Text: Edgar Allan Poe (rejected), “A Chapter on Field Sports and Manly Pastimes [Part 01],” Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine (Philadelphia, PA), Vol. IV, no. 2, February 1839, pp. 4:110-113


[page 110, unnumbered:]








WE commence our series of papers on matters connected with the various sports and pastimes on flood and field, with a seasonable word or two on the art of skating, a subject which allows but little illustration, requiring only the possession of nerve and perseverance, to become expert and skilful.

Skating is one of the most ancient of the gymnastic exercises. It is mentioned in the older or Samundic Edda, an Icelandic collection of poems, written eight hundred years ago, that the god tiler is distinguished by his beauty, his arrows, and his skates, Fosbrooke, in his Dictionary of Antiquities, mentions that the Icelanders used as skates the shank-bones of a deer or sheep, about a foot long, which they greased, because they should not be stopped by drops of water upon them.

In Pontoppidan’s “History of Norway,” we find it recorded that an ancient northern hero, named Holson, boasted of nine separate and wonderful accomplishments, in each of which he was well skilled. “I know,” says he, “how to play at chess; I can engrave Runic letters; I am expert at my book; I can handle the tools of the smith; I can traverse the snow upon scates of wood; I excel in shooting with the bow; I use the oar with facility; I can sing to the harp; and I compose verses.”

In Hoole’s translation of the Vocabulary by Commenius, the skates are called scrick-shoes, from the German; and in the print at the head of the section, they are represented longer than those of the present day; and the irons are turned up much higher in the front.

The first notice of skating in England is obtained from the earliest description of London, by Fitzstephen. Its historian relates that “when the great fenne, or moor, (which watereth the walles of the ale on the north side,) is frozen, many young men play upon the yee.” Again, “Some stryding as wide as they may, doe slide swiftly; some tye bones upon their feete, and under their heeles, and shoving themselves by a little picked staffe, doe slide as swiftly as a birde flyeth in the air, or an arrow out of a crosse-bowe.” Here, although the implements were rude, we have skaters. It seems that one of their sports was, for two to start a great way off opposite to each other, and when they met, to lift their poles and strike at each other, when one or both fell, and were carried to a distance from each other by the celerity of their motion. Of the present wooden skates, shod with iron, there is no doubt we obtained a knowledge from Holland.

Of all skaters, the Frieslander is considered to be the most skilful. Fifteen miles an hour, and that maintained for a long distance, is a frequent pace with him. In his country, and at national festivals, there are public courses, where the two sexes indiscriminately are admitted to dispute the prize. Here no regard is paid to the fine movements of the body, each taking the attitude which appears the most to accelerate speed. Often the Friesland skater is seen with his body leaning forward, and his hands placed on the ice, to increase his impulse. The women surpass the men in fleetness, and frequently carry off different prizes in the skating-contest.

“Sometimes, too,” says Captain Clias, in his work on Gymnastic Exercises, “persons may be seen together, that is, fifteen young men with their mistresses, who, all holding each other by the band, appear, as they move along, like a vessel driven before the wind. Others are seated on a sledge, fixed on two bars of wood, faced with iron, and pushed on by one of the skaters. There are, also, boats, ten or fifteen feet long, placed on large skates, and fitted up with masts and sails. The celerity with which these boats are driven forward exceeds imagination; and it may be said they equal the rapid flight of a bird. They go three miles in less than a quarter of an hour.”

Klopstock has sung the praises of skating in several of his finest odes; in one of his poems, be [page 111:] stiles it a science by which “Man, like the Homeric gods, strides with winged feet over the sea, transmuted into solid ground.” The philanthropist Franke, in his Police Medecinale affirms that he knows no other exercise more adapted to developing and strengthening the human body.

The severity of the winter in the northern and middle parts of the United States, affords opportunities for long and continuous practice on the ice. Consequently, expert skaters are more general here than in any country; and we have seen a few, on the glassy surface of the Schuylkill, whose evolutions have never been surpassed in England, Russia, Germany, or Holland,

It is asserted in the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” that Edinburgh produced more instances of elegant skaters than perhaps any other country, and that the institution of a skating-club there contributed to its improvement. “I have, however, seen, some years back,” says Mr. Strutt, “when the Serpentine (in England) was frozen, four gentlemen there dance, if I may be allowed the expression, a double minuet in skates, with as much ease, and I think more elegance, than in a ball-room; others again, by turning and winding with much adroitness, have readily in succession described upon the ice the form of all the letters in the alphabet.” The same may be observed there during every frost, but the elegance of skaters on that sheet of water is chiefly exhibited in quadrilles, which some parties go through with a beauty scarcely imaginable, by those who have not seen graceful skating.

