Arab 
Hermit, and whose menagerie at the Hermitage, long before 
the Zoo was started in Calcutta, was a thing of delight to 
Mrs. Turnbull, but a source of supreme annoyance to the 
Ooryah bearers of the household; rubicund Charley Palmer, 
cleverest of medicos and straightest of racing men, bright- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 235 

eyed Teddy Oakes and that hardy Highlander McLeod of 
Skye and Chupra ; gaunt Wallace, the grand old snip who 
reared countrybreds at Monghyr good enough to win Vice- 
roys' Cups; Vincent, the Barrh Magistrate, and his erratic 
but popular brother-in-law mad Simmy; Lord Ulick Browne, 
Edward Studd, Ned Urquhart, Colonel Robarts and wealthy 
Seth Apcar, who as Mr. Payne, was a lion of the turf in 
those days these and heaps of others used to watch Nash, 
the Irvings, Gooch, Joseph, Blackburn, long Hall, Hackney, 
Challoner, Finch, Donaldson and the wiry Jaffir do many a des- 
perate finish for the Bettiah and Doomraon Cups of those 
days. And the winners of those races were generally prime 
favorites for the blue ribbons of the Calcutta Meetings. 
Poor Albert Mangles, who loved Sonepore dearly, and many 
more were missed sorely. And much did his legion of friends 
again regret the absence of one dear to them all, the King of 
Chumparun, hospitable Jimmy McLeod, who did not return to 
India till the meet was over. 

Harry Boileau, as Clerk of the Course, had made many im- 
provements, and, thanks to the generosity of H.H. the 
Maharajah of Hutwa, a new ball room floor was laid down. 
An office for the Secretary was also erected near Behari 
Singh's well, outside the enclosure railing put up three years 
ago, and which had long ago paid for itself. 

The first camp observable, as one entered, was occupying 
the old Lall Serryah site, and was the abode of the officers 
engaged in carrying out the Cadastral Catastrophe. Colonel 
Sandeman, Messrs. C. H. Macpherson, P. C. Lyon, Elliot 
Colvin, E. Macnaghten, Crighton, Symons and Warburton 
were the party. Opposite them, alone in all his glory, reigned 
Mr. C. J. O'Donnell, Collector of Patna, and next came the 
snug tents of Hugh Llewhellin, among whose guests was his 
brother George, erst Manager of Durbangah, out for a short 
cold weather tour. Passing down to the right were then seen 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



in their old quarters the numerous tents composing the popu- 
lar camp of Mr. Bob Lockhart, round whom had flocked a host 
of choice spirits whose fun and humour made the very canvas 
snigger with glee cannie Duncan Macpherson, Collector of 
Gya, as yet unscathed by love's young dream; Farquhar Mc- 
Kinnon, the burly chief of Bubnowlie; Jack Campbell the 
cricketer; trusty Bosun Elliot, loquacious Tim,with the pe- 
digree and performances of every racer present, at his fingers' 
ends; D. M. Lumsden, that beau sabreur of the Assam Valley 
Mounted Rifles; Fergusson, prince of Moorshedabad pig- 
stickers; several new and callow youths, and, last but not least, 
two grave and reverend seniors from Calcutta, Messrs. Cairns 
Deas and Keith Douglas. Snugly ensconsed between Messrs. 
Lockhart's and Boileau's camps was the abode of bliss raised 
by Mozufferpore's popular policeman, Colonel Ramsay, who 
had bidden from Calcutta as guests Sir William Jardine, 
Messrs. Gregson, Stuart and Thomas, as well as two local 
swains Mr. Baxter, a learned advocate of the Mozufferpore 
Bar, and Mr. Gibson, a mighty handler of the willow. Among 
the ladies of this camp were the Misses Morey, two fair maids 
from Behrampore, one of them a heroine and both accomplish- 
ed horsewomen ; well might their brave old dad be proud of 
such a pair of winsome lassies. Large loomed the white walls 
of Mr. Boileau's camp, and over thirty daily placed their legs 
under his mahogany. The sporting son of a sporting sire, 
bright " Glass" Vincent and Harry Boileau both had invested in 
race horses, but they we*e not fortunate enough to secure 
winning brackets. The Rifle Brigade had two of their 
officers in this camp, Messrs. Paget and Paley, and the 
military were further represented by Captain Middleton 
in quest of remounts, and that cleverest of V.S.'s Cap- 
tain Gunn, who was on duty judging the fair horses for 
prizes with Harry Abbott. Herbert Holmwood and several 
others completed the merry gathering. Then came the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 237 

leviathan camp of Mr. Arthur Forbes, with whom was that 
bon raconteur Mr. A. C. Brett, whose last year this was 
at Sonepore, for he retired shortly from a service of which he 
had been an invaluable officer ; Major Hawkeshaw, from the 
Dinapore Battery, whose soothing tootlings on a brass bugle 
nightly lulled to slumber every baby in the camp and en- 
raptured the adults ; " Chuckie" Macguire, brother of the well- 
known Member of Parliament, a most useful adjunct to the 
lottery room, and a born stump orator ; Charley Hay-Webb, 
the successful trainer of Lady Rosebery, Wabba and old 
Referee ; Apples, worthy descendant of the mighty Nimrod, 
now alas grown too fat to ride featherweights; that king of the 
whist table, H. C. Williams, now bossing the Calcutta Muni- 
cipal Baboos, but well-known and liked by Assam planters ; 
and a legion of future Lieutenant-Governors headed by the 
sportive Egerton of Sitamarhi, who had been taught how to ride 
finishes by that experienced Archer, the Shrimp truly a goodly 
lot. Then next, in all their glory, shone one of the most popular 
regiments that has ever garrisoned Dinapore The Queen's, 
whose officers had turned up in force to this their last Sonepore, 
and right royally did they dispense hospitality, their camp being 
almost every night the rendezvous for everyone. Long will Behar 
remember the gallant Queen's, and much will they be missed. 
From Colonel Ilderton down to the youngest Sub., from the 
day they arrived at Dinapore they did their best to be hospit- 
able and friendly and succeeded admirably in their endeav- 
ours. Vale ; good fellows all. Opposite the Queen's, was the 
encampment of that benign old Marlburian, Mr. G. E. 
Manisty, who struck terror into the cow killing agitators of the 
Chupra District ; many had he bidden but many had disappoint- 
ed, though Calcutta sent him one of its ablest lawyers. Mr. 
Robertson ; Mr. G. C. Dey was also one of his guests. Mr. 
Mills from Bankipore, than whom no better host exists, had, 
as he used to in the old Gya days, a heap of visitors and as 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



befits a gay bachelor half a score of ladies to grace his pretty 
shamiana. Mozufferpore's genial Collector, Mr. L. Hare, had 
gathered round him a well chosen lot of friends the Barclays 
from Motipore, the Streatfields, the Hudsons and George 
Hennessy, Lord of Muttrapore, who pronounced Sonepore the 
place above all in which to spend " an 'appy 'oliday." Last on 
the line came the camp of George Disney, the talented Dis- 
trict Engineer of Tirhoot, who had innumerable Mozufferpore 
friends to fill his tents. 

The racing throughout was excellent, the finishes close, 
the favorites frequently beaten, the fields large and the prizes 
equally divided, no one went away either losing or winning 
heavily. It was regretted that neither Mr. E. H. Gregory nor 
Mr. G. Paget scored a win after coming all the way from 
Calcutta. 

The balls were distinctly successful, though the room was 
scarcely big enough, and it was resolved to enlarge it either next 
year or the year after. Messrs. Framji as caterers surpassed 
themselves, and, considering the enormous difficulties they had 
to contend against in such an isolated spot, richly deserved a 
decoration for their excellent management. Above all the 
wine was superb. At Saturday night's supper Mr. Forbes 
proposed the Honorary Secretary's health, which was drunk 
with all honors, and that ancient's reply would have drawn 
tears from the eyes of a dead jackal. So ended the Sonepore 
Race Meet of 1893, over which the Stewards might will have 
sung O jubilate! O jubilate ! 

These reminiscences would be incomplete if they did not 
chronicle the history of that fine old fellow Tom the Barber, 
who in his Highland dress and silver belt and chains is one of 
Sonepore's chief celebrities ; a prime favorite with everyone of 
the older generation is Tom, and every year he turns up to 
shave his patrons and get his customary ten or twenty rupees 
present from each. Much service has Tom seen; born in 1835 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 239 

at Meerut, where his father was barber to the 44th Regiment, 
he was the pet of the soldiers, till at the ill-fated Khyber Pass 
in 1842, when only Brydon escaped, the barber was among 
the killed. The widow then brought little Tom to Chupra, 
where she had relatives. When the 8oth Regiment came 
back from the Punjab campaign and was sent to Dinapore 
in 1849, Tom's elder brother, Hira Lall, who was barber to the 
Regiment, sent for the youngster and taught him the art of 
shaving. In 1853 Tom went with the Regiment to Burma, 
and was present at the night attack on, and capture of, Marta- 
ban, also the taking of Rangoon, where he remained two years. 
In 1855 tne Regiment came to Dum Dum, where it broke up ; 
but Captain Christie and Dr. Taylor went with a body of 
volunters to join the y8th Regiment then at Poona, Tom 
accompanied them, and after staying there a year, followed 
them to Persia, where he witnessed the taking of Bushire Fort, 
Khoushab, and Mahamra, was there seven months, then back 
to Calcutta. During the stirring times of the Mutiny he was 
first stationed at Chinsurah, under the gallant Outram, and saw 
Havelock disarm the mutinous Sepoys. In those days Ranee- 
gunge was the terminus of the E.I.R., and thence the y8th 
marched to Bilung Sihair, where it defeated the mutineers, 
and away to Fatehpore, which was sacked and looted, then to 
Cawnpore, where the battle rage all day on the open maidan^ 
about twenty thousand mutineers facing the four thousand 
British and loyal native troops. The y8th, the 64th, the Madras 
Fusiliers, two companies of Sikhs, and Captain Morris' bullock 
battery from Benares, were the troops in action. George Augus- 
tus Stack, now at Bankipore, was one of the Volunteer Cavalry. 
They fought all day, camping on the open fields at night, and 
next day attacked Cawnpore and carried the Cavalry Barracks, 
the mutineers skeedaddling during the night, though ere going 
the fiends murdered poor Miss Wheeler, daughter of the Gene- 
ral; Nana Row, the foul Mahratta, got off, and was supposed to 



240 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

have taken with him many unfortunate English women. After 
sacking Cawnpore, the regiment started for Lucknow, fought 
at Umritsur, Mungulwara and Busiratgunge, but owing to the 
road being blocked by overwhelming hordes of mutineers, 
was unable to reach its destination and had to retreat to 
Cawnpore, but being reinforced in a few days, it took the 
road again, and fought at Nawabgunge, and afterwards for 
three days and nights outside the Alum Bagh, rain pelting 
down on the conflicting forces the whole time. In the Amena 
Bazar, when they got into Lucknow, they sustained heavy 
firing from both sides of the street, till Henry Havelock or- 
dered his men to fix bayonets, storm the houses, and heave 
the mutineers into the street. Tom had a cut or two at several 
of the curs. The y8th being in the rear were terribly cut up. 
Captain Moore's Artillery were in front. Drs. Lee and Mac- 
master, who nobly earned the Victoria Cross, attended to the 
wounded. At night the English drove back the rebels, and 
gained the shelter of the Residency, where they were besieged 
two months ; the 32nd had been there six months. Tom 
was instrumental in saving Miss Boileau, who was slightly 
lame. From the other side of the Gumti the rebels 
kept up night and day an unceasing fusilade. Then 
Sir Colin Campbell arrived, and poor Havelock died and was 
buried in the Alum Bagh. Lucknow was stormed and 
fell after seven months' fighting, and shortly afterwards 
came the welcome news that Delhi had fallen, and when 
the troops heard it, they threw their caps into the air and 
made the walls rr-echo to their cheers. Hell-Fire Jack Olphert, 
a connection of Tumbling Tommy's, was conspicuous for his 
bravery throughout the siege. At Bareilly Tom's regiment 
fought those brave mutineers the red-puggried long-booted 
Pathan cavalry, and horrible was the revenge dealt out to them, 
for when they were routed and retreating, the sweepers caught 
dozens of them, poured oil over, set fire to, an4 then threw 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 241 

them down wells. The y8th stopped at Bareilly when the 
Mutiny was over and Tom went to Dinapore. Then he 
joined the ygth Highlanders at Lucknow and went to Mian 
Mir. Tom was thirteen years with this fine regiment, follow- 
ing it to Ferozepore, Nowshera, Attock, Peshawar and 
Komti. When it went home in 1879 he joined the y2nd Regi- 
ment at Deolali in the Bombay Presidency, staying eight 
years at Umballa and Peshawar ; he accompanied the ygth 
to Afghanistan, waiting two months at Kohat for Shir 
AH Khan, the Amir, to meet General Roberts, but the wily 
Afghan never turned up. Shortly afterwards .orders were given 
that no barbers were to be allowed to go to the front, so Tom 
went home to Chupra, where he has since remained, having 
bought a little land. He was greatly grieved this year at the 
loss of his only son, of whom he was very fond. Tom is 
a most amusing old fellow, but never intrusive; he has 
a wonderful memory, and it is very interesting ,to hear 
his anecdotes about the various regiments he has served 
with. There is a good story told about him and Antony 
Patrick Macdonnell. When the latter first went to Chupra as 
Collector, he sent for Tom to shave him and began pumping 
him about the planters of the district, but Tom shut him up, 
neatly saying/' I never go about gossiping, Sir, a still toiigue 
makes no enemies." 



CHAPTER XL. 

YEAR 1894. 

In April 1894 died at home one of the most popular of the 
Sonepore Stewards and again the Indian Planters' Gazette 
had the sad task of writing the obituary of one of Behar'-s 
best planters. The Editor said : " We little thought when 
bidding poor Willie Elliot, Godspeed, on his leaving for a trip 
home, scarcely two months ago, that we had wrung his honest 
hand for the last time but alas! that it should be so; this week's 



242 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

mail brought the sad news of his death, which occurred the very 
day fortnight after he reached England. It had been known 
to most of his chief friends for some time that his heart was 
seriously affected; but his cheery disposition, and strong 
steadfastness of purpose, made him stick to work instead 
of taking the rest so necessary for one suffering from so dan- 
gerous a complaint, and it was only the serious warnings of 
his medical advisers and the affectionate persuasions of 
friends that induced him to throw up his arduous work at 
Nowada and go home for treatment. But the weakness be- 
gotten by fretting over the death of a beloved wife, the anx- 
ieties and responsibilities of the two poor motherless bairns 
she had left to his sole care, added to the worries of manag- 
ing a property requiring the most unceasing vigilance and 
economical working, told upon a constitution that was initially 
perfect ; and when to this was added the excitement of 
meeting all those near and dear to him at home, the weakened 
frame collapsed, and he died, we can only hope, painlessly. 
Another of the good old lot gone ; a worthy scion of one of 
the best of the pioneer families, who won India for England ; 
there never was an Elliot out here yet, that was not true grit 
to the core. Of an exceptionally sweet nature, the poor old 
f Bo' sun * was a splendid specimen of a Behar planter. Held 
in solid esteem by Civilians, beloved by his brother planters, 
and heartily respected by his native servants and tenants for 
they could trust him implicitly Willie Elliot, in all truth, 
never made an enemy. Ge<ntle as a woman, his poor little 
children will miss him sorely, for his affection for and tender 
care of them after their mother's death was one of the finest 
traits in an almost faultless character. Many a tear will spring 
to the eyes of his lady friends in Chupra, and many a rough 
planter's lip will quiver on hearing of the sudden death of that 
simple-hearted but sterling good fellow. ' Bo'sun ' Elliot's 
sorrowing relatives have our sincerest sympathies." 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 243 

Among the many constant visitors to Sonepore Bob 
Lockhart's brother, Tim, is ever conspicuous ; Skin Wilson 
drew a very clever caricature of him, which appeared in the 
f.P.G. in April and under which Harry Abbott penned the fol- 
lowing doggel lines : 

" You still are well preserved Tim 
And though not married yet, 
Some buxom monied widow 
May claim you for her pet ; 

And tho' your locks are scanty, 
Your figure still keeps slim, 
At heart there's not a better chap 
Than garrulous old Tim." 

Nor is there. Tim is a thoroughly good chap and can 
handicap cleverly. Very welcome to the Sarun planters, and 
the Sonepore Stewards in particular, was the news that Mr. 
F. A. Slack was appointed Collector and Mr. H. Place, Judge 
of the District, and all looked forward in consequence, to a 
rattling good meeting; nor were they disappointed. To the 
race powers of organisation possessed by Mr. Slack, visitors 
owed two of the best Sonepores on record. 

In June, the Indian Planters' Gazette published a resume 
of Lord William Beresford's Indian racing career. It is curious 
that though Fighting Bill has at various times sent several ponies 
and horses to carry his colors at Sonepore, he only once 
visited the meeting. During June we heard of the sad death 
at home of one whose cheery face had often been seen watch- 
ing the races from the Sonepore Stand brave and straight 
General Montagu James Turnbull. Again had Harry Abbott 
the painful task of penning the obituary of one of his oldest 
and kindest friends. Monty was so well known and beloved 
by the old frequenters of Sonepore, that an extract from his 
career will not be out of place in this record of his favorite 
Mofussjl race meeting. 