Wonderful exertions and curious feats have been executed upon skates. In 1808, two young females, named Johanes and Scholtens, won the prize in a skating match at Groningen, in Holland. They went thirty miles in two hours.

In January, 1821, a Lincolnshire man, for a wager of one hundred guineas, skated one mile two seconds within three minutes; and, about twelve years ago, on the Grantham canal, a gentleman of Nottingham, accompanied by his brother. set off at twenty minutes past eight o’clock from that town, and reached Grantham to dinner. They then started on their return to Nottingham; but it became so dark before they reached home, that they deemed it imprudent to pursue their way on the canal; they, therefore, took off their skates, and walked home, where they arrived before nine o’clock; thus performing a distance of more than seventy miles, in twelve hours and a half; including dinner and stoppages.

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Skating is a fashionable amusement in London, and, from the nature of the climate, an exerciser of rarity and worth. A work before us states that in January, 1826, the whole of the. Serpentine river, in Hyde Park, from the extremity of the Knightsbridge end to the wall in Kensington gardens, not more than a mile, was covered by a mob of skaters and gazers; and that not less than one hundred thousand persons were on this sheet of ice at one time. “The number of the skaters administered to the pleasure of the throngs on the banks; some by the agility and grace of their evolutions, and others by tumbles and whimsical accidents from clumsy attempts. A motley collection of all orders seemed eager candidates for applause. The sweep, the dustman, the drummer, the beau, gave evidence of his own good opinion, and claimed that of the belles who viewed his movements. Ladies in robes of richest fur, bid defiance to the wintry wind, and ventured on the frail surface. Skaters, in great numbers, of first rate notoriety, executed some of the most difficult [page 112:] movements of the art, to universal admiration. A lady and two military officers, who performed a reel with a precision scarcely conceivable, received applause so boisterous as to terrify the fair cause of the general expression, and occasion her to forego the pleasure she received from the amusement”

Salsman, Goethe, Herder, and other distinguished German authors, have written on the delicious and wholesome practice of skating. Coleridge, the poet and the philosopher, says, “Mercury surely was the first maker of skates, and the wings at his feet are symbols of the invention. In skating, there are three pleasing circumstances — the infinitely subtle particles of ice which the skaters cut up, and which creep and run before the skate like a low mist, and in sunrise or sunset become colored; second, the shadow of the skater in the water, seen through the transparent ice; and third, the melancholy, undulating sound from the skate, not without variety; and when very many are skating together, the sounds and the noises give an impulse to the icy trees, and. the woods all round the lake trinkle.”

Wordsworth has given us almost the same ideas in one of his beautiful poems: —

All shod with steel,

We hissed along the polished ice, in games

Confederate, imitative of the chase

And woodland pleasures, the resounding horn,

The pack loud bellowing, and the hunted hare.

So through the darkness and the cold we flew,

And not a voice was idle; with the din,

Meanwhile, the precipices rang aloud,

The leafless trees and every icy crag

Tinkled like iron; while the distant hills

Into the tumult sent an alien sound

Of melancholy not unnoticed; while the stars,

Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west

The orange sky of evening died away.

Skating is an art that cannot be taught “by book arrange.” It must be gained by practice. We can but give a few general rules to the tyro, with a description of the best form of skates, and the manner of putting them on.

When we buy skates, we should choose them with the wood not longer than the sole of the shoe. When the wood of the skate projects beyond the sole of the shoe, either before or behind, it retards the progress, by rendering the movement less secure, and may occasion falls. The bottoms should be of good steel, well tempered, and very hard; those which are too thin and weak break easily, and cut too deep a track in the ice; therefore, we should always prefer those which are nearly a quarter of an inch thick, to those which are narrower. The greater part of skates which are used in Holland, are grooved, and have two edges. This form may be useful, because it hinders the foot from slipping, when it gives the impulse. However, those who are accustomed to skates, whose irons have a plain face, will go with as much security, and even faster, than those which have others. It is essential, that the iron be of the same height from the beak to the heel. The common height is about three quarters of an inch. Those which are lower are good for nothing; for as soon as the body inclines a little on one side, the skate being no longer in a perpendicular direction, the wood may easily touch the ice, and occasion a slip. We must especially take care that the iron be well secured in the wood, for the most important thing in this exercise is to have the skates properly fixed,

Some of the modernized skates are made of iron all throughout; this plan is approved by some of the fancy practitioners, and condemned by others. The alteration is unimportant, if the shape and size are attended to. We have seen some newly-fashioned skates with a toe piece, like the end of a slipper, fastened on to the beak of the skate. This is a ridiculous innovation that can never become general; and must appear as contemptible and useless as the old fashioned gambado boots. The greatest difficulty being to balance well on bases so narrow as those off skates, it will be very advantageous to teach young persons to walk with them in a room before going on the ice, and to balance themselves, sometimes on one foot, and sometimes on the other. These preparatory exercises will soon enable them to tie on their skates themselves, which, though simple in appearance, is certainly an essential preparation. In order to prevent sprains, on first making use of skates, we should give our hand to some one near us, or hold fast by the surrounding objects, till we are sure of our equilibrium.