244 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

-." Among the deaths in England of old Indians we notice, 
with deep regret, that of General Montagu James Turnbull, 
w r ho in the 'fifties' and 'sixties' was one of the leading 
lights of the Calcutta race meetings. He was a Steward of 
the Turf Club from 1861 till he retired on pension in 1874, 
and acted for many years as head of the Army Clothing De- 
partment. Colonel and Mrs. Turnbull lived at Alipore in that 
snug little bungalow still known as ( The Hermitage,' and 
which was christened after his bonny Arab, Hermit, winner of 
many races on this course. The grand steeds of The Desert 
had no stauncher friend and admirer than ' Monty ' Turnbull, 
and though he never had the luck to win the then blue ribbon 
of India's Turf, it was not for want of trying. Writing of him 
in The Englishman after the big meeting of 1866, his old 
crony and bosom friend, W. H. Abbott said : 

' Now once more Pipps forget the past and tell us who 

they be 
Who stand among the horses there, collected round 

that tree ; 

I turned and looked and Monty stood amid his Arab pets 
And with friend Pritchard showed their points to two 

admiring Vets. 

And happy as a king he'll be that sportsman good as gold, 
Altho' it seems hard lines to him that Hermit should 

grow old ; 

If he can only hit upon some little Arab pet, 
That will answer all his yearnings and win the Derby 

yet.' 

" Not one of the old lot that were Stewards of the 
Calcutta meeting in 1861 are now in India; the majority 
are dead, though Lord Ulick Browne still lives in honor- 
able retirement in London ; but Oh, what Arab racing 
used to be seen on the Calcutta course in those years! 
A dozen would frequently go out, and from start to 
finish the proverbial blanket would have covered the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 245 

lot. Good old Sheik Esau Bin Kurtas then had the stables 
now occupied by Veterinary-Surgeon Lauter, and many 
a Derby winner hailed from his stalls. There is, we believe, 
only one sportsman now left in Calcutta of the many that 
used to race in those days, a gentleman whose name was 
held in the highest esteem, for through a long and deservedly 
honoured career he ever went straight as a die we allude to 
Mr. G. M. Blacker. Aye, they were a fine old lot who sup- 
ported the Turf then, Officers of Her Majesty's Service, Civi- 
lians and Merchants -men who raced for the love of the game 
and the horse too, and who kept up the grandest sport in the 
world, without dragging into it native millionaires, most 
of whom care not a brass farthing for either horses or sport 
itself, but merely join in because it introduces them to Euro- 
pean society, and brings their names prominently before the 
public. H.H. of Cooch Behar is one of the notable excep- 
tions. As poor Surgeon-Colonel Gaye wrote us only a few 
days before his death, there was real camaraderie among the 
old bloods of the turf. In those days professionals were not 
too numerous, and light weight ones few and far between, so 
G.R.'s had a far better time than now, for the Burra Sahebs, 
not only did not mind our getting up in chases, but when they 
found youngsters who could ride, they would buy horses for 
the fun of seeing us steer them ; and is there anything in this 
life to equal the keen enjoyment felt, when with a good, fit, 
sound nag under you, pitted against your best pals, you go 
sailing away over three miles of sensibly built fences ? Aus- 
tralia's only poet, poor Adam Lindsay Gordon, describes it 
well, and why ? because he experienced it times without 
number : 

Oh the vigour with which the Earth is rife, 

The spirit of joyous motion ; 

The fever, the fulness of animal life 

Can be drained from no earthly potion. 



246 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPOEE, 

The lungs with the living gas grow light, 

And the limbs feel the strength of ten ; 

And the chest expands with its maddening might, 

God's glorious oxygen. 

Thus the measured stroke on elastic sward, 
Of the steed three parts extended ; 
Hard held, the breath of his nostrils broad. 
With the golden ether blended. 

Then the leap, the rise from the springy turf, 
The rush through the buoyant air ; 
And the light shock landing the veriest serf, 
Is an Emperor then and there. 

" None save those who have ridden and loved it, can com- 
prehend the ecstacy of a stern steeplechase fought out to the 
last. Although Colonel Turubull did not in his latter days ride 
himself, he was no mean horseman, and after a pig or over a 
country he was bad to beat. He had the love of the horse 
born in him, and as a leader of Indian sport, a greater favorite 
could not have existed, for he was universally trusted and 
loved. He virtually edited for some time our then only sport- 
ing organ The Oriental Sporting Magazine and to him 
everyone turned for aid and advice. Curiously enough tailors 
had a lot to do with the Turf then, for Major Turnbull was 
head of the Army Clothing Department, the Clerk of the 
Course was his head assistant, Mr. Pritchard, and the Starter 
that prince of sportsmen, the Poole of those days, Mr. Wallace, 
the fashionable sartorial artist, who with horses of his own 
breeding won two or three Viceroy's Cups. There have been 
few better lady riders in India than Mrs. Turnbull, who was 
a Miss Apperley, a daughter of the mighty " Nimrod." Horace 
Hayes says of her : 

" ' Mrs. Turbull was one of the most accomplished horse- 
women we have ever had in the East- Her brilliant riding stoocl 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 247 

her in good stead in the many dangers she passed through by 
her husband's side and which would have crushed a less daunt- 
less spirit. Although she was everything that was soft, win- 
ning and womanly, her heart knew no fear. During the time 
of the Sind Mutiny she rode along with her husband at the 
head of his regiment, which was disaffected, 129 marches 
from Umballa to Shikarpur, where the mutiny burst out. 
They were encamped in the month of July under canvas at 
Roree on the Indus, with the thermometer ranging from 
127 to I30F. daily in the shade. Strange to say, during 
that heat they had only one man sick in hospital, although after 
they reached their head-quarters at Shikarpur to Muttra, they 
rode over the late battlefield of Ferozeshah to reach their 
camp. When proceeding with the Bombay column from 
Sukkur en route for Mooltan, before the surrender of that fort, 
Sir Charles Napier stopped the regiment, at the head of which 
were the Colonel and his wife, to compliment her on the 
example she had set during her two years' stay in Sind. Sir 
Charles and his staff often drank a toast after dinner to * The 
Star of the Desert' as they used to call her. She w r as present 
with her husband at Shikarpur during the Sind Mutiny, when 
that wily old General, George Hunter, induced a Native Infantry 
Regiment to proceed to Sukkur to have their supposed griev- 
ances inquired into, and then trapped them on arrival by a 
wing of the i3th Light Infantry and a masked battery of Euro- 
pean artillery. This ruse resulted in about sixty of the mutin- 
ous ringleaders being given up on threat of the regiment being 
annihilated. Fifty were transported for life and eight were 
hanged on one gallows. Seven of the latter spared all trouble 
to the executioner by jumping off the platform and thereby 
strangling themselves, while the eighth continued to call on 
his regiment to come to his rescue until the bolt was drawn.' 
"She took her handsome Arab Cuckoo home with her, and 
used to ride him regularly in the Park ; we believe the old 



248 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

horse is still alive. Hermes went home too, but died of 
stroke in the Red Sea. Mrs. Turnbull was passionately fond 
of dumb animals and ' The Hermitage ' was a regular mena- 
gerie squirrels, dogs, birds, monkeys, were collected by her 
in numbers and very tenderly cared for, while the stables were 
always full of thoroughbreds, mostly Arabs. 

" Among the Colonel's best Arabs was Hermit, a flea-bitten 
grey ; he ran second to Rocket for the Calcutta Derby of 1860, 
but he ran the same horse a dead heat in the Great Welter ; 
he won the Calcutta Stakes, two miles, beating the Australian 
Ellerton in 3mins. 51 sees. He got beaten by two lengths in 
the Trades Cup in 1862 by the English mare Voltege, who 
ran the two miles in 3mins. 46secs. Opal was another of the 
Colonel's Arabs that was a very handsome horse. Mrs. Turn- 
bull took him to England in 1862 and he took first prize in the 
Arab class at the Islington Show. Starlight, late Mangosteen, 
was a beautiful bay, which he won in a raffle of the old 
Sheik's. 

" General Turnbull died at the ripe age of 75 at his 
residence at Southwick, near Brighton, called ' The Hermit- 
age ' after his old bungalow at Alipore. His official record 
which is taken from The Statesman is as follows : 

" c Montagu James Turnbull joined the yth Bengal Cavalry 
as a cornet in 1836, and was promoted Lieutenant in 1841. 
He first saw active service with his regiment in Sir Charles 
Napier's famous desert campaigns in Sind in 1844-45, when 
that general endeavoured to settle the turbulent frontier of 
the province he had recently conquered. He was senior 
lieutenant in his regiment when the news arrived of the 
murder of Mr. Vans Agnew and Lieutenant Anderson at 
Mooltan in 1848. One of the forces at once organised to 
operate against the Sikhs was formed in Sind and placed 
under the command of Colonel Hugh Wheeler of the 48th 
Bengal Native Infantry, better known as the unfortunate Sir 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 249 

Hugh Wheeler, who fell at Cawnpore during the Mutiny ; it 
included the yth Bengal Cavalry, and acted on the left 
of the main army which, under Lord Gough, fought the 
battles of Chilianwala and Gujrat, and Lieutenant Montagu 
Turnbull served during the greater part of the campaign 
as officiating Quarter-Master-General to the force. He was 
specially mentioned in Sir Hugh Wheeler's despatch, and 
was rewarded for his military services on the annexation of 
the Punjab by being removed to civil employ and posted as 
Assistant Commissioner in the Punjab in April 1849. He did 
not long remain in the Punjab, however, for, after being pro- 
moted captain in June 1851, he was appointed Agent for 
Army Clothing at Fort William in December of the same year. 
" 'When the news of the mutiny of the Bengal Army, of 
the loss of Delhi, and of the general spread of the revolt, 
reached the capital, something of a panic seized on Calcutta 
society, and, after one abrupt refusal, Lord Canning gave per- 
mission, on nth June 1857, f r the enlistment of a body of 
volunteers. The Calcutta Volunteer Guards were divided into 
cavalry and infantry, and Captain Turnbull was placed in 
command of the former force. Colonel G. B. Malleson, who 
was at this time resident in Calcutta, speaks of Montagu 
Turnbull as "a splendid specimen of a cavalry officer. . . . 
Not only was he ' every inch a soldier/ possessing an inspering 
presence and most genial manners, but he was loved by all 
with whom he came in contact. I never heard a single man speak 
ill of him, nor do I believe that he had an enemy. He was 
the man of all others to secure the confidence and affection 
of the classes forming the cavalry of the volunteers, and he 
secured both." (Malleson's History of the Indian Mutiny, 
vol. VI., p. 17.) The Calcutta Volunteer Guards, though they 
attained considerable proficiency on parade and did good ser- 
vice in restoring confidence among the European residents 
in Calcutta, were not called on to take the field, and so Captain 



250 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Turnbull had no opportunity of distinguishing himself during 
the great struggle. But his merits were recognised, and he 
received rapid promotion. In February 1861 he was gazetted 
Major in the newly-raised 2nd Bengal European Cavalry, in 
June of next year he was promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, 
and in February 1863 he joined the Bengal Staff Corps as 
Lieutenant-Colonel. In the following year he was made 
Superintendent and Agent for Army Clothing in Calcutta, a 
post which he held until he left India in 1874. In 1876 he 
was promoted Colonel, in 1879 Major-General, in 1881 Lieute- 
nant-general and in 1889 General.' " 

Poor Bertie Short, one of India's most brilliant horsemen 
and who had been settled at Gyeghat in Chupra for some 
years, had had to give up race riding owing to gout, and he 
most unfortunately succumbed to that painful complaint early 
in June ; although he has given to Indian readers a most amusing 
account of his own racing recollections in " Between the 
Indian Flags," yet what was written at his death in the 
7. P. 6r, will be interesting to all who knew the harum scarum 
original, but who may not have seen the issue of the Gazette in 
which it was published. 

" The death at the comparatively young age of forty-five 
removes from the ranks of Indian sportsmen one of its best 
known members, for the man who rode with a hook was ten 
years ago one of the most familiar figures at North-West fix- 
tures. A son of Colonel Short, R. E., one of the truest and brav- 
est gentlemen that ever wore her Majesty's uniform, William 
Bertie was born in India and sent home in early youth for educa- 
tion. After short terms at two or three Preparatory Schools he 
was sent to Marlborough being a somewhat junior contemporary 
of several old Marlburians still in India, Mr. G. E. Manisty, Ac- 
countant General, Mr. J. A. Bourdillon, Board of Revenue, Cap- 
tain J. Hext C.I.E., Indian Marine, Mr. Robertson Pughe, Bengal 
Police, Mr. Herbert Spry of Tirhootand Harry Abbott, and others. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 25! 

He proved as big a madcap at school as he did afterwards 
through most of his adventurous career in this country. After 
Jeaving Marlborough he was sent to Hodson's, the then well- 
known London crammer, to try for the Indian Civil Service, 
but the many escapades he played there made old Hodson so 
sick that the latter asked him to seek fresh fields ; and then Mr. 
Hughes of Baling took him in hand, but he nearly blew the 
whole school up practising gunnery and had to leave in con- 
sequence. Messrs. D'Artois and Watkins of St. John's Wood 
got him through for Direct Commissions at Chelsea and he 
came out to this country, but instead of going in for the army he 
joined the North -West Police in 1870, and was gazetted to 
Bareilly, being afterwards sent to Pilibheet, where he showed 
his grit in a row that occurred between the rival races of Hin- 
doos and Mahommedans. Unfortunately the two feasts of the 
Ramnomi and Mohurrum fell on the same day, and in spite 
of the sensible arrangements made by the Cbllecter, Mn 
White, the two factions got to logger-heads and a regular 
Donnybrook was the result. Messrs. White and Short in en- 
deavouring to quiet the mob were mobbed and assaulted, 
as also was a respectable native Honorary Magistrate who 
tried to reason with the ringleaders. As a last resource 
Bertie Short got the Magistrate's leave to fire on the rioters 
which had the result of putting them to flight, leaving five 
men severely wounded. Of course a Commission was appoint- 
ed to enquire into the affair and the officers were not only 
exonerated but praised for their action which undoubtedly 
saved the town from being wrecked. In 1872 Bertie, who 
had ere this proved himself a rare good man after pig, or 
over a country after the wily jack, began to develope a love 
for racing and particularly for steeplechasing, which never left 
him. His first mount in the pigskin with the colours up was 
at Bareilly on Colonel Pennycuick's Australian mare Lassie 
in the Hurdle Race, which he wort easily. In November 1872 



252 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

he was transferred to Mozuffernuggur and during the cold 
season won several chases at Dehra, Umballa and Meerut. 
In 1873 he applied for and got appointed to Dehra and here 
he was in his element, for the pretty little station was then in 
its zenith as a training centre and was filled with sportsmen, 
prominent anong them, that grand old soldier Colonel Robarts, 
Colonel Need, David Papillon, Captain Maxwell, Abdool 
Ghyas, Captain Phillip, Dr. Sewell, Kelly Maitland, Joe 
Rainford, and Bricky Collins the contractor, Dr. Marmaduke 
Tippets, and Oscar Dignum the professional who taught 
Bertie how to ride with judgment and finish. At Lucknow 
that year Bertie won one of his best ridden chases ; nine 
started, Horace Hayes on that sweet mare Brown Duchess, 
Captain Franks, one of the best G. R.'s that ever flung boot 
over saddle, on the favourite, Time, David Papillon who, short- 
legged and thick set as he was, was an artist as far as hands 
and judgment of pace went, Captain Grant on Sunbeam, 
Mr. Hartwell on Marquis, Fred Welcome, the professional, 
afterwards Messrs. Hart Bros' trusty head man, on Harkaway, 
an uncommonly nice looking chestnut Australian, Bertie on 
War Eagle, then Joe Rainford's property, O'Conner on Hilde- 
garde and Crook on Major Harris' Duke. Owing to the crass 
stupidity of the owl who was responsible for the building of 
the course, the first fence would scarcely permit of five horses 
jumping it abreast, and as there were nine starters, grief was 
inevitable. Time, Harkaway, Sunbeam, Hildegarde and 
Brown Duchess, all collided and fell, and War Eagle won 
easily. On the same game horse he won the Grand Annual 
and the Handicap Chase at Dehra. At the Umballa Spring 
Meeting he won the Handicap Steeplechase on David Papil- 
lon's Doctor. At Bareilly he once more steered War Eagle to 
the front. In the chase, a terribly big bank which Marmaduke 
Tippets had erected purposely to stop War Eagle was nego- 
tiated by this superb fencer in magnificent style, but the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 253 

other two starters never got over it. At Assensole where 
he had not at first had an altogether good time, only win- 
ning a couple of flat races with Liberty, an English gelding 
by Blair Athol, he bought Daybreak in the selling race, and 
won the best part of his price back in the Colliery Hurdles. 
Daybreak had been the property of those well-known 
Tirhoot Planters Mr. Edmund Macnaghten and the late 
Mr. Fred Wingrove, best known to his familiars as Bug- 
gins. At Ballygunge in '74 Bertie foolishly rode War Eagle 
with one hand, having sprained his arm riding Merlin in the 
big chase at Assensole and lost the race in consequence. At 
Cawnpore he won the Leger with Daybreak and the Chase 
too. At Lucknow riding as Mr. Rinaldo, for he was absent 
from duty without leave, he won the Goomtee Chase on Mr. 
Baker's grey Arab Sikunder, and a mile flat handicap on his 
own mare Mermaid. At Meerut he won the Galloway Chase 
on Phratos, belonging to Mr. Percy Hills of the Rifle Brigade. 
Daybreak had by this time nearly broken him and he sold him 
and Mermaid to a native sportsman and went back to his 
head quarters Jhansi, but being unable to find any decent 
excuse for his two months' absence without leave, he was 
gazetted out, and the North-West Police lost a valuable if 
somewhat erratic officer. But though out of harness Bertie 
was not going to give up the game his soul loved so well, and 
he succeeded in inducing Joe Rainford to sell him a horse 
called Red Eagle, late Beggarman, and off he went to Luck- 
now and opened the ball by winning the Trials on Dr. Deane's 
Pilgrim, but in the chase Red Eagle refused. At Cawnpore he 
came a cropper off Dignum's Don Juan in the chase and broke 
his collar bone and a handful of his ribs on his right side, and 
he was three weeks in bed. At Dehra in September, 1874 
he won the Handicap Chase on his old horse Daybreak, now be- 
longing to Jaffer who had seized him for training dues from 
the nobleman Bertie had sold him to, the said nobleman being, 



254 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



by the way, aTirhoot butcher's son. Colonel Need soon after 
this bought Daybreak and once more Bertie got him home at 
Umballa in the Ladies' Plate Hurdle Race. At Meerut he 
won the Meerut Cup Chase on Shamrock, property of Colonel 
Montmorency of the 59th Regiment. At Agra he steered his 
old pet, War Eagle, to victory in the All Horse Chase and 
won the Arab and C. B. Chase on Shamrock and the Pony 
Chase on Charsley Thomas' Kitty ^a grand day. At Bally- 
gunge he would have won the cup on War Eagle, but went 
the wrong course when turning the home corner. At Luck- 
now he was again lucky enough to win the Goomtee and 
Handicap Chases on Firefly, who had never seen a jump till 
the day before the race. In 1875 Bertie was still living at 
Mussoorie but used to attend all the N.-W. fixtures regularly, 
and in May he was asked to buy a couple of nags by Mr. 
Charley Mangles and to take charge of and train them at 
Dehra, he bought that nice mare Finette from Kelly Maitland 
and he had Lothair and one or two others in his stable. It 
was there that he met with the terrible accident which de- 
prived him of his right hand. One morning in June when 
cantering round the course on a beast of a country-bred entire, 
the brute refused a little drain the natives had dug across the 
coAirse to let the water out of their fields when, as Bertie 
shook the reins, the beast turned round and seized him by the 
arm literally dragging him out of the saddle and having got him 
down set to pawing him, a regular rough and tumble ensued 
for fully ten minutes, no one being in sight to help. At last 
a native came by with a stick, and Bertie took it and by 
ramming it right down the pony's throat forced him to open 
his mouth, but both wrist bones were so hopelessly crushed 
that amputation was imperative. The head sawbones of the 
station wanted to amputate above the elbow, but his junior, 
Dr. Maclaren, said, " No ; it need only come off from just above 
the injury," and Bertie pluckily suggested, when the ancient 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



one foretold a certainty of mortification that they could go 
on taking off slices as long as they left the elbow joint for 
with that he could, and without it he could not, ride again. 
Fortunately Dr. Maclaren proved right, and the patient 
was soon out and about again. His inventive genius did not 
let the loss of his hand bother him long, for while in bed he 
taught himself to write with his left hand and he got a local 
Mistree to make him a sort of bucket which fastened on to the 
elbow and into the end of which he could screw a knife or 
hook : the latter was a most useful implement, it came in 
grandly to open champagne or soda water with, and in a row 
proved a most unanswerable argument. He had perfect hands 
on a horse before, but even with this hook, he was still a master 
of the art of riding, and it was infinitely better to put him up 
than to risk your horse's chances to any average mutton-fisted 
lubber fancying himself a horseman ; he had his reins made 
with loops and he could change his hold as quick with the 
hook as with his natural hand. In September he was in the 
saddle in the Grand Annual at Dehra on Horace Hayes' Free- 
trader and got second to Frank Johnson on Ring ; he won a 
three-quarter flat race on Finette, and at Umballa he won the 
hurdle race with the same mare, which he had, since his ac- 
cident, schooled for the jump. game. 

" At Umballa he won the mile and a half handicap on 
Finette easily, and the Full Cry Chase on Sikunder. At 
Allahabad, where Dr. Tippets had got up a benefit, Bertie 
won a brilliantly ridden chase on Polly Studd's Not On. 
Down in Calcutta Finette won the Colonials and at last Bertie 
had a win at Ballygunge, getting War Eagle home in front of 
Colonist, a heap of good ones behind. In 1876 Daybreak 
while going a spurt fell down dead, having burst a blood- 
vessel in the brain. At Meerut that year Bertie was fairly 
successful with some of Mr. Geneste's horses ; he won Mr. 
Collins' Purse on Mermaid and the Galloway Handicap Hurdle 



256 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Race on Dart. It was at the end of this year, just before the 
Delhi Assemblage, that Bertie persuaded Mr. Geneste to buy 
from Dignum, a grey hurdle racer called Wamambool, 
changed his name to Hurricane and started schooling 
the horse for chasing and went to the Delhi Assem- 
blage confident of winning the Great Eastern Steeple- 
chase, but on arrival there he found the C. T. C. had dis- 
qualified him from riding on account of his having failed 
to attend a meeting at which they wanted him to explain 
his having dismounted before passing the post in the 
Selling Race at Nusseerabad ; so he had to stand down and 
put Major Humphrey up, the good grey gelding got home 
twenty lengths in front of Sweep with Mr. Bob Crowdy in 
the saddle eight started. At Lucknow 1877 Bertie was once 
more in the saddle, winning a very brilliantly ridden race on 
Nancy Lee, a rank outsider, beating Tingey on the favourite 
Tom, by a head in the Pony Race. At Dehra in October 
he won a good race in the Pony Chase, riding Mr. Skinner's 
Sultana, beating Lord William Beresford on the heavily 
backed Banker. Mr. Skinner won over five thousand by this 
race, but though he knew Bertie had not two farthings to rub 
together, he never put him on for a penny. On Wicked at 
the Dehra meeting of 1880 Bertie came to awful grief in the 
Grand Annual, at the on and off, when leading the field the 
horse swerved, Bertie set him at it again, but Wicked breasted 
the bank, turned right over and broke his back seeming to have 
fallen on and crushed his rider, Bertie soon came round and 
beyond a shaking was but little the worse he rode 
Gameboy next racing day in the Handicap Chase second 
to Lord William on Goulbourn. At Lahore in November 
he rode a great race on Nimblefoot in the Grand Lahore 
Steeplechase, beating Dewing on Kate Coventry by a 
dozen lengths ; and this was his last appearance at North- 
West Meetings, for shortly afterwards he left Dehra and 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 257 

joined me at Jaintpore. For a couple of years he acted as 
Secretary and Sub-Editor of this paper, and then went to 
Nirgie where the bungalow was very damp and here, I 
fear, he contracted the malady which eventually carried 
him off. I never shall forget his remark when first taking 
him to look at my chase and flat courses. He had dis- 
mounted and was kicking up the soft soil with the toe of 
his boot and said " By Jove, old chap, what a lovely coun- 
try to tumble about in." He rode after this occasionally for 
me at Sonepore and Mozufferpore and once or twice went 
down to Raneegunge and Assensole, winning several races 
both on the flat and over hurdles in brilliant style, but 
I do not think he had a cross country mount since going to 
Tirhoot. About four years ago he took charge of the Gaig- 
hat Concern in Chupra and his race-riding days virtually 
came to an end. Few more intrepid riders ever got into a 
saddle, his hands and temper with a horse were perfect, but 
he was simply infatuated with steeplechasing, his chief am- 
bition being to turn every horse he could get hold of into a 
" lepper" ; and it was a treat to see him schooling raw young- 
sters. Bertie Short was a genius, as a sporting writer he 
was without equal in this country, and he also could write 
well on most subjects, in fact he had the pen of a very ready 
writer ; but he hated such work and it always took a lot of 
coaxing to get him to sit down to the desk. He was a good 
Latin, Greek, and French scholar, and had he possessed appli- 
cation might have risen to any height in any profession he 
chose to adopt ; he would have made a dashing soldier and 
it was a great pity he ever left the Police, for as a frontier 
officer, or in places where pluck, dash and decision, were neces- 
sary he would have been all there. He liked the free life 
of the Planters and certainly worked Gaighat in a marvel- 
lous manner. Although a born Bohemian he had many 
loveable qualities and there are few who have come across 



258 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

him who have not sincerely liked him. For the last few 
years he had been a martyr to gout, to which eventually he 
succumbed at the comparatively early age of 45. Right 
up to his death he was just as big a boy as when under 
the keen eyes of his masters at Marlborough ; witness the 
madcap pranks he was going to play the globe-trotting 
boy young Morningstar scarcely a month ago. The many 
amusing tricks he has played bailiffs and their myrmi- 
dons would fill a big volume. Always a good cricketer and 
billiard player, just as in riding, the loss of his hand affect- 
ed him but little, he invented a ring which he slipped over 
the handle of the bat and seldom was put out without scoring 
double figures ; with the cue his hook and an Indian rubber 
ring he could beat most amateurs, and he would have been a 
bold man who would have offered him points. A good all round 
sportsman has gone from amongst us, and one and all who 
know him have heard of his death with sincere regret. R. L P." 
Even still more appalling was the news of the death 
of Mr. W. F. McDonell, C. S., V.C. The Indian Planters' 
Gazette said: " The hand of death has latterly been 
very busy among the ranks of distinguished old Indians, 
but his merciless scythe has not mown down a braver or 
better than the gallant civilian whose obituary notice it is 
our sad task to write. By none will the death of Mr. 
William Fraser McDonell be more acutely felt than the 
older members of the Behar planting community for in him 
they lose a staunch and valued friend, and it was among 
them he spent the majority of his Mofussil career. Arriving 
in India during Jaunary 1850, he was posted to Chupra in 
March and then transferred for a short time to Motihari, 
where he remained till the Mutiny broke out. From the very 
commencement ' Little Mac' endeared himself to all who 
came in contact with him ; plucky, though unassuming, full of 
life and fun, he was just the man for a planting district ; one 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 259 

of Nature's true gentlemen there was none of the insufferable 
conceit about him which is so unfortunately conspicuous 
amongst occasional specimens of the present day Civilian. 
At Mozufferpore, Sonepore, and Motihari he was often seen 
in racing colours, and many a tight finish has he fought out 
aganist Ulick Browne, Fred. H. B. Simpson Peacock, and 
other good G.R's of those days. As a pig-sticker he was all 
there, though his extreme reticence in talking of his own 
exploits with gun and spear makes it less possible to obtain 
reliable data of them, than would be the case with a less 
modest sportsman. How few are now left who used in the 
fifties and the early sixties to foregather under the shade of 
Sonepore's favourite mangoe topes. Gone are dear old 
Bicrom, Albert Mangles, Theo. Metcalfe, C. T. Buckland, 
William Tayler, " Monty " Turnbull and many others, and now 
poor Fraser McDonell ; while there are still living in England 
Ulick Browne, Dick Richardson, Teddy Drummond, Judex 
Simmy, F. A. Vincent, R. P. Jenkins, Charley Palmer, and 
Wallace, who could tell us how the stud and country-breds 
then held their own on the Indian Turf, till Mr. Hallen ruined 
the breed, and Australians came and wiped them out. Of 
planters of those days we have now only one left, that fine old 
veteran Mr. Minden James Wilson of Mozufferpore who can 
recall the day when Fraser McDonell first took his seat on the 
Magisterial bench. When the mutiny broke out Fraser 
McDonell volunteered to join the ill-starred party which 
started from Dinapore to relieve Arrah, and there he nobly 
won that coveted distinction which, with the exception of 
Ross Mangles, he alone of his service has, so far, earned. 
Thus writes Kaye of the deed of daring which entitled him to 
wear the cross ( for valour.' 

" ' It was in no small measure owing to his representations 
and to his offer to act as a guide to the relieving force, for he 
knew the country well, that General Lloyd consented to send 



260 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

the European detachment into Shahabad. Always in the 
front, always in the thick of the battle, he did excellent 
service as I have said before, on the march. Many a mutineer 
sank beneath the fire of his rifle. He was beside Dunbar 
when he fell, and was sprinkled with the life-blood of the 
luckless leader. Wounded himself, he still fought on gallantly 
during the retreat, and reached the nullah with a stiffened 
limb, but with no abatement of vigorous courage. There, 
having done his best to assist others more helpless than him- 
self, he entered the last of the boats ; and deliverance seemed 
to be at hand. But the insurgents had taken away the oars and 
had lashed the rudder, and though the breeze was favourable 
for the escape of our people, the current carried the boat back to 
the river bank and fast and furious came the shower of musket- 
balls from the pieces of the enemy. The boats were the large 
covered boats the floating haystacks of the country, which 
afforded excellent shelter to those who huddled together beneath 
the clumsy thatch. There were thirty-five European soldiers 
on board the boat, and McDonell, seeing the difficulty and 
danger which the impossibility of steering the vessel brought 
upon them, called upon the men to cut the lashings of the 
rudder. But no man stirred. So McDonell went out from 
the shelter, and climbing on to the roof of the boat perched 
himself on the rudder and cut the lashings amidst a very 
storm of bullets from the contiguous bank. It was truly a 
providential deliverance that he escaped instant death. Coolly 
and steadily he went about his perilous work, and though 
some balls passed through his hat, not one did him any harm. 
Thus the rudder was loosened, the boat answered to the helm, 
and by McDonell's gallant act the crew were saved from 
certain destruction.' 

"No soldier ever won the V. C. more valiantly or deserved 
it better. When the struggle against the cow r ardly mutineers 
was at its height, Eraser McDonell was civil officer with the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 261 

force that was sent in pursuit of the fugitive leader Koer Sing 
and which cleared them out of the Behea jungles. He was often 
under fire and his favourite weapon was, as was natural 
enough, a hog spear. In 1860 he took three years furlough 
to England and on his return was posted to the Nuddea 
District and afterwards acted as Commissioner of Bhagalpore 
where he remained till 1870, changing from the Revenue to 
the Judicial branch during that period. He then returned to 
Behar and for four years acted as Judge of Patna, where he 
kept open house in right royal style. In 1874 he was promoted 
to the High Court and remained there till 1886, when he re- 
signed the service. Among the native community he was 
fully as much respected and liked as he was by Europeans, 
his doors were always open to them, and many a bitter 
family feud was settled by his sound and kindly counsel. He 
ever dissuaded Zemindars from litigation for he knew the 
ruin which this expensive, though seemingly fascinating form 
of gambling, inevitably brings upon those who indulge in it. 
As a judge he was most painstaking and thorough, as a 
Collector and Magistrate shrewd, far-seeing, and sympathetic ; 
of his personal qualities too much good cannot be said; as a 
friend he was unequalled; gentle and unassuming few would 
guess that under that quiet exterior beat a heart bold as a 
lion's. A man of sterling worth, very truly does the Calcutta 
Englishman in a touching In Memoriam of him say: 'Not 
to many men is it granted to show so noble a record. To attain 
to the Bench of the Highest tribunal in the land after years of 
meritorious service is much; to wear in that honourable posi- 
tion the Queen's Cross 'For Valour' is much more; but to have 
won both with the hearty good-will of rivals and companions 
and without one dissentient voice is most of all.' 

" While we cannot to the near and dear ones he leaves 
behind, say in the words of the widow of Glencoe 
' Weep not for him ' 



262 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

yet we can but think that the universal wail of regret 
with which the journals of India have noticed the death of 
the hero of Arrah and the sympathy so honestly felt for those 
bereaved, will do much to assuage their intense grief. The 
speech made on Thursday morning by Mr. Justice Norris on 
taking his seat on the Bench was admirable, and the 'feeling way 
in which he alluded to the personal kindness shown him by 
his late respected colleague was creditable in the extreme 
among other remarks his Lordship said ' He w^s a fine 
type of a class of men, who, though occasionally they may 
make mistakes, have earned for themselves a great reputation, 
and have done wonders for the good of India. He was a 
prudent, painstaking man, full of chivalry. There was in 
reality, no smallness, no meanness in his character or dis- 
position. He was a fast friend, and I believe he endeared 
himself as much to the profession as to all his colleagues. I 
am quite certain that his memory will remain for many years 
fresh and fragrant in the recollections of all those who had 
the honor and the privilege of his friendship.' 

" By no circle of society was Mr. Eraser McDonell 
more deservedly beloved, respected, and trusted than by 
the racing community. He became a member of the Turf 
Club in 1866 and took an active interest in all its regula- 
tions and proceedings, he was elected one of the Stewards 
for 1875 and the following year, again in '78, '79 and '80 
and acted over and over again as Steward of our big 
meetings. He is one of the men who may well be said to 
have made India. The son of a Madras Civilian he was 
educated at that best of Schools, Haileybury, and well may 
the old place be proud of him. Few men have gone to their 
graves more absolutely deserving of honor than William Fraser 
McDonell, C. S., V. C." 