When beginners go alone, they must lean the upper part of the body forward, till they have acquired a perfect carriage, and confidence in their own agility. Let them strike boldly forward — laugh at their frequent tumbles — a few hours practice will give them command of their legs, and their future success depends on their suppleness of limb and strength of nerve. [page 113, unnumbered:]



OF all animals, the dog seems most susceptible of change, and most easily modified by difference of climate, food, and education; not only the figure of his body, but his faculties, habits, and dispositions, vary in a surprising manner — nothing appears constant in them but their internal conformation, which is alike in all; in every other respect, they are very dissimilar; they vary in size, in figure, in the length of the nose and the shape of the head, in the length and direction of the ears and tail, in the color, quality, and quantity of the hair. The several species are absolutely different; how can we believe that a greyhound comes originally from a spaniel, but has neither its hair, legs, shape, voice, scent, nor instinct. A man who had never seen any dogs but barbets or spaniels, and who saw a greyhound for the first time, would take it rather for a dwarf horse than for an animal of the spaniel race.

Linnæus, in his System of Nature, has placed the dog as the second genus of the third order of mammiferous animals, or those which suckle their young by means of lactiferous teats. It is not worth while to enumerate the distinction of the order FERÆ, or delineate the specification of the genus Canis Familiaris, or common dog, as mentioned by Linnæus. Cuvier, in his Animal Kingdom, gives the following generic character of the dog, which differs but little from that of Linnæus, except in his new and more distinct terminology.

The upper cheek teeth are six on each side; the three first are sharp and trenchant — called by Cuvier false molars; the following, a carnivorous tooth, has two cutting lobes, beyond which, on each side, are two flat teeth. In the lower jaw there are seven; four false molars, a carnivorous tooth has two cutting lobes; beyond which, on each side, are two flat teeth, and two tuberculous teeth behind. The length of the jaws and muzzle vary greatly; the tongue is smooth; the ears are extremely variable — there are five toes on the fore feet, and four on those behind, furnished with longish nails, obtuse, and not retractile, and the mamma’ are ventral; the eye pupils are circular and diurnal, formed for seeing by day.

It is impossible to denote, with positive exactness, the original breed from which the present countless varieties of dogs have descended. Each writer has his own hypothesis, and adduces plausible evidence in support of his theme. Many of the classifications adopted by popular authors omit the principal members of the canine race in their lists, and persist in retaining the titles of various breeds that are known to be extinct. We intend to present our readers with the collected wisdom of the established authorities, noticing, en passant, their discrepancies and omissions. It is well known that Great Britain and Spain have furnished the choicest breeds of dogs from the earliest ages: the British mastiff was in high estimation among the ancient Romans; the blood hound, the talbot or southern hound, the spaniel, including the setter, and the pointer, owe their origin to Spain; the spotted hound, or coach dog, came originally from Dalmatia, a province of European Turkey; the greyhound, or gazehound, from Ireland; the pug from Muscovy and the Dutch States; the English bull dog is a cross breed between the Last named animal and the old English mastiff; the shepherd’s dog and the old English stag hound are said to be the most ancient of Albion’s canine productions; the Scotch terrier is an original breed — the English terrier is doubtless a cross from the Scotch animal; the fox hound and the barrier are also cross breeds, but purely English in their growth; the Newfoundland dog tells its origin in its name. The Russian pointers, setters, and greyhounds, the Iurcher, the water dog, and other varieties, will be duly noticed in the accounts given of their original breeds. The native dogs of North America will form the subject of a separate chapter.