The Sonepore Stewards for 1894 were Colonel St. Paul, 
Captain Edwards, Messrs. Forbes, Page, Slack, Hare,, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 263 

Lockhart, Hopkins, Hudson, " Bones " Wilson and Major 
Ridley of the Manchester, which Regiment had replaced 
the Queen's. The new officers were a rare good lot, and 
at once on their arrival gave out that they intended to patron- 
ise Sonepore and would do all in their power to add to 
the fun. Major Ridley was a mighty pigsticker, and the 
Doctor attached to the Regiment, Surgeon-Captain Osborne, 
better known as " Begorrah," an accomplished race rider, 
and excellent amateur trainer ; while in Abbot Anderson they 
possessed a perfect brick of a captain and their boys were 
all " the right sort." The entries for the races were confined 
almost entirely to local horses, Mr. McGeorge and Mr. Ernest 
Gregory being the only Calcutta, or outside, owners present. 
Mr. Gregory's Harbour Light had been trained at Otter by Mr. 
Rowland Hudson. Late rains had made the going on the 
course sticky, and, most unfortunately, rumours got about that 
the camping ground was dangerously damp, and it was 
therefore scarcely to be wondered at if camps were not quite 
as numerous as usual, but lovelier weather, or a jollier 
gathering has scarely been known. This was to be the last 
year of Harry Boileau's incumbency of the head bobbyship of 
Chupra, and he was in consequence much depressed, though 
to relieve his drooping spirits he had bidden as guest a fair lady 
globe-trotter, to whom he was most devoted, and who left 
saying, her dear little host was a pearl beyond price. Mr. 
O'Donnell as Magistrate of Patna had, much to the disgust of 
old Soneporeans, deprived poor old Behari Singh of the ticca 
of the ghats, which he had held for so many years. It was an 
arbitrary and unkind action, for Behari had done yeoman service 
to the Sonepore Stewards, as well as to the thousands of native 
pilgrims who yearly came to wash away their sins in the sacred 
river. Behari was simply invaluable to Soneporeans. There 
was nothing one fell short of he could not supply at the short- 
est notice, from an elephant to take ladies to see the fair, 



264 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

down to a dhurry or chicks for one's tent. The ghats might 
well have been left to him for the short remaining span of his 
life, for he died in 1895, n ^ s en( ^ having been undoubtedly has- 
tened by fretting over his loss. Poor old man, everyone had 
a kind word for him whenever he trotted down the road in his 
racketty old dog cart, pulled by a veritable Rosinante, or 
stopped to speak to his old friends and patrons. For forty-two 
years, ever since Frank Vincent appointed him course chowikdar 
on three rupees a month, he had never missed a Sonepore 
meeting ; ever good tempered, willing and obliging, we missed 
him much in 1894. The old man never held up his head again 
after being as he considered disgraced. Peace to his ashes. 
But it is time though to hark back to the meeting. Messrs. Slack 
and Boileau were early on the scene and so carefully had they 
drained the camping ground that by Friday everything was high 
and dry and the course excellent going. The cam pswere fewer 
than usual. Chupra sent two, one managed by Mrs. Slack, 
wife to the popular new local Collector, and one by Mrs. Lock- 
hart, whose jovial husband's high spirits never flag. These 
between them mustered some sixty hosts and guests. In the 
latter camp were some officers of the Highland Light Infantry 
and several Calcutta people. Among Harry Abbotts guest's were 
Lord William Beresford and his cousin, Mr. W. Holmes, who 
had just retired from the North-West Civil Service. Owing to 
the sad death of poor young Ward the Manchester Regiment 
had comparatively abandoned the big camp they had arranged 
for, although a few of them came over from Dinapore occasion- 
ally, and with them was a small contingent of Bankipore 
people. Mr. Arthur Forbes could not bid the number of guests 
welcome he has hitherto been in the habit of entertaining so 
sumptuously, as he had to make arrangements for the wedding 
of a fair niece and also to entertain the Lieutenant-Governor 
during his visit to Patna. Bankipore for these reasons was 
only represented by one camp, but grandly was old time hos- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 265 

pitality kept up at it, for all the forty-five who put their feet 
under the dinner table were guests of the generous host Mr. 
C. A. Mills, and right royally were they entertained by him, 
and Mrs. Flood-Murray, who kindly acted as hostess. Last, 
but not least, was the big Mozufferpore Camp, ably presided 
over by Mrs. Hall, who had to cater for over thirty friends ; 
but to this kind-hearted lady an undertaking which would 
appal most is a pleasant task, for her gift of organising is so 
great that everything under her management seems to work 
without the least hitch, and the universally expressed gratitude 
of those in whose interests she laboured proved their grateful 
appreciation of her efforts to please. Mr. Hare, Collector 
of Mozufferpore, had a small camp ; Chumparun was only re- 
presented by Jimmy McLeod, who was putting up in Mr. 
Hall's camp. Dr. T. McDonald, a worthy scion of a family 
well-known in Behar was in medical charge of the Fair in 
a camp of his own, but, thanks to the now excellent sanitary 
arrangements, his duties were light and chiefly consisted in 
supplying a very soothing elixir in the shape of a most excellent 
brand of whisky to passers by afflicted with that most trying 
of complaints, an intermittent dry throat, which was very 
prevalent at Sonepore owing probably to the dampness of 
the soil on which the tents were pitched. 

The first day's racing being on Monday, lotteries were 
held on Saturday night, but as very few of the sporting ele- 
ment had arrived, the Honorary Secretary closed his books 
after filling a couple of papers and everyone cleared home to 
supper. Sunday was chiefly passed in completing arrange- 
ments, and the course being still a bit greasy, the races usually 
held in the morning were put off to Monday afternoon. Three 
bookmakers were present Jenkinson, Hardinge and Lee. 
Events opened with The Planters' Gazette Purse, which Mr. 
Rowland easily appropriated with that good looking pony Sir 
Hugh, bred by Jimmy McLeod ; Chester second; Mr. McGeorge 



266 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

getting third place on game little Singar, carrying the crusher 
of I2st. Three turned out for the Hutwa Cup. Profit was 
installed a hot favorite and won in a common canter, though 
not looking quite ripe ; Wabba led them a rare dance to 
the corner, good old Blaze made a game effort at the finish. 
For the Bettiah Cup only two declared to start, and as both 
these were the property of Mr. Charley Hay-Webb, he de- 
clared to walk over with Bad Spec. Then came an exciting 
race for Messrs. Jessop & Co.'s Cup, won by Mr. N. C. Sen's 
English mare Marechale Niel, Singar second but as Mr. 
McGeorge forgot to weigh in his pony was disqualified and 
second place awarded to Blemish. Chester and Greyling ran 
neck and neck from start to finish for Messrs. Moran's Cup, 
Chester just getting home. His Highness the Maharajah's 
capital band played during the races, and a great improve- 
ment was made by erecting saddling sheds in the enclosure, 
so there was far less delay than of old between each race. 
Mrs. Hall and several other ladies kindly assisted Mr. Boileau 
in seeing to the floor and decorating the walls, the result 
being most successful and the going all that could be desired ; 
a capital evening's dancing was followed by a supper served 
in Messrs. Framjee's best style, and the consumption 
of Pommery Greeno proved that the brand still retains its 
deservedly high reputation. Messrs. Lobo's band played 
excellently, and it was the very small hours of the morning ere 
the ladies gave in. It is always remarkable how great a 
change comes over the spirits of Sonepore sportsmen attend- 
ing the second night's lotteries ; instead of the Secretary hav- 
ing to coax those present to toss, he has always enough to &> 
to take down the names, and the papers filled quickly enough 
on Tuesday ; Lord William arrived by the 10-30 train and 
came in towards the end, he began by taking five tickets in 
his own name and was lucky enongh to draw a hot favorite. 
Nothing would go down for the Durbangah Cup but Harbour 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 267 

Light, and Camaltha was served up a very hot favorite for 
the Doomraon Cup, while Petroleum, Singar and Chester 
fluctuated as favorites in the lotteries on the Merchants' Cup, 
the reason for the two latter being fancied was, that it leaked 
out professionals were to steer them ; at the final lottery 
Singar held pride of place. For the Polo Scurry Norman and 
Lobster were elected as the pick. The racing was decidedly 
good, though the favorites got home in every event. Messrs. 
Framjee's pretty cup was a W. O. for Mr. Boileau's Pirate 
Queen and everybody was pleased to see the obliging Clerk 
of the Course carry off a souvenir of the last meeting he could 
be present at as D.S.P. of the district. Harbour Light 
squandered the field for the Durbangah Cup, the popular and 
generous donor arriving just too late to see it run for. Every- 
one was glad to see His Highness for he is always ready 
to assist the Behar meetings with cups and the loan of his 
band. The cup of another good friend to Sonepore, the Maha- 
rajah of Doomraon, was won easily by Mr. Rowland's Camal- 
tha, piloted by that strong horseman Trahan. The Merchants' 
Cup was won by Messrs. Darley and Daunt's Singar, who had 
Pughe up ; Petroleum, much fancied by his stable followers, 
finished nowhere. Greyling, a good little pony just too small for 
Behar, ran very gamely ; Old Referee won the cup presented 
by Messrs. Oldemeyer and Hadenfeldt and his owner pledged 
himself to stand by Beck's Pelsener for the rest of his 
existence. The Polo Scurry was appropriated by Jimmy's 
Norman, a very stout handsome little Arab. Altogether the 
day's racing was good, for although some of the horse events 
were not as exciting as could be wished, the pony racing was 
above the average and events very evenly distributed. Very 
neat programmes of each day's racing, printed by Messrs. 
Thacker, Spink and Co., were very welcome to the ladies. 
On Wednesday afternoon that stalwart young planter Mr. 
Johnny Webb got up a bumblepuppy which gave no end of fun, 



268 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

On Thursday night the lotteries eclipsed even those now 
held in the C.T.C. rooms. In several the animals brought the 
total up to thirteen hundred rupees and over, though the 
tickets were only Rs. 500. This was real jam for the ticket 
takers who were as keen as mustard. An enthusiastic youth 
from Calcutta bought Harbour Light's chance for Rs. 380 and 
did not score by the transaction ; backing a faint-hearted one 
at five to one on is scarcely a sound commercial transaction ; 
when tired o frattling the dice, punters trooped over to Bob 
Lockhart's camp for supper, and most of them remained there 
till it was time to dress for the morning's racing; but suddenly 
someone looking round missed Abbot-Anderson and aparty went 
in search of that festive youth ; they found him in his tent 
undressed, save for his shirt, and he had evidently fallen 
asleep kneeling by his bed, and with only his head on the 
pillow ; promptly was a sketch taken of him, and sent to the 
I.P.G. to which Harry added the following squib. 

LOST BUT FOUND. 

Our hearts were so sad for that good looking lad, 

When at half past four we missed him, 
For each demoiselle rare, who had eome to the fair, 

Ere he left would have liked to have kissed him. 

In search of him bent, we invaded his tent 

And there on his knees we found him. 
But we dared not shout, for he looked so devout 

With his night shirt draped around him ; 

We were filled with much joy that the bald-headed boy 

Was pious enough to be praying, 
And our peepers quite glistened with tears as we listened 

To what our Adonis was saying. 

But 'twas scarcely a prayer he was breathing there, 

As he knelt in such negligent ease 
And our heart strings fluttered as thickly he muttered; 

" A little more champagne please." 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 269 

Now his wash bowl was near, and we raised a wild cheer, 

For the water was temptingly dirty, 
So we doused him and ran, for a carrotty man 

When ducked is inclined to be shirty. 

How we chortled with laughter, when two hours after 

As fresh as a daisy we saw. him, 
And he whispered, " Dear boys, how this Meet one enjoys, 

When another day's drinking' s before him/' 

Rattling good racing on Friday resulted in every favorite 
save Camaltha being bowled over. It was a great compliment 
to Captain Gunn, who kindly officiated as Handicapper, that 
not a single owner declined to run ; the two bookies present had 
a good day. Messrs. Kellner's Cup was won by Mr. L. James, 
Chester, a dead outsider who sold for ten and twenty rupees 
in two lotteries in which Marechale Neil and Singar sold for 
over three hundred each. Mr. James did well with this pony 
which Mr. Abbott bought for him, having won close on three 
thousand rupees on an eight hundred purchase. Profit stuck 
to Harbour Light and fairly wore him down in the mile and a 
half Civilians' Cup ; at the corner the shifty one's tail went 
round and he distinctly cut it ; Eka was beaten off. Mr. Gye 
did well with Profit and it was some return for the hard luck 
he had when Hopetoun broke his leg at the Tollygunge meet- 
ing. Camaltha won the Trades' Cup easily, Trahan having 
his work cut out to hold her back throughout the race. Green- 
stone, another outsider, beat the heavily backed Hyacinth in 
Messrs. Thomas' Cup and Messrs. Bourne and Shepherd's pretty 
album, a race for ponies bought at the fair, was won by a pony 
called No Go six starting. No go was afterwards disqualified 
and the race awarded to Captain Bertram's Miss Angell. 

Each evening in the gloaming one or other of the camps 
gave an at home and all gathered in the prettily furnished 
Shamianas to listen to songs, glees, and airs till the time came 
to dress for dinner, Mrs. Mackale's voice being, specially 



270 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

admired; her enunciation was so perfect that even in a shamiana 
every word was distinctly audible. The last night's ball was 
as enjoyable as its predecessors and the usual pretty speeches 
were made at supper. At a meeting of the Stewards held on 
Saturday it was unanimously agreed that the ball-room should 
be enlarged, a smoking-room built, the verandah railings facing 
the race course be removed, and steps be made like those at 
the Calcutta monsoon race stand ; to serve to give more room 
in the ladies' part of the stand, and with a light awning over 
them be useful to lounge on in the intervals between dancing. 
The polo ground was also to be raised, ball-room furniture 
bought and several other improvements made. The show of 
horses and ponies at the fair was so poor that the judges, 
Messrs. Gunn, Abbott and Slack, advised Government that as 
the district is essentially not a horse-breeding one they might 
as well drop giving prizes. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

YEAR 1895. 

The cold weather of '95-96 was the last racing season that 
Bill Beresford was to spend in India, but the Calcutta sports- 
men gave him a splendid farewell dinner at which his school 
fellow and chum Charley Moore said all the pretty things 
necessary about one who had for twenty years been a staunch 
promoter of sport. The ladies of the Calcutta hunt also dined 
him well, and he himself gave a big spread at the Bengal Club 
to a number of friends, at which some forty sat down. It was a 
most representative dinner as members of almost every profes- 
sion were present. Amongst the guests were ; Sir John Lambert, 
General Collen, Mr. Willie Holmes, Mr. Hensman (The 
Pioneer^ Sir Thoby Prinsep, Mr. J.O'B. Saunders (The 
Englishman), Mr. H. E. Abbott (The Indian Planters' Ga- 
isete} y Mr. F. W. Baker, I.C.S., Captains Grimston and Pollen, 
Mr. D. Yule, Mr. D. King, Colonel J. Hunt, The Hon'ble 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 271 

W. Macpherson, Mr. H. R. Mclnnes, Colonel Algernon Durand, 
Mr. Dangerfield and many more. The health of the noble 
host was drunk midst a storm of applause as was also that of 
Mr. F. W. Baker, the founder of the Civil Service Cup at 
Lucknow, with musical honours, and " Harry Abbott's " health 
was also drunk as " the proprietor of the most independent 
sporting paper in India." Mr. Mclnnes was in great form and 
made a most soul-stirring speech. The party broke up at 
a somewhat early hour as many of the guests were due at the 
dance at the Saturday Club given by the Captain and Officers 
of H. M. S. Marathon. 

Quite up to the average were the Sonepore Entries for 1895 
and prospects of camps. Was there ever a visitor who when he 
had been once to Sonepore did not vow by all he held dear 
never to miss it again, if possible, as long as the fates kept him 
in India. Other mofussil race meetings there may be which 
now-a-days eclipse it as far as racing goes, but nowhere else 
does one enjoy such a unique week's outing, there is an utter 
absence of stiffness or cliqueism, and in the most friendly in- 
tercourse the hours and days pass away, alas, far too rapidly. 
1895 has seldom been beaten, for everything went with a verve 
and go which never slacked from first to last. Although Bob 
Lockhart's usually big camp was missing this year, yet it was 
pleasant to once more see Jimmy McLeod's tents in the old 
corner near the ball room, and Mrs. Apperley presiding as in 
days of yore. Mozufferpore showed up strongly, both Mr. 
Hare, the Collector, and Mr. Hamilton, the Judge, having camps. 
Mrs. Hall managed the latter and very pretty was her neat 
little shamianah and right royally were the creature comforts 
attended to. Our worthy Commissioner, Arthur Forbes, had a 
large number of guests, mostly ladies, he explained that many 
of the sterner sex had disappointed him at the last moment, 
but some of the sceptics hinted they had their doubts as to the 
credibility of this statement, when they found the sly dog seated 



272 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

like Haroun Al Rashid midst a bevy of sweet girls, whose 
pretty faces and winsome graces St. Anthony would never 
have been able to withstand. Mr. and Mrs. Inglis were of this 
camp; they had brought over their son hoping there would be 
a baby show, but unfortunately the Secretany declined to get 
one up, on the ground that the mothers of unplaced sucklings 
would certainly murder the judge, and that no one would dare 
to accept such a responsible and dangerous post. Several 
anecdotes are known to his friends of the capacity of Tingles 
when a schoolboy for tart scoffing, but the worthy beak could 
not possibly have been in the same handicap with his offspring. 
Decoyed one day to the Chupra camp this heroic child finished 
a dozen apples (no cores wasted), a pound of rich plum cake, 
and then, as a light finish off, he filled himself up with a plate- 
ful of pears in syrup ; he held it all magnificently and save that 
his eyes and lower chest shewed a slight tendency to protrude, 
and his skin tightened a bit, there was nothing to warrant 
the supposition that he had done anything of an extraordinary 
nature. He was somewhat silent and contemplative till tea 
time, when he seemed to wake up and then took a lively inter- 
est in the sugar bowl and scotch shortbread ; he is not a 
delicate child by any means, and in years to come should 
make an excellent alderman. The Manchester Regiment had 
a well filled camp, but that quiet officer Captain Abbot-Ander- 
son's absence was much regretted at third suppers, though 
Messrs. Souter and Vaughan did their best to supply his 
place. Mr. Mills played sole host to the biggest camp of the 
lot, and at least two score must have sat down to every meal, 
the supper being only cleared to bring on the chota hazaree. 
Among his guests were those two ban vivants Messrs. Harry 
Stevens and Henry Neville Harris, both looking marvellously 
well and young. Mr. Slack's camp was a thoroughly jolly 
one, though her many friends regretted much the absence of 
Mrs. Slack, but right well did Mrs. Llewhellin do the honors, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 273 

and fast and furious was the fun. Camped all by himself was 
that cannie Hieland Chiel Doctor Tom McDonald, but he 
always had a sup o'gude whisky to offer the thirsty passer by. 
The ball room floor was excellent going, and the decorations, 
thanks to Mrs. Llewhellin, and Mr. Slack, were very tastefuL 
Most unfortunately that energetic policeman, Mr. Alec 
Knyvett, was seized with an acute attack of dysentery after 
the first day and had to take to his bed, so the Stewards lost 
his valuable services in superintending the suppers and 
course. The lotteries flagged somewhat this year, as the 
fields were not only small but most of the events dead cer- 
tainties, the only upset the first day being when Harry 
Abbott's new purchase Hurricane showed a clean pair of heels 
to Smallfry in the Bettiah Cup. Ihumata and Stewpan quite 
outclassed their respective opponents, and won their races 
with consummate ease. Polo was in full swing, and so was 
lawn tennis throughout the meeting, and there was a large 
gathering on Monday in the supper room to discuss the much- 
vexed question af whether 13-2 or 13-3 should be the polo 
pony height for the District. Jimmy McLeod was the chief 
supporter of the former and Charley Miller of the latter 
class, but the 13-2's had the victory by an overwhelming ma- 
jority. On Sunday a quiet day was spent, that popular 
Padre, the Rev. Mr. Sealey, kindly ran down from Arrah and 
held divine service, which was largely attended. Monday's 
racing was better than Friday's and the lotteries on Saturday 
night much brisker, though what might have proved a good 
race for the Doomraon Cup was marred by Hurricane's slip- 
ping up on a footpath and in recovering himself going off 
the course. Hard luck on horse, rider and owner. He 
was found to have strained his shoulder so severely that 
he was unable to start again at the meeting. A Gymkhana 
on Tuesday was a great success, the jumping competition 
procuring a lot of entries, Mrs. Barrow on her father's handsome 



274 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

brown, The Abbot, winning in capital style. Mrs. Ryves 
was on a very big jumper, but he ran down most of his 
fences, whereas The Abbot never put toe on twig. Seven 
entered for the men's jumping conpetition and again a horse 
of Harry Abbott's called Jehoshaphat, cleverly steered by Mr. 
Milton, won ; Hamish Walker second and poor Sammy Ayres 
third. Hamish Walker appropriated the prize for jumping 
ponies, and this enthusiastic young sportsman heartily de- 
served credit for the excellent and steady schooling he gave his 
fine string of hunters. All jumped temperately and cleverly and 
none of their mouths were spoilt ; Mr. Godbold gained second 
honors. Then came the Arithmetic Stakes which the favor- 
ite won in a walk. Few sweet girl graduates could beat Miss 
Green in quick calculation, and this clever young lady has won 
some four prizes in events of this sort. Mr. Ayres rode in 
great form, Miss Bell was second. The Ladies' Trotting race 
was a bit spoilt by most of the horses breaking. Mrs. Barrow 
rode very quietly and won by a street, but it was nearly dark 
as she passed the winning post so the rest of the events were 
postponed to the next day. Mr. Ayres nominated by his sister 
Mrs. Llewhellin was the winner of the Cheeroot and Umbrella 
Race, and then came the event of the meeting, a side saddle 
race for callow young gallants to be dressed in female 
costume on the course by ladies, ride round a stick at the dis- 
tance post and home again ; the Tartlets were most carefully 
arrayed by their fair nominators in those garments so jealously 
kept to themselves by the daughters of Eve. Miss Springfield 
when dressed by Mrs. Ruxton did not give the idea of being 
quite the class of Lady Clara Vere de Vere, while her com- 
plexion certainly warranted the assumption that she laced 
tightly and suffered from indigestion, moreover she leered in 
a most unladylike way at the gentlemen onlookers, and the 
way she leapt into the saddle without any assistance, seemed 
to point to her having been brought up to the circus business, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 275 

but if this young lady was not a thing of beauty and a joy for 
ever, those two lumps of cuddle Miss McVean and Miss God- 
bold were angels indeed, loud rang the plaudits as first one 
and then the other was deftly arrayed in the dainty fripperies 
and irreproachable head gear provided by Miss Bertram and 
Miss Ridley. On seeing Miss Godbold, Harry Abbott who was 
judging, clapped his hand where he fancied his heart ought 
to lie and burst forth with 

She looks so lovely as she sways 

The reins with dainty finger tips 

That I would give all worldly bliss 

And all my future hopes, for this 

To waste my whole life in one kiss 

Upon her perfect lips 

and then when he gazed on the delicate looking Miss 
McVean, whose figure might have vied with that of the Venus 
of Milo, he spouted 

Sweet charmer who'd not wish to be 
On desert isle alone with thee 
Upon that isle I would remain 
Till Doomsday with you fair McVean. 

Miss Frances McNamara when fully equipped by Mrs. 
Barrow was seen to have one of those creamy pink and white 
complexions so common among the pretty maidens of Kent ; 
her's was a cheek as tempting to bite as a golden pippin, 
while the suspicion of down lightly lining her upper lip added 
to the fascination of her decidedly ladylike appearance. Miss 
Russel was dressed by Mrs. Lyon ; above a pure and excep- 
tionally modest face was placed a wig which Pymm himself 
could not have beaten ; it was made of tow and painted 
yaller ; this otherwise demure damsel had golden hair dang- 
ling down her back with a vengeance, and had a Curate met 
her in a country lane he'd have had a fit right away. 



2j6 REMINISCENCES OR SONEPORE, 

There was a young lady named Russel 

Who'd everything on but a bussel 

When they laughed at her hair 

She muttered, Take care 

Or I'll give you a taste of my mussel. 
Great was the excitement and never did Amazons at the 
charge ride harder than these ducksey wuck sies, though the 
display of underclothing was a bit embarrassing, at least the 
judge said so, but Miss McNamara came in a length in front 
of the red as a beetroot Miss Springfield, who seemed to 
be using her flail most vigorously. The members of Mr. Slack's 
camp went back proud as peacocks, for they had won every 
event. 

The tennis tournament ended by Miss Lyall and Mr. 
Ryves beating Miss Bell and Mr. Elliot, the scores being 
1 19 ; 64. 

The heat was too appalling for words during the last 
two days, and it must have been most trying for the lady 
players. Each off night while the men were at the lotteries 
the ladies of one or other camp held at homes, and round 
bonfires, music, and singing served to make the evenings 
pass pleasantly. Everyone was delighed to see Mrs. Forbes 
looking so well and strong after her trip to England and able 
to preside over her popular husband's camp with her usual 
sweet graciousness. 

The native portion of the fair was fully double in numbers 
to what it was the previous year, and the elephants, camels, 
horses, and cattle in proportion. The show of upcountry 
buffalo cows and Patna bred cows was decidedly superior to 
that of previous years, and Messrs. Gunn, Abbott, and Wilson, 
who acted as judges, found several very fine beasts, all of 
which were at once snapped up by Calcutta goallars at remu- 
nerative prices to the breeders or dealers. Year by year the 
quality and quantity of horses shown at this time-honored fair 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 2JJ 

gets worse and worse ; but ponies were plentiful though the 
majority lacked quality. A new line was opened out this year 
owing to the undoubted satisfaction given by the Arab Polo 
ponies selected and sent to Behar by that best of judges and 
good fellows, Veterinary Colonel joe Anderson of Bombay, 
several local dealers were induced to import Arabs, and 
several very decent ponies found ready sale at an average 
of Rs. 500. The sanitary arrangements were excellent this 
year, and among the visitors was Surgeon Major Dyson, 
who seemed very pleased with the care taken by the local 
authorities in this respect. The polo ground was in capital 
order and intense interest was shewn in the different contests. 
Mr. Mill's camp played brilliantly but were beaten in the 
final by the Mozufferpore team. As usual each camp gave 
a nightly at home r which served to pass the evenings away 
pleasantly, and introduced us to several new singers. 
Mr. Frank Lyall had a magnificent voice for a crow chorus, 
but we missed this year the dulcet notes of that famed vocalist 
Mr. Jim Wilson, who is the only localite who can approach 
Mr. Paul Valetta in sweet strains and love songs. 

Captain Gunn very kindly handicapped for the third day 
and was most impartial in his allotments of weights, but as he 
pointed out it was impossible with the conditions binding 
him to eleven-seven as top weight to level Stewpan and 
Ihumata to the rest, and the results of the third day 
showed the correctness of his judgment. However the 
lotteries filled briskly and the racing was the best seen at the 
meeting. 

The third day's racing was somewhat spoilt by both 
Stewpan and Ihumata being such dead certainties, but Mr. 
Mills' Cup produced a big field and a pretty race, Jimmy's 
game little Arab, Norman, having his work cut out to beat 
Bob Lockhart's country-bred, Maud, a daughter of Caracta- 
cus and almost a hand smaller than the winner ; she was 



278 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

virtually untrained. Suklaun won the Charger Race, beating 
the favorite, Greenstone, easily. A very jolly ball in the even- 
ing was followed by an equally enjoyable supper, at which 
the usual pretty speeches were made, Mr. Forbes proposing 
the health of his old friend the Honorary Secretary. That 
rotund gentleman in returning thanks asked those present 
to drink a bumper to the Stewards and particularly to 
Mr. C. A. Mills, one of the chief supporters of the meeting. 
He also called attention to the proposed improvements, 
asking everyone to subscribe their mite, and saying that 
while he did not expect the youngters to give excessive 
sums, yet he hoped they would one and all send him 
the modest amount of Rs. 5 each. This was warmly re- 
sponded to, and close on Rs. 8,000 raised. Harry Abbott 
then proposed the health of Jimmy McLeod, which was 
drunk with full Highland honors, after which that eloquent 
orator Bob Lockhart in his own sweet way proposed the 
health of the ladies ; three callow youths tried to respond, 
but were alas ! unequal to the occasion, so up got the ladies 
and trooped out to continue dancing till the small hours of 
the morning, little knowing the dangers the Chupra Collector 
was facing on their account. 

But now I have a thrilling tale to tell 

Of dangers braved and victory won as well 

By our Collector, the heroic Slack, 

Who dared a mighty mastodon attack ; 

Facing the monster proudly did he stand 
Only a bobby's baton in his hand, 
And with the aid of plantains on a stick 
Captured the foe and neatly won the trick. 

Just after the last shouts of " here's to you Jamie " had died 
away, and those who had not sat down to first supper were 
making themselves quite at home with Pommery and turkey, a 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



chit was handed to Mr. Slack by a constable, and on perusal 
it showed that a MUST elephant was loose and moving up 
towards the camp. The writer asked that a file of the brave 
Manchester Tommies might be sent down to shoot the " huge 
earth shaking beast" as Lord Macaulay so aptly termed the 
awkward pachyderm. Then did that mighty pigsticker Willie 
Dixon of Mullyah and Harry Abbott volunteer to accompany 
the Collector to death or glory. So saying nothing to those 
present, in case of creating a panic among the ladies, they 
left the supper room and drove to the tents, meanwhile send- 
ing across to the Manchester for arms and men. In the fastest 
time on record they changed their dress suits for garments 
more suitable for skirmishing, and on arrival at the regimental 
tent found that that brave officer Captain Maxwell, known in 
the Mess as The Invincible, on account of his prowess when 
at school as a pudding swallower, had already started with a 
dozen valiant sons of Mars for the scene of action, so lifting 
into the carriage another fire-eater, the noble Vaughan, they 
drove off, but first posted the ladies' pet, the incomparable Mr. 
Stevenson, with six Tommies armed with loaded rifles, to 
guard the road leading to the camp, and instructed him should 
the enemy come that way, to fire all his ammunition and then 
bolt and seek refuge under cover of the big Guzerati buffalo 
cows, which were alongside the road. Away the warriors drove 
to the elephant camp, whence the sound of mighty trumpetings 
told that the monster was all there and bent on defying the 
English Government and its sworn defenders. Then did hearts 
beat high with martial ardour, and clasping each other's hands 
the heroes swore to stand by one another, and not bolt if they 
possibly could help it. Scarcely had they alighted from the 
carriage when they came upon Captain Maxwell and his 
company. That astute officer, evidently being of a frugal mind 
and not wishing to sport good togs in the event of his being 
caught and crushed out of shape by the enemy, had arrayed 



280 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

himself lightly in one of the holiest and dingiest great coats 
he could find, it evidently belonging to a taller man than 
himself, for it came well down to his heels and disguised the 
fact that he had not even gone to the extravagance of wearing 
socks. Thus do truly great men show their infinity of resource 
in emergencies by studying the minutest of petty details. 
Boldly did the Collector, having boned a baton from a con- 
stable, lead the way calling on those present in -the name of the 
Queen Empress to exterminate the vile disturber of the peace 
the instant he gave the order, Willie Dixon, having more 
foot than the rest, soon forged to the front till near the confines 
of a huge crowd the elephant was seen standing with elevated 
trunk and shaking ears under a big mango tree. After a wary 
reconnoitre and posting the Tommies on an elvated position, 
whence they could fire safely over the heads of the crowd the 
four Europeans walked to within a few yards of the brute, and 
a very fine elephant he was, but as the planters, who know 
something about elephants, pointed out he was certainly not 
must, though undoubtedly angry, so thinking it a great pity 
to sacrifice such a noble beast, Mr. Slack offered a reward of 
Rs. 50 to any mahout who would secure him. A few judici- 
ously put enquiries elicited the fact that he had been sold the 
previous day to a new master, his old mahout having been 
discharged had cleared out and a new man placed in charge, 
who next morning took him down to the river for his bath, 
and here he got into a difference of opinion with another 
elephant of about the same height, but in much better condi- 
tion ; naturally weight told and he got a jolly good hiding, 
after which he seemed to have lost confidence in his new 
mahout, and so trotted back to the tope where he was first tied 
and roamed about evidently in search of his old guide, but as 
the day went through he got vexed at his failure, still more 
angry at the crowds who followed him at a respectful distance, 
and the few strange mahouts who in a half-hearted way tried in 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 28l 

the hope of baksish to capture him. While the mahouts tried 
to lasso him, the Europeans in front endeavoured to distract 
his attention from the game that was being played behind, but 
at last he woke up to what was going on and letting out, he 
caught one too venturesome Aryan lifting him full ten feet to 
the rear, but no bones were broken and he picked himself up 
all right, but now the elephant's monkey was really up and 
before you could say sword he was in motion. 

Lifting his trunk high in the air and trumpeting louder 
than any twenty bulls of Basan could be capable of, he came 
down at the charge. Great Scot how the heroes did scoot !! 
Vaughan sought shelter up a mango tree, Little Slack fell into 
a deep muck hole, but still brandishing his peeler's baton he 
yelled out to the mahouts to be quick and capture the brute 
in the Queen's name, but neither he nor anyone else were 
fated to be crushed to death, for just in front of the malodor- 
ous resting place of the Collector, Willie Dixon tripped over a 
mango tree root and thinking his last moment had come, with 
a brilliancy of resource, which did him infinite credit under 
such trying circumstances, he held up both his feet. It was 
enough yea more than enough. One glance and his pursuer 
took them for the shadow of the enemy who had given him 
such a drubbing in the morning and with a bellow of terror he 
turned and fled, till he pulled up and stood trembling with funk 
under a small mango tree. The Native Inspector pulled out the 
Collector and rubbed him down as clean as he could, cursing the 
elephant's female relatives volubly as a solace to his master's 
wounded dignity. Willie Dixon got on to his pedal extremi- 
ties once more, the Manchester officers reformed their men, 
Harry crept out from a clump of bamboos and all pretended 
they'd not been in the least bit of a funk and sternly repudia- 
ted any hint that they had bolted from the battlefield. But 
they thanked Willie heartily for saving their lives and asked 
him to have his boots photoed, so that they might never forget 



282 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

how useful they had been in the hour of need, but somehow he 
did not seem to rise to this, a consultation was then held as to 
whether they were not now justified in shooting, but on ex- 
amining the bullets all came to the conclusion that as it would 
take about a thousand to kill the brute, they would only add to 
his rage by trying to pot at him with such apologies for 
Beecham's pills. 