Buffon, with much ingenuity, has traced out a genealogical table of all the known dogs, deducing all varieties from the shepherd’s dog, variously affected by climate and other casual circumstances; but Pennant is of opinion that the original stock of dogs in the old world, is, with great reason, supposed to be the jackal; that from their tamed offspring, casually crossed with the wolf, the fox, and even the hyena, have arisen the numberless forms and size of the canine race. This idea is most worthy of entertainment; from the recent observations of travellers in the high northern parts of the European continent, where, although dogs have been employed, they still retain much of the external appearance and general character of a wild animal. But it is a singular fact that the race of European dogs evince as great an antipathy to the Esquimaux species as they do to a wolf; and Ulloa, the military philosopher, in his voyage to Peru, assures us that the Spanish dogs recognise the men of the Indian race, pursue them and tear them to pieces; and that the Peruvian dogs do the same with the Spaniards. This would seem to prove that each species of dog still retained the hatred with which it was inspired at the time of the discovery, and that each race always fought for its master with the same valor and attachment.

In an ancient treatise upon the “Crafte of Huntynge,” composed by William Twici or Twety, and John Gifford, masters of the game, or grand huntsmen to King Edward the Second, there is the following enumeration of dogs employed in the sports of the field. Raches, or hounds; running hounds, or harriers, to chase hares; and greyhounds, which were favorite dogs with the sportsmen. Alauntes, or bull-dogs — these were chiefly used for hunting the boar; the mastiff is also said to be a good hound for hunting the wild boar. The spaniel was of use in hawking — “ hys crate,” says [page 114:] the author, “is for the perdrich. (partridge) and quayle; and when taught to couch, he is very serviceable to the fowlers, who take those birds with nets.”

In the sixteenth century, beside those already named, we find a longer list, including bastards and mongrels; lemors, kennets, terroars, butcher’s hounds, trindei-tailed -dogs, prick-eared curs, and ladies’ small puppies.

Modern naturalists have divided dogs into several classes: 1st. mastiff, including the dog of New Holland, the English mastiff, the Danish dog, and the varieties of the greyhound. 2d. the spaniels, including the water dog, the hound, the terrier, the shepherd’s dog, the wolf dog, the Siberian dog, the alpine or Mont St. Bernard’s dog, the Esquimaux dog, and the alco, or dog of Peru. 3d. the bull dog, including the varieties of the English bull dog, the house dog, the turnspit, and the pug.

The following synopsis of British dogs affords the best classification of the several varieties, agreeable to modern usage.

[[table below]]

rTalbot, or Baehr, or Lyeiner, or Levi-

‘ ner — the old Southern hound i

Hounds which hunt singly. Bloodhound

Greyhound, or Gazehound

Irish Greyhound, or Wolf-hound

Fox Hound

Hounds which hunt in packs. Harrier


Spanish Gentle, or Comforter

Shepherd’s Dog


Bull Dog




Dogs of Chase.


Lap Dogs.

Watch Dogs.


[[Table above]]

Although it is said by naturalists that there are only thirty-seven varieties of the dog, yet the fact is that every nation on earth, intertropical, temperate, and polar, has its own peculiar variety.

Dogs are found in all parts of the world, with the exception of a few islands in the southern Pacific ocean. It is only in the temperate climates that they preserve their ardor, courage, and sagacity, When transported to very hot countries, they lose those qualities for which we admire them.

The dog seldom lives beyond fifteen years.

These animals form an important article of food among many nations; Hippocrates placed dog’s flesh on a footing with mutton and pork, and declares that the meat of a young dog is wholesome and nourishing. The Romans admired sucking puppies, and sacrificed them to the gods as the most acceptable offering. In China, the Society Islands, etc., young puppies are considered a great delicacy, and are allowed by Europeans, who have overcome their prejudices, to be very sweet and palatable.

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It seems extremely probable that this large, strong, and bony hound was the primeval stock from which all the collateral branches of this race have descended; and that all deviations from the [page 115:] original stem have been the result of crosses and improvements, during many centuries, by those-skilled in rearing dogs for the chase, and varied in size and strength, according to the particular sport for which they are intended. A practical breeder, by judicious crosses, can always enlarge or diminish the suture and strength of his dogs in the course of three or four generations.

The stag hound, (the canis strenuus of Linnæus.) is the largest and most powerful of all the dogs which go under the general term of hound. He is held in higher estimation. in England, than any other dog of chase, and has a most commanding and dignified aspect, blended with every mark of intellectual mildness. We are not aware that this rare and valuable breed has ever been introduced into America.

The points of a good hound are thus laid down : his legs should be perfectly straight. his feet round and not too large, his shoulders hack, his breast rather wide than narrow, his chest deep, his back broad, his head small, his neck thin, his tail thick and bushy, and cell carried.

The Royal Buck Hounds, kept in Richmond Park. England, are famous for their extraordinary sagacity. They are an improved cross between the old English southern hound arid the fleeter fox hound, grafted on the blood hound.

England, perhaps, excels all other countries in her breed of hounds, not only from the climate being congenial to them, but