Was there ever a corner of the world where the gentle 
loafer is not to be found ? Sonepore even is not without him, 
and at this critical moment a voice was heard from behind a 
bamboo tope, with an accent unmistakeably that of White- 
chapel and a miserably clad filthy looking individual emerged 
from the shade " Good h'evening gents/' he observed taking off 
the remnants of a billy cock. "Hi don't know much of these 
ere Hingin helerfunts, but I'v bin hin H'africa were hi was 
wallet to Mister Gorden Commin, hand 'igh hold times we'ad 
there, Lord ! 'e was a shooter such guns and bullets, not like 
these ere Manchester men's peashooters ; crikey vere 'e it ha 
helephunt, vy the beast blowed hup hat vunce, and hall yer 
J ad to do was to go and pick hup your chorp or stake, 
ready grilled an J ot from the 'eat of the powder. But the 
H'africuns, thems the boys. V'en they goes hout ' untin ' 
they haint got no guns, bless you, not them ; they just 
as ha' 'andful of sand in their modesty clorths, hand a bow 
and harrers in their 'ands, hup they goes to the helefunt and 
chucks the sand in is hies, till the pore brute 'olds hup his 
trunk, hopens 'is mouth and 'oilers in hagony ; then hin they 
shoots the harrers, not in a crowd but vun by vun consecketive- 
ly, heach hafter the hother till the helerfunt drops dead huppon 
the plain hand then they dewours the wictim of their hartifice." 
While being treated to this discourse Mr. Slack was cogitat- 
ing deeply and at last in an impressive voice he burst forth 
" Gentlemen and gallant officers of the Manchester Regiment, 
however efficacious the custom of elephant catching as related 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 283 

by this worthy man may be in Africa, where the pachyderm 
is much inferior in size to the magnificent specimen we have 
to either place once more in durance vile, or destroy, yet it 
will scarcely commend itself to you as practicable in this case; 
but I have an inspiration. You must all have seen the admir- 
able picture, drawn by that inimitable artist George Cruick- 
shank, of the donkey race on Margate Sands, in which all the 
riders had huge flails in their hands with which they were 
heartily belabouring their patient mokes, whereas one gentle 
coster, cuter than the rest, had tied a bundle of carrots on to 
the end of his stick and holding the tempting vegetables 
in front of his donkey's nose cantered in an easy winner, 
thus illustrating successfully the superiority of kindness over 
brute force. If such a thing as a bunch of ripe plan- 
tains could be procured and tied on to a long bamboo, 
I will gladly face the infuriated monster, and while thus 
tempting him his attention will be distracted from what 
is taking place behind him ; the mahouts can then creep up, 
entangle his legs with their chains and we shall have him safe." 
Shahbash said the head native constable and the loafer saying 
he knew where a green-grocer's shop was, ran off soon to 
reappear with a lovely bunch of golden bananas, luscious 
enough to coax the most sulky of elephants. In vain did we im- 
plore the heroic little Civilian not to endanger his valuable life, 
pointing out that he ought to think of his family at home, and, 
moreover, that he should reflect how short-handed the Civil 
Service was of able men, but he heeded not, and handing the 
peeler's baton to Captain Maxwell, who said he would keep it 
in memory of one of the bravest instances of chivalry he had 
ever witnessed, Mr. Slack declared his stern determination to 
capture the mastodon or die in the attempt. Solemnly shak- 
ing hands with him in case they might never see him in life 
again, the rest marched after him and right up to the elephant 
he strode, greeting him with friendly words, while Willie Dixon 



284 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

murmured " Mile, mile," which means " kneel." Under the 
mango tree, with his wicked little eyes blinking, stood the 
huge brute and for a moment it looked as if he was 
going to repeat his charge and annihilate the intrepid leader, 
but slowly Slack shoved forward his delicate offering, till a 
soft smile could be distinctly seen roaming over the monster's 
countenance ; at first he somewhat suspiciously put out his 
trunk, and took a pull, breaking off only a couple of plantains, 
but one taste was enough ; a second lug took the entire bunch, 
and into his enormous cavity it was soon securely tucked. Mean- 
while two plucky mahouts, who had crept close up to him un- 
noticed, quickly enchained his back legs. Then rose in the mid- 
might air a wild shout of Collector Sahib ke jai and everyone 
knew the excitement was all over and the disturber of the night's 
rest safely shackled. Cheering uproariously soldiers and planters 
shouldered the hero of the hour and, in spite of his vigorous 
resistance, bore Mr. Slack back in triumph to the carriage. 
Full speed they tore along the road, thirsty warriors indeed, 
but on arrival at the spot where they had left Mr. Stevenson 
and his Tommies they missed the former and were told he had 
gone to re-assure a nervous gentleman that all danger was 
over. On arrival at the camp Stevenson was found sampling 
a tin of Oxford sausages, and aa empty beer bottle 
showed that he approved most heartily of Pilsener. Down the 
warriors flopped into chairs and Harry suddenly recollecting 
he had a dozen of Messrs. Deutz and Gilderman's Goldlack 
champagne, which had been thoughtfully presented to him by 
that enterprising firm Messrs. Cutler Palmer and Co., in case 
he felt overcome with hard work, it was fished out of his tent 
and they were soon in the very zenith of enjoyment, pronounc- 
ing the brand most excellent and the donors jolly good fellows. 
Loud rang the huzzahs as they drank with all honours the 
health of the saviour of the Camp and what a supper they 
made ; it was the third for some, but soon the ambrosial god 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 285 

of day lifted his golden head over the horizon, and with a view 
of getting the cobwebs out of their eyes, horses were ordered 
and out they sallied jackal dumping with short sticks, a sport 
not as difficult as might be thought, for by the end of the meeting 
Sonepore jackals are fat as pigs and cannot go far. Back 
to a sumptuous breakfast, and then alas ! the parting always 
sad at this jolliest of gatherings ; and by two o'clock only a 
few melancholy tents remained to show where once had stood 
the camp of 1895. But who stumped up for the plantains? 
Slack did not, nor did the Tommies, the loafer would have 
scorned such an action and if asked would have exclaimed a 
la poor Bertie Short 

" Base is the slave who pays." 

During the meeting and after it, the hat was sent round 
for the proposed improvements and the response was both 
prompt and generous. Over eight thousand rupees were collect- 
ed, and Mr. Mills worked throughout the hot weather indefatig- 
ably to finish the work in time for this year's meeting, the 
result being most satisfactory; he was ably aided by Mr. Long- 
muir of the B. and N. W. Railway, who lives on the spot, and 
most kindly gave a lot of his spare time and experience to 
push things on, also taking charge ( of the race course. Entries 
were bigger than for many years. Another sad death of a local 
planter occurred in April; just as the yearly Gymkhana was in 
full swing, died poor Sammy Ayres, of whom the I.P.G. thus 
wrote: 

" It is with unfeigned sorrow we hear from Chupra the 
sad news that poor Mr. S. W. Ayers has succumbed to the 
bad attack of enteric fever he has been suffering under for the 
past three weeks. Last week he seemed better, but a few 
days back his condition was more serious, and on the first day 
of the Chupra June Meeting, of which, had he been in health, 
he would have been the very life and soul, his strength gave 
out, and as good a fellow as ever breathed was lost to us. 



286 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Throughout the length and breadth of Sarun no one could be 
more mourned and missed than poor Sammy. He had all the 
qualities that go to make a good planter, enthusiastic, in- 
telligent and hard-working, with heaps of tact and honest as 
the day, he was one of the most promising of our young 
Managers, and under his able conduct Cheyton Pursah had 
grown into a very paying concern. But besides the loss that 
he is to our community as a planter and ourselves as a very 
dear friend, Behar will miss in him at a time when it can ill 
spare such, a keen and absolutely straight sportsman. A 
good rider and careful trainer, he always had something smart 
enough to carry his popular colors to victory, and for several 
years he has been one of the moving spirits at Sonepore, 
always ready to assist and back up the Stewards, and his 
unfailing good humour and willingness to sing and join 
in anything to promote sport and conviviality, made him 
a prime favorite at all social gatherings. He had this 
year been elected a Steward for the Sonepore Meeting. 
To know Sammy was enough to make one both like and 
respect him. Cut off in the very flower of his youth, and 
at the comparative commencement of a most promising 
career, his memory will long be green with us. Our 
sincerest sympathies are with his sister, who nursed him 
so tenderly throughout his illness." 

The death of Mr. Archie Hills of Patkabari, king of 
Lower Bengal indigo planters and pigstickers, was also chron- 
icled during this month, and though he had not often visited 
Sonepore, yet he was well known and liked in Behar. 

So staunch a supporter of Sonepore as Jimmy well de- 
serves that his biography should be added to these pages. 

Mr. Jimmy Macleod, the well-known sportsman and 
Managing Proprietor of the Lallseryah Indigo concern in 
Chumparun, is a descendant of an old Highland family, the 
Macleods of Raasay. Raasay, which is a beautiful Island 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 287 

among the gems of the Scottish main, is now in pos- 
session of an English Banker, and supporting deer and 
rabbits, but it was once the principality of an independent 
chief, who waged war and made treaties and slew and cap- 
tured as opportunity offered. He acknowledged the superior- 
ity of the King in Edinburgh only when down on his luck 
and hard pressed by his enemies, and paid little heed to the 
Church as shown by the entry in the inventory of the High 
Dean of the Isles " a fine rough countrie and excellent for 
fishing, appertaining to Macgilliechallallum of Raasay by the 
sword, and to the Bishop of the Isles by heritage." 

Hostilities were sharp and sudden in those days. No 

declaration of war was required against the Mackenzies across 

the narrow sea. Were not those sons of devils holding hills 

and straths in former times pastured by the Macleods ? Was 

not blood of the Siol Torquil still unwashed on their hands ? 

Had not their chief been " put to the horn" by the Council ? 

And were not their best men at the great Fair in the East 

country ? Therefore man the black birlinns, muster the Clan. 

A wild and ravening crew, in whom the quality of mercy had 

been dried up by hunger and privation, they swept silently 

through the sound and at the time of the milking of cows, when 

the maids heard the croak of the ravens on the side of Beinn 

Dubh, cast anchor in a secluded inlet. At grey dawn they were 

in hiding, after a forced march, in the birchwood above Bada- 

chroe and its yellow patches of oats and barley sloping down to 

the sea. The cattle were being driven to the heights not yet 

bereft of their herbage ; and little recked the shouting boys 

and girls of the direful faces peering from among the heather. 

The township was seen to be undefended and the invaders 

rushed forth to plunder and devastate amid the screams of 

children, the cries of women, and the execrations of men 

done to the death. Destruction and desolation were soon 

complete. Smoking ruins were all that remained of smiling 



288 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

homesteads. But as the years went by the township rose 
again and young men and maidens made merry as they tend- 
ed the herds or brought the harvest home. Memories of the 
foray had been softened by time and were relegated to the 
long winter evenings when the story was told by the blazing 
pine faggot. Another fate was reserved for Badachroe. The 
Laird learnt Sasanach ways and waste. The land was poor 
and the crofters ignorant. The Southerner was waiting with 
his gold. The big ship was anchored in the Bay. And first 
the sheep and then the deer broused on the green mounds 
of Badachroe. 

The Macleods, however, had reckoned without their host. 
A fisher-boy, gathering bait, had marked their course. The 
Mackenzies were under arms and had that morning made for 
the birlinns which put to sea to avoid capture. They were 
now on the track of the Macleods. As the latter were toiling 
with their booty through the pass by the side of a mountain 
tarn the former topped the sky line. At a level spot, where 
a small burn falls into the lake, the two bands met in rough 
line formation. After a discharge of arrows they closed at 
the double. There was no hanging back from actual combat 
nor shrinking from cold steel. Each man had to prove his 
worth with the broad sword. Among the heather they surged 
and swayed, and every now and then a wounded form fell 
or crept unnoticed, for the present, to the shelter of the burn. 
Woe to the Siol Torquil. The heather bloom was taking a 
darker tint from their blood. The remnant was being sur- 
rounded and overpowered. The hope of Raasay lay stark 
stiffening. They broke and fled. The pursuit was furious. 
At a turn in the pass where huge boulders narrow the way, 
the Macleods, seeing they would be overtaken one by one, and 
viewing a lagging comrade being butchered in the cleft below, 
turned like mountain cats and slew the advanced party of 
the Mackenzies. Thus respited and darkness coming on they 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 289 

escaped, and at the break of day embarked. Wearily, 
wearily the galleys plough the placid sea. And the voice of 
lamentation and weeping was heard that night under the walls 
of Castle Brochel. This was the period of " spoils and 
slaughters." 

In 1745 Macleod of Raasay, with 100 men, and Mackin- 
hon, of Strath, with 120 were the only Chiefs in Skye who 
joined the Standard of the Stewarts. The ill-clothed, ill-armed 
Highland Army was the derision of the people of the South. 
But under the ragged tartans beat hearts filled with the truest 
sense of chivalry and the noblest feeling of devotion. The cause 
was desperate, the expedition was being led into the jaws of 
death, the gallant assembly in the picture gallery of Holyrood 
was doomed. The followers of Prince Charlie faced the might 
of England as a forlorn hope with halters round their necks. 
Nor in any case was there a prospect of aggrandisement from 
the Stewarts, who were an accursed race luring men to 
ruin. Their Panders and Prostitutes indeed rose to eminence 
or founded noble families ; but cheap titles and worthless 
words were the rewards of the faithful. And the descendants 
of the martyrs who fell on the scaffold and in battle, or died in 
prison and in banishment, were suffered to languish in poverty 
and neglect. The spirit of the Highland gentleman was exem- 
plified in Donald Macleod, of Bernera, who, being requested to 
attend his Chief at Dunvegan in the government service replied, 
" I place at your disposal the twenty men of your tribe who 
are under my immediate command, and in any other quarrel 
would not fail to be at their head, but in the present I must go 
where a higher and more imperious duty calls me." This same 
brave Bernera, surnamed the Trojan on account of his fighting 
and begetting qualities, fought at Sheriffmuir, Falkirk and 
Culloden, and had twenty children, by his first wife, none 
by his second, and nine by his third a girl of sixteen whom 
he married when he was seventy-five. His sons lived till the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



Crimean War and a grand-daughter is alive now. Macleod, 
of Raasay, survived Culloden to be hunted like a wounded 
beast and to die from privation. His son, to whom the estate 
had been conveyed when the father went "out," had re- 
mained at home and now risked the family fortune anew 
to protect the fugitive Prince. In 1773 he entertained Dr. 
Johnson and Boswell. Here is BoswelPs description of 
Malcolm Macleod, late Captain in the Highland Army: " Now 
sixty-two years of age, hale and well proportioned with a 
manly countenance, tanned by the weather, yet having a ruddi- 
ness in his cheeks, over a great part of which his beard ex- 
tended. His eye was quick and lively, yet his look was not 
fierce, but he appeared at once firm and good humoured. He 
wore a pair of brogues ; tartan hose which came up nearly to 
his knees and left them bare ; a purple Camblet Kilt ; a black 
waistcoat ; a short green cloth coat bound with gold cord ; a 
yellowish bushy wig ; a large blue bonnet with a gold thread 
button. I never saw a figure that gave a more perfect re- 
presentation of a Highland gentleman. I wished much to have 
a picture of him just as he was. I found him frank and polite, 
in the true sense of the word." And this is Dr. Johnson's 
account of their entertainment : " Our reception exceeded 
our expectation. We found nothing but civility, elegance, and 
plenty. After the usual refreshments, and the usual conver- 
sation, the evening came upon us. The carpet was then rolled 
off the floor, the musician was called in, and the whole company 
was invited to dance ; nor did ever fairies trip it with greater 
alacrity. The general air of festivity which predominated in 
this place, so far remote from all those regions which the mind 
has been usud to contemplate as the mansions of pleasure, 
struck the imagination with a delightful surprise, analagous to 
that which is felt at an unexpected emersion from darkness 
into light. When it was time to sup, the dance ceased, and 
six-and-thirty persons saf down to two tables in the same room. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 291 

After supper the ladies sang Erse songs to which I listened as 
an English audience to an Italian Opera, delighted with the 
sound of words I did not understand. The family of Raasay 
consists of the laird, the lady, three sons and ten daughters. 
More gentleness of manners, or a more pleasing appearance 
of domestic society is not found in the most polished countries." 

The elegance and plenty which surprised Dr. Johnson 
were more than the Highland Lairds and Tacksmen could afford. 
They fought and bled in every clime. The wail of the bagpipes 
was heard all the world over where blood ran red. The flowers 
of the glens were gathered to be strewed on every field. But 
all the fighting abroad, culminating in the great struggle at 
Waterloo, did not avail to preserve the " auld hous at hame." 
Skill and capital swept away gentry and cottars. Their tillage 
was thriftless, their stock-rearing antiquated, their resources 
limited. Capital and skill came from the South. The age of 
romance lapsed. That of forced sales and clearances began. 
The fairies forsook the green, the water demons the lakes, 
Kilted, masquerading, Englishmen now scatter their sandwich 
papers by the deserted village well and the South-country 
shepherd wanders, solitary, among his sheep. The Celt was 
deported to the Cqlonies or driven to the shore. For his good 
it is said. 

Mr. Macleod's father was the last of the Macgilliechal- 
lums in Skye. He held land neither by the sword nor by 
heritage. But for all that his influence over his countrymen as- 
a clergyman and a leader was more extensive, real and 
beneficent than that of any of his race. In later days his 
commanding figure, beautiful white hair, deep-blue eyes, 
and his countenance illumined by the light that never was 
on sea or shore were powerful to impress. And behind 
these was a keen, dialectic mind and a strong will. And 
with them the courtesy and grace of a high-spirited Highland 
gentlemen. No wonder the people worshipped him. 



292 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

An eccentric but lovable person a castaway as Cowper 
was who had retired to the Isle of Skye from a grass coun- 
try, used to say of the Macleods : " I like them all ; but 
Jimmy is a fine creature ; and he knows a good horse." These 
are his characteristics to this day. Good and true are hackney- 
ed terms and have been applied with little discrimination 
to frequenters of the turf and to busybodies at meets ; but to 
the furthest stretch of their meaning they describe the career 
of Jimmy Macleod. " Pass him by, he is down ; regard him 
not, he is ill-favoured " have never been suggestions to his 
generous mind. Reproof and railing sometimes in speech, 
kindness and helpfulness always in action, sum up his con- 
duct. To Lall Serryah on the Lake the men and women of 
Chumparun and Tirhoot have gathered as one large family. 
Oh the merry days ! The merry days when we were young ! 
Laughter holding both his sides was the presiding genius 
then. A native banker remarked " The Sahib log, when they 
meet, are continually laughing." No doubt he was of opinion 
they should have been pondering with grave visage on the 
rupaiyapaisa. And peradventure the purses of some plan- 
ters would have been heavier if they had counted more and 
laughed less. But the best years of their life had to be 
spent in India perforce. Was the great central period of 
their existence, when such faculties as they possessed were 
at their highest capacity, to be passed only in a sluggish em- 
ployment of the powers of the body without the incentive 
to exertion of the sympathy of dear friends, the humanising 
influence of the charms of music, the cheering and comfort- 
ing effect of social intercourse, the invigorating and inspirit- 
ing rivalry of legitimate sport? Were planters to prepare 
for a miserable retirement at home by a debasing and brutish 
seclusion out here ? Were they to assimilate themselves to 
that thing which neither reads, nor rides, nor plays polo, nor 
is seen in the ranks, or by the jungle cover, or on the banks 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 293 

of the murmuring stream ? Were they to impoverish their 
affections until their hearts were past rejoicing? God forbid! 
Under the leadership of Jimmy Macleod they have made for 
themselves homes,wherein the associations of the Fatherland are 
revived, and under his leadership they have formed a society, 
parochial perhaps and narrow in its interests, but second to 
none in brotherliness and, for the matter of that, sisterliness. 
But hie to the grasses of the North ; hark to the trumpet- 
ings of the elephants and the shouts of the coolies ; note for 
an instant the hush of expectancy ; mark the moving of the 
reeds ; listen to the roar of the line Suar ! Suar ! There 
he goes across the plain. Oh noble pig, king of the hunted 
ones, speed thee well. Steady, steady, or he will turn. Give 
him confidence, his place of safety is far away in yon green 
" nurkut." He rests, disturb him not. Allow time for re- 
flection and hustle him not to hasty resolves. He moves ! 
Confound that eager fool on the prancing horse ! Is he think- 
ing of the fair one's question " Who got first spear?" Hold 
back, Sir. Soft, he moves again ! His choice is made with 
a lingering glance at the grass of peaceful slumber. The 
swell is topped and he is out of sight. Off ! Jimmy has been 
an actor in such scenes as this until their memories 
must be thick as autumn leaves. He and Paddy Hudson have 
been brothers in the chase as in everything else. It was a 
pleasure to see them after a boar, how they suited their 
tactics to the nature of the country and were neither 
flustered nor selfish. When it came to the final rush, 
Jimmy was generally in front on a racer, with lively 
recollections of close finishes during the past cold season 
tearing at his bit. But when the course was short and the 
patches of cover close, and a turning movement had to be 'execu- 
ted the horses were sent along as hard as they could go, regard- 
less of what might be before them. Jimmy's spear has more 
than once been of service to his friends in their need. On 



294 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

one occasion after Paddy had delivered a spear his horse fell 
and lay on his legs. In an agony the wounded pig was limp- 
ing up to be at him. Enter to them Jimmy on a skittish mare 
which, without more ado, to complicate matters, set to buck- 
ing. So there they were all three in difficulties. But a blow 
with the lead end of the spear between the ears brought the 
mare to her senses. And poor piggy was denied his desire 
and deprived of his life a few yards from Paddy's head. 
Another time " Shires " Canning and pig fell together over a 
blind ditch. They were so near that Shires kicked pig on the 
snout. A moment longer and the prospects of the family of 
Canning would have been poor indeed, for Jimmy's spear 
went through the boar almost between Shires' leg. Again, 
when poor Bob Hill was lying senseless, his horse having 
tumbled over the pig, Jimmy came to the rescue. And these 
instances might be multiplied. Another experience for Paddy 
was the old Peeprah Jemadar plugging his nose to bring his 
breath back. The biggest boar ever bagged in these districts 
(he measured 42 inches) was speared by Jimmy off a 13-2 pony. 
They mistook him for a young buffaloe at first, as he was seen 
in the distance lolloping across country. The pony must have 
been a rare one, for against the two Urquharts and George 
Llewhellin he secured four first spears that day. George 
Llewhellin in those years was the keenest rider of them all. 
Who would suspect him now of throwing over his topee to 
lighten the burden in a stern chase. Jimmy, even in the 
madness of youth, was ever careful of his horse and had only 
one cut, counting it better to miss a spear than to sacrifice 
the brave animal which trusted his guidance. 

Falls and spills were of daily occurrence in breaking raw 
horses and in schooling. " Who is this Mr. John who is always 
smashing his bones?" questioned a reader of the Indian 
newspapers in London. Any snorting brute which would let 
a collar over his ears was shoved into the trap. " Come along, 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 295 

Infant, he is all right/' was the invitation for the evening 
drive. But now and then things did not turn out all right for 
the Infant. One day when the horse bolted the bit broke and 
Jimmy nipped off by the back seat. The Infant, unaware of 
the cause of the manoeuvre, valiantly seized the reins to try 
his hand. But the harder he pulled the faster they went, 
until at last he was deposited with his pipe, lit, between his 
teeth on the slope of an embankment and the horse was cap- 
sized into a river. 

Jimmy has been a steadfast lover of polo from its birth. His 
play, like that of most men in Behar, is not scientific ; but for hard 
hitting and fast going and ardour of inclination he is not to be 
beaten. Indeed, feeble folk would rather he did not go so 
fast or shave so closely. Swish, and the vacuum he creates 
as he rushes past is enough to take the wind out of one. 
" Holloa," you hear from the corner of the ground, " there is 
Jimmy on that pulling brute Lucifer : he will be the maiming 
of some of us before long." But though upsets and incidents 
of various kinds have been frequent, nobody has yet been 
badly hurt. Many is the tough game that has been played at 
Lall Serryah, and long and animated were the discussions after 
dinner, when the owner of Geraldine was in a mood to descant 
on his mare or to set the table into a roar. 

The Behar Light Horse have pretty well been consumed 
by the fuel of red-tapeism, but they now show signs of playing 
the Phoenix. Under great discouragement and difficulties 
Colonel Hudson, Major Macleod and others have struggled to 
maintain the one link connecting the planters with the com- 
monweal. Lieutenant-Governors of Bengal have hitherto 
taken a " from-in the-clouds " view of the Corps. We have 
scarcely heard one of them, save Sir Steuart Bayley, express 
a desire for the prosperity of the Corps or give an indication 
that he considered it worth the trouble of inspection. An 
expression of boredom that His Excellency should be pestered 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 



with an escort has been all the notice vouchsafed. Nor have 
others been slow to take up the cue. Volunteering has been 
regarded by a section of the community as the outcome of fri- 
volity, a conspiracy against honest work, a defrauding of 
employers, the antics of demoniacs rushing down the steep 
in short it has been classed under sport. That the Behar 
planter's only political standing should not be cut away, and 
that, under happier auspices, the Regiment should be renewing 
its strength, is due to those who have stuck to it through 
thick and thin at the cost of inconvenience, irksomeness and 
temper. But to return to our subject. 

In the opinion "of the older professionals Mr. W. B. Hud- 
son (Paddy) and Jimmy, who has always raced and ridden as 
Mr. John, were the first gentlemen riders in India. It was 
really a fine sight to see the former finishing. The horse was 
helped and compelled to make his effort until the last ounce 
was out of him at the post. In this Paddy was facile princeps. 
The points of Mr. John's riding were judgment, knowledge of 
pace, pluck, presence of mind and dogged determination. His 
perception of pace was a gift perfected by any amount of prac- 
tice in riding races and gallops. At every period of a race he 
knew intuitively the pace in respect to timing and what his 
mount could accomplish. The consequence was that his 
management was rarely at fault. The horse was ridden 
exactly as best suited his qualities relatively to those of the 
other horses. And at the right moment he was called upon 
to use up the reserve power which had been carefully 
proportioned to the requirements of the occasion. With- 
out pluck race-riding is a shuffling business. Mr. John's 
has often stood him in good stead and landed him a win- 
ner when a man with less nerve would have been hopelessly 
beaten. At Sonepore that big, powerful brute Boura Bill, 
coarse but not currish, who would jog every step of the 
way if you rode him from Lall Serryah to Calcutta, and whom 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 297 

we all hated, cracked his rider's knee-cap against the dis- 
tance post ; but, on a 2lb. saddle, he was ridden out and 
finished on as if nothing had happened. In steeplechasing 
it was almost altogether pluck that made Mr. John such a 
brilliant performer. Once he had taught him fencing his 
method was to leave a horse to himself and we know what 
that requires. None of his horses ever refused in a chase or in 
a hurdle race. Delphos, Brown Duchess, Gameboy and others 
in their day were well known on this side of India, and 
always gave a good account of themselves in his hands. On 
the former he passed the post first amid great enthusiasm in 
the Grand Annual Chase in Calcutta. Delphos was a gentle, 
clever creature, beloved of his owner, and whom a baby in 
long clothes might have ridden. Under varying circum- 
stances Mr. John invariably kept his head on the course and 
was ever ready to take advantage of the chances that offer in 
a race. He never gave up while there was a ray of hope, 
and in steeplechasing has been known to win by sheer deter- 
mination when most men would have thrown up their hands 
half way round. He rode with the same pair of blunted 
spurs for fifteen years, preferring a few cuts of the whip as 
more effective than spurring when punishment was required. 
In one season he won 50 out of 75 mounts and in another 
21 out of 26. In two years Paddy rode second to him 52 
times. But we have heard Mr. John say he chose his mounts 
and had his own horses, while Paddy rode for anybody. For 
twenty years in the hot weather his weight was about 
13 stone, and in the cold from under 10 to 1 1. The reduction 
was made by careful feeding without the help of physic ; and 
he owes the preservation of nerve and health in this country 
after a thirty years' sojourn, with little leave, to temperate living 
and plenty of exercise. His recoveries from broken collar-bones 
from a split knee-cap and from contusions all over the body 
were extraordinarily quick on this account. Three horses were 



298 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE.- 

killed under him steeplechasing and pig-sticking. With great 
regret sportsmen have heard a rumour of Mr. John's contem- 
plated retirement from the Indian Turf, but we hope the 
black and yellow will be seen on our courses for many years 
to come. 

It remains only to be said that under Jimmy Macleod's 
management Lall Serryah long ago sold for 200 maunds of 
oats has developed into a valuable concern, as flourishing as 
the present times will permit, which is not saying much. His 
workings with the ryots have been on the give-and-take 
principle " you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." 
Jimmy goes home at the end of this cold weather for a 
longish space. 



CHAPTER XLII. 
YEAR 1896. 

The Sonepore Meeting of 1896 will long be remembered 
as one of the most successful on record, and more particularly 
because of the splendid additions made to the grand stand 
and ball and supper rooms. At the end of last meeting Harry 
Abbott, following the example set him by Teddy Drummond 
in 1868, sent a round robbin to all old and present patrons 
of the meeting, pointing out that the accommodation in stand 
and building was not now sufficient to hold the yearly increas- 
ing numbers who flocked to the meeting. This appeal w T as 
most generously responded to. Right royally did the Maha- 
rajahs, who have so many years been staunch patrons of the 
meet, put their hands in their pockets. 

Baboo Baijnath Pershad, the new lessee of the Ghats, 
headed the list with the handsome donation of two thousand 
rupees. Baboo Rameshwar Narain Mahtha, the well-known 
Banker of Mozufferpore, contributed seven hundred and the 
Maharajahs of Durbangah and Hutwa each gave five hundred 
rupees. The Jaintpore Mahunt sent three hundred, Messrs. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 2QQ 

Gillanders Arbuthnot and Co. two hundred and fifty and Messrs. 
Thomas and Moran two hundred each. Nearly every old 
friend of the meeting sent in his quota and close on eight 
thousand five hundred rupees was the handsome total reached. 
In spite of fears of the coming famine a goodly gather- 
ing assembled under the trees on the 2oth November ; the 
ladies managing the different camps having arrived some days 
previously. In his favorite spot in the corner was encamped 
the oldest living patron of Sonepore, Mr. J. J. Macleod, for 
whom Mrs. Hall of Mozufferpore was kindly managing ; and 
right well she presided. About a dozen guests were bidden, 
among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Hall, Mr. and Mrs. C. C. 
McLeod, Mrs. W. Thomas, Mr. R. D. West, Mr. Hobhouse, 
and others. Sir W. B. Hudson, looking far from himself, 
was there for a couple of days, but did not stay through the 
meet. Next on the right came the biggest gathering of the 
lot, the combined camp of Messrs. R. S. Lockhart, C. A. 
Mills and D. Macpherson, the clans mustered strong at this 
camp, John, George and Tom Macdonald were the-re, so was 
that stalwart man of Gorakhpore, the hospitable Laird of Bub- 
nowley, Jock Mackinnon. Chupra was represented by the 
best looking civilian of his year, the modest Mr. Gauntlett, 
Bhagulpore sent another leading light of the service, Mr. 
B. Allen, whose endeavours to find a piece of horseflesh to 
match properly with his pretty pink and white complexion, 
caused infinite amusement. Mr. and Mrs. "Bones" Wilson, Mr. 
and Mrs. Artie Hume, Mr. and Mrs. Nicolay, Mr. and Mrs. 
Ryves, and a fair bevy of sweet maids consisting of Miss 
Gonway-Gordon, Miss Goldsbury, Miss Green, Miss Lawrie 
and Miss Bryan, the latter a charming young Australian lady, 
who has come on a visit to see India. The crack G.R. of 
India, who rides under the name of Mr. Edward and \i\sfidus 
achates, Mr. Kiernander, were also among the guests, as was 
that versatile bachelor Mr. G. G. G. Anderson and they 



300 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE, 

thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. Mr. H. E. Abbott and his 
daughter, Mrs. Barrow, were guests of Mr. Macpherson, 
and last but not least, was that great authority on form, 
Mr. Tim Lockhart. Mr. and Mrs. Bob Lockhart are household 
words at Sonepore, and their camp is always the popular 
evening rendezvous. Mrs. Hume's wondrous whistling and 
playing was listened to with the attention it so richly 
deserved and her talented husband's singing and acting 
nightly drew crowds to hear him. His song about the lady 
who had a pair of bloomers which she was too modest to wear, 
was distinctly smart. Mr. Knyvett's was the next camp, and 
then came Mr. Hare's, at which Mrs. Ramsay was presiding, 
the party numbered about sixteen. Then came the shamiana 
of Mr. Bourdillon, Commissioner of Patna, who had a fair 
crowd during the two days. His Honor the Lieutenant- 
Governor was present. Among the permanent guests were 
Mr. and Mrs. Ninian Elliot, just out from home, Mr. and Mrs. 
Lowis of Bettiah, Mrs. Bignell and Mr. A. Elliot. Then came 
a beautifully got up shamiana, the presiding deity of which 
was Mrs. Barclay and muchly did the thirty guests enjoy the ten 
days' hospitality shown them by the kindly Laird of Motipore. 
The Misses Evans from Calcutta were among the party. This 
camp was famous for the beauty of its young men, Messrs. 
Daubeny and Beatty being the prize winners. Last on the 
line were the tents of the Dinapore combined camp, ably run 
by that brilliant and most good-natured little lady Mrs. 
Tweddle. First at the end of the opposite side rose the big 
encampment of Mr. Charley Hay-Webb, best of sportsmen 
and pigstickers. In numbers the gathering was almost as large 
as Mr. Lockhart's, and round the piano every night assem- 
bled as jolly a lotas ever met at Sonepore. Taller than them 
all loomed the fine figure of the Rev. Hon'ble J. Marsham 
and his grand voice, still unimpaired by time, was a treat to 
all fortunate enough to hear him sing. Among the ladies 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 301 

were Mrs. Hudson, Miss Rhodes, Miss Were, Miss Crane, 
Miss Ryles, Miss Weston, Miss Macnaghten, the two Misses 
Crawford and several others, while the sterner sex was re- 
presented by Mr. Harry Hudson, who supported the racing 
part of the entertainment heartily, and that greatest of war 
correspondents and luckiest of racing men, Mr. Lionel James, 
who cleared the board with his new purchase Pointsman. 
There too was Mr. Cruickshank, the popular Traffic Superin- 
tendent at Somastipore, now alas for the comfort of passen- 
gers by the Tirhoot line, shortly to leave for Uganda, where, 
if he does not find a premature grave in the interior of a 
savage but well meaning cannibal warrior, he will probably 
amass a fortune. Mr. Edgell, Mr. Harrington, Mr. Parsons, 
Mr. " Minor " and Mr. " Lump " Marsham, and a heap of 
juniors made up the rest. On Mr. Slack's old site was Mr. 
F. Place, Judge of Chupra, who had kindly bidden as guests 
all who had nowhere to lay their weary heads. With him 
were Mr. and Mrs. Simkins, Mr. Chapman, the new Chupra 
Joint Magistrate, Veterinary Captain Raymond, and half a 
dozen others. Then came a bachelor camp bossed by those 
festive youths, Mr. Percy Jones and Jack Rutherford, at 
which were the brothers Lee, Mr. Tom Macdonald, Mr. 
Warren and several other gay young sparks who hospitably 
entertained all passers-by every evening with vermouth, sloe, 
gin and other kindred spirits. Last on the list were two small 
encampments, one run by Mr. Jimmy King of Gorakhpore and 
the other by Mr. Onraet of Mudhobunhi. These with Framji's 
hotel completed the camps for 1896. 

The day after the Lleutenant-Governor left saw clouds 
gathering all round, and the evening drive was put a stop to 
by a steady drizzle, which, while insufficient to do any lasting 
good to the afflicted districts, was a temporary pick-me-up 
to the standing crops, and though pianos were rained in on, 
and the shamianas were turned into receptacles for bathing 



302 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

tubs, yet everyone took it good naturedly, feeling how wel- 
come the downpour was to the anxious peasants and planters. 
Had the rain but fallen while the conference was in progress, 
the Hindoos would have connected it with His Honor's visit, 
they would have made a little tin god of and worshipped 
him for ever after. Old Beharites were indeed glad to see 
Mr. C. C. Stevens again, for he made himself universally liked 
when in charge of Patna, and he will be received with open 
arms, if it be true that he comes amongst us again as Manager 
of the Hutwa Raj ; a sound statesman, good lawyer and 
penman, gifted with infinite tact and the most courteous 
manners, cautious, experienced, sympathetic and having a 
thorough knowledge of the Hindoo character, he will be the 
right man to guide the estate through the minority. Mr. 
Finucane, too, found may old friends to welcome him, and it 
was universally regretted that Mrs. and Miss Stevens and 
Mrs. Finucane had not come with the party. Mr. Gayer met 
many who had known his parents well, when Dr. Gayer was 
.Civil Surgeon of Mozufferpore, and Sir Alec himself was 
remembered when he was a caustic youngster at Arrah. He 
won more than one sportsman's heart by the enthusiastic way 
he greeted Mr. Edwards' fine riding of Pointsman and we 
were only sorry we saw so little of one who can speak like a 
man, and is certain to keep a level head in a crisis such as 
has now to be faced in the province under his rule. His 
Honor has evidently heard of the rude way the Chupra 
dacoits treated his predecessor and, not wishing to be either 
robbed or abducted, brought his own special Bobby with him, 
Sir John Lambert's right hand, the invaluable Mr. Hogg, who 
saw Sir Alexander safely across the Ganges, and then re- 
turned to sample the turkey and champagne, on which he 
passed a favorable judgment. Our old friends Messrs. Bourne 
and Shepherd were absent this year, but Messrs. Johnston 
and Hoffmann sent up an obliging and bright little represen- 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 303 

tative, who not only coaxed every camp to be 'operated on, 
but even induced those grave and reverend seniors, the Stew- 
ards, to face the camera ; he also got several flying shots at 
the horses when passing the winning post, so visitors should 
be able to obtain excellent souvenirs of the Meeting. Mr. 
Lionel James was taken sitting at his writing table surrounded 
by all the papers for which this talented youth is correspon- 
dent, and with Pointsman in the distance, chewing a copy of 
the day's Englishman and seeming to enjoy it as much as 
his readers do the Truthful One's graphic stories. All district 
residents, though sorry to hear Mr. Arthur Forbes is not re- 
turning, were glad that Mr. Bourdillon was to remain on as 
Commissioner of Patna, for no new man could have grasped 
the situation properly. Unless unusually copious rain falls 
within the next few weeks, Behar will have parlous times to 
face from March till the middle of July, and failing Mr. 
Forbes, Mr. Bourdillon is the man for the crisis ; the latter 
intends to give up his projected furlough and to sit tight till 
anxiety is over. The duties of looking after the ball and 
supper rooms were ably done by Mr. Alec Knyvett and right 
well did the veteran policeman manage things, saving a lot of 
money in wastage of champagne and sensibly getting the 
assistance of a professional in Sergeant-Major Sutton, of 
the Behar Light Horse, to do decorations ; right well did the 
ball-room look, though the floor was a bit heavy the first night 
and some few strangers were thoughtless enough to make 
unkind remarks, not realising that only two days before the 
dance had the workmen on the new repairs finished their 
labours. However, with a supper and ball-room doubled in 
size, a commodious new bar and band room, not to mention 
improvements to the grand stand and verandah, the comfort- 
able additions to the ladies' cloak room and other petty im- 
provements, there was not much to grumble over and by the 
second day the floor was lovely going. 



304 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

Lobo's band played well throughout. As far as the 
Meeting went socially, it was most enjoyable, and the racing 
was marred by neither disputes nor disgraceful incidents. 
The one thing which militated against the Meeting being 
a record one, was the absence of a lady to take the lead. 
Invariably this position has been either taken by the 
wife of the Commissioner of Patna or the Collector of 
Chupra. This year in both cases things were all upside down. 
Mr. Bourdillon expecting to be transferred almost directly 
after the meeting, was only able at the last moment, on hear- 
ing he was to remain, to hurry up a temporary camp to ac- 
commodate the L.-G, his Staff and a few personal friends, and 
did not profess to rule the roost. The same thing was the 
case at Chupra, Mr. Earle only took over charge a few days- 
before the meeting, and, like Mr, Bourdillon, had neither 
furniture nor facilities for running a camp. Mrs. Place, wife 
of the popular Judge, was at home, and so the Honorary 
Secretary had to let the camps go as they pleased. At the 
winding-up supper Mr. Place at the last moment was rushed 
in to asking those present to drink the Stewards' health, and 
under other circumstances the toast would have been well 
received, but the band began to play just as he started,, 
and up got the dancers and chaos ruled so supreme, that 
but little he said could be heard. Save Mr. Abbott's the 
same may be said of most of the rest of the speeches 
and undoubtedly a good deal of soreness resulted, for it 
was but fair that men who like Messrs. Longmuir, Mills 
and Knyvett, to whose exertions those who enjoyed the 
meeting owed their fun, should have a few kind pats on the 
back in return. Only those who do the work can grasp what 
it means to run a show in a place like Sonepore, which has 
no town near it, and save Mr. Longmuir no resident near 
at hand, or conceive what the willing labourers have to go- 
through to ensure everything flowing smoothly to the end. 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 305 

The Gymkhana was well run by Mr. King of the Manchester 
and a very amusing afternoon was passed with Durban- 
gah's band to enliven the show, and a capital programme 
brought forth any amount of competition in spite of the 
fact that the rain had driven away many of those who would 
have had a try for the different events. Miss Green, who 
is a household word in Behar Gymkhanas and is the " Mr. 
Edward " among the riding ladies, won the trotting race in 
a walk on Mr. " Bones " Wilson's buggy mare, and then that 
hard-headed soldier Mr. Souter, who is, to the regiment's 
sorrow, leaving the Manchester, won an in-and-out-of-posts 
polo competition. For the ladies' jumping competition 
several above the average riders put in an appearance, and 
that plucky little cross country rider, Miss Evans, had no 
hesitation in coming out on a pony of Mr. James' to do battle 
with the big horses ridden by Mrs. Tweddle, Mrs. Ryves, 
Miss Burroughs and Mrs. Barrow. Eventually Mrs. Tweddle 
was adjudged winner, though Mrs. Barrow on Newmarket, 
came in for a not-uncalled-for amount of applause when she 
cleared a measured 25 feet with the obstacle in between. 
She won the pony jumping prize easily with Gobbit, trained 
by herself, and the Girton Stakes was won by Mr. F. 
Macnamara and Mrs. J. A. M. Wilson. The native portion 
of the fair was the smallest on record, the rajahs and zemin- 
dars mustered freely owing to the chance of a durbar being 
held by the Lieutenant-Governor. Sir W. B. Hudson was 
present, but took no part in the festivities and seemed by no 
means the staunch promoter of sport he was in his younger 
days. He looked ill and broken down, and only a few of his 
own clique knew he was in the Camp. Time was when Paddy, 
if he had lifted his little finger, could have done what he liked 
with the boys of Behar and he could have done just as much 
as in days of yore, at the meeting of 1896, had he chosen, for 
most of his oldest and warmest friends were at the Meeting, 



306 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

but he kept himself in mufti and all were sorry to see the 
genial Irishman so changed. The polo ground, owing to the 
unusual want of rain, was a bit hard, but the interest in the 
now popular game was well sustained throughout, and tennis 
was well supported. Mrs. Lockhart, Mrs. Hay-Webb, Mrs. 
Barclay, Mrs. Hall, Mrs. Ramsay, Mrs. Tweddle and the other 
ladies who managed the various camps had no light sinecure and 
right ably did they run their different shows. And now Sonepore 
from 1896 enters on an entirely new epoch. The old order of 
things has changed. In olden days the leading Civilians and 
planters ran the meeting as personal hosts, and the leading 
racing men of India brought their horses to compete. Now 
treble the number of people come, but they are no longer 
united by ties of connection, nor can they fitly be termed a 
family party lot. Comparative strangers to each other are both 
hosts and guests of the different camps and Stewards will 
have in future to accept the change. Probably few of those on 
the list of 1896 will be in evidence ten years hence, but they 
can at any rate lay the flattering unction to themselves, that 
they have left things in a state to satisfy the most exigeant 
of successors. 

The racing had, if entries were to be taken as any 
criterion, promised to be far above the average, but the chap- 
ter of accidents kept many outside horses away. Mr. Abbott's 
Tornado went wrong with liver early in the rains and had to 
be thrown out of work, hard lines, for the horse was just the sort 
for Behar Meetings. Then Monica hurt herself jumping, so 
Mr. Greenhill was not represented. Messrs. Milton and Co. 
sent nothing, and Hester having died, Mr. Martin did not 
<:are to send up Rambler alone, yet in spite of all these draw- 
backs the events were, in most cases, open, the contests close, 
and the racing good. Mr. Edward came up with Mr. Abbott's 
string, Alan, Victor and Kera, and Young had charge of Mr. 
Hardwick's Stowaway and Wellington ; Ramshaw brought the 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 307 

Nawab of Patna's pretty pony Rose, and these were all 
Calcutta sent. Mr. Jimmy King came from Gorakhpore with 
the Rajah of Tumkoi's Royal Rose and Ekka, as well as the 
Lall Saheb of Bansi's No Go, Mr. Wilson's Firefly and Mr. 
Rahugraf's Petroleum. Mr. John had Evelyn II., Real Jam, 
Cocab, Eve II. Skye, Malakand and Spider ; Mr. Francis had 
Greenstone, Kapo, Greyling and Florida ; Mr. Loftus, Hobart, 
Picallili and Fair Helen ; Mr. Quintin, Idalia, Mike, Shrimp 
and Fanny Leah ; Mr. Hay-Webb had Pointsman and 
Ghostie trained for Mr. Stanlake, Squib, Chester and Ful- 
hatta ; Mr. Yorke had only Moohahil. These, with a few 
others, constituted the competitors. The course was fair 
going considering the year, and Mr. Longmuir had done all 
that was possible in ploughing and manuring. Lotteries on 
the first night were poor, only four filling, Stowaway was made 
favorite for the Hutwa Cup and Squib for the Doomraon one ; 
Wellington, a hot favorite in the two, filled in the Planters' 
Gazette Cup. The improvements in the grand stand were 
much appreciated and Sonepore now compares in that respect 
favorably with any of the up-country meetings. There is 
ample room for five or six hundred people, and Messrs. Mills 
and Longmuir deserve the hearty thanks of all connected with 
the meeting, the one for planning and the other for seeing 
the work so well executed. At eight o'clock the Durbangah 
band struck up a lively tune as the three competitors for the 
Hutwa Cup, Alan, Stowaway and Pointsman, paraded. Alan 
had the services of Mr. Edward, Stowaway had Young in the 
saddle, Wiles steered Pointsman. Mr. C. Miller and his 
brother Ted kindly started throughout the meeting and un- 
commonly well they did it. Charley Miller has thrown his heart 
and soul into polo, and ably piloted his team to victory at the 
last Behar Polo Tournament. The Messrs. Miller proved 
themselves most useful aids to the Stewards, ungrudgingly 
depriving themselves of the sight of any single race solely to 



308 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

oblige, and they deserved the heartiest thanks of all owners, 
for there was not one bad start, and every rider allowed that 
he had the fullest confidence in the gentlemen who so kindly 
wielded the flags. 

In the Planters' Gazette Cup, in spite of a difficult field 
of eight unruly ponies, they were got off at the third attempt, 
Piccalilli rushing to the front, the rest in a cluster, the favor- 
ite held well in the centre ; at the distance post Young 
brought Wellington to the front and he cantered in an easy 
winner by three lengths ; Idalia second. In the Hutwa Cup 
Wiles, presumably under orders, took Pointsman to the front 
at a rare pace, but the horse was not fit enough to last out, 
and he was passed at the corner by Stowaway, but Mr. 
Edward was waiting quietly behind, and at the quarter mile 
he drew up to the leader, and from this cantered home an 
easy winner. Evelyn II made running in the Bettiah Cup, 
but Squib and Victor soon joined her, Mr. Edward again 
riding a fine race, and winning on the post all out by a head. 
Favoritism was equally divided for Jessop's Cup between 
Greyling, Cocab, Moohahil and Petroleum, but the game little 
grey of Mr. Francis' simply squandered his field and romped 
home ten lengths in front of Moohahil, who was steered by 
Mr. Edward. Ghostie had an almost equally easy win for 
Messrs. Moran & Co's Cup, though all the others were fancied 
as good goods. In fact the day's racing was far from bad, and 
though the fields in the horse races were poor, yet Mr. 
Edward's finish in the Bettiah Cup was a fine exhibition of 
horsemanship. Alan struck into Stowaway's heels coming 
round the corner, and had to be thrown out for the entire 
meeting. Another bit of hard luck on his owner. 

Prospects for the second day's racing were much marred 
by the unusually big field for the Durbangah Cup resolving itself 
into a walk over for Stowaway, as Pointsman's owner elected 
to start his horse for the Doomraon Cup, three-quarters of 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 39 

a mile, even with eleven stone to carry, sooner than face Stow- 
away over a mile and getting seven pounds from him. Messrs. 
Framji's Cup was won by Petroleum, Mr. Edward up; Picalilli 
second. The Doomraon Cup proved the best race of the day. 
Sir Alexander Mackenzie came just in time to see it run for, 
and the representative of the generous donor, Sir Jaypergas 
Lall stood by His Honor on the grand stand while the race 
came off. If ever a race was won by sheer horsemanship, the 
Doomraon Cup was ; at the distance the weight told and 
Pointsman's tail started giving signals of distress, but Mr. 
Edward sat down and nursing his beaten horse with the most 
consummate judgment, just squeezed him home by half a 
length amidst the most enthusiastic cheering ever heard at 
Sonepore. In the grand stand, as Pointsman, Greenstone 
and Squib passed locked together and it was apparent that 
riding alone helped Pointsman to the position he occupied 
the stentorian tones of Sir Alec's voice rang out in sheer 
admiration at the fine display " Well ridden, well ridden, well 
ridden, Sir." It was a manly recognition of merit, and as 
Mr. Edward rode in, the plaudits in the enclosure were re- 
newed again and again. In addition to the pleasure afforded 
horsemen, such as Behar planters are, in seeing the keen 
struggle between the riders of Pointsman and Greenstone, 
they were the more gratified at seeing a young assistant's 
horse not only holding his own against all comers, but 
virtually sweeping the board. Mr. James is a consistent 
supporter of racing, does not confine himself to ponies, 
and richly deserved his success ; he has, so far, been uniformly 
lucky in his racing career, his nags have been well and 
cheaply bought, and his success should be a stimulus to 
others to go and do likewise. Greenstone ran a good 
and game horse, and Young rode him well, but he was 
pitted against a master of coolness and judgment, and no 
blame to him that he was beaten. Mr. Francis, or to give 



310 REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 

him his proper name, Mr. Vincent, was recompensed by 
seeing Greyling with Young up, score another easy win for 
Syed Munjhli Nawab's Cup, and then came a selling race, Ekha 
and Kera, the only starters, Mr. Edward on the latter had 
simply to trot to win. Mr. Abbott sold the horse afterwards 
to Mr. Macleod for one of his assistants, and he will probably 
figure at Mozufferpore. Lotteries were good on Monday night, 
and fields fair for Tuesday's events. Piccalilli, who was made 
a hot favorite in spite of his popular young owner's tearful 
remonstrances that the handicapper had been most cruel, won 
Messrs. Bourne and Sheperd's Album easily, and then came 
the race of the meeting, the Civilians' Cup. Squib had changed 
hands, having passed into the possession of that best of good 
fellows and sportsmen, Mr. Gye, who bought him chiefly 
for the Mozufferpore chases, in which with his turn of foot 
Squib should figure prominently. Mr. Webb parted with him 
only because he is going home in the spring. Stowaway at 
10 stone and Pointsman gst, 81bs. divided favoritism, but the 
crowds of non-racing men piled it on the Bicanpore brown 
as soon as Mr. Edward appeared in Mr. James' colors. Their 
confidence was not misapplied, for once more this honest 
horse got home, this time with fair ease. At last that careful 
amateur Mr. Quintin had a win, and on Shrimp he appropriat- 
ed Mr. Mills' Cup ; Malakand, a lovely Arab pony of Mr.. 
Ninian Elliot's, not yet fit, getting second. But now came 
the biggest upset of the week, Kellner's Cup, which brought 
the biggest field of the meeting to the post, ten going out, the 
favorites were nowhere, and the dead outsiders Royal Rose 
and No Go, trained by Mr. Jimmy King for the Tumkohi 
Rajah and Lall Saheb of Bansi, ran first and second; they 
had only fetched ten rupees each in the two lotteries held in 
the race. All were glad to see the Rajah win, for he is a 
good sportsman and had given a Cup to the races ; and still 
more to see Mr. King's careful training rewarded. Royal 



REMINISCENCES OF SONEPORE. 311 

Rose was sold to the Rajah by Gascard and was one of the many 
fine ponies that importer brought up last year. Mr. Edward 
added another leaf to his already full laurel wreath by steering 
Greenstone home for Messrs. Thomas' Cup. It is thirty years 
ago since Mr. Frank Vincent, the father of Greenstone's owner, 
was the able director of racing at Sonepore, and it was one of 
the pleasantest incidents of the meeting to old frequenters to 
see his son lucky on the same course which had witnessed so 
many triumphs of his sporting father. The Tumkohi Purse, 
presented by the Rajah, was fittingly won by another Behar 
Prince, Syed Munjhli Nawab of Patna, a Steward of the meet- 
ing, and who had himself presented one of the handsomest 
prizes of the meeting. This wound up the racing. Too many 
thanks could not be given to Mr. C. C. McLeod for the care 
he gave the handicaps, which the Stewards after passing 
found but little to cavil at ; the finishes were a criterion of their 
excellence. Mr. Tim Lockhart was a careful Clerk of Scales 
and the general arrangements were all that could be desired. 
The cards of the days' racing and the ball programmes supplied 
by Messrs. Thacker, Sprink & Co., were most creditable to 
that enterpising firm. 

And with this I must end Sonepore Reminiscences, 
perhaps years hence some other inkslinger may take up his 
pen and tell how racing improved or retrograded on the 
favorite old course and some other sportsman may hold the 
reins which I have done for so many years. 





A, MILTON & CO., 

HORSE IMPORTERS & DEALERS, HACK & RAGE STABLES. 

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FOR PAPERCHASING & PIGSTICKING 

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and good performances. 

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weight carriers and good Arab Ponies 

N.B. Many of the above have C. T. C. Certificates. 



AMERICA)* AND ENGLISH HARNESS 



AND 



AMERICAN TRAPS. 



HORSES & CARRIAGES 
Bought and Sold on Commission. 

Horses stabled at Livery in Calcutta or in the 
Paddocks at Ballygunge. 

HACK DEPARTMENT. 

RHaetons, Bi-oug?tia.ms 9 Barouches 

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week, month or year. 



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Quality unsurpassed, prepared under European 
superintendence, at market rates. 



A. MILTON & CO., 

156, Dharamtala Street, Calcutta. 



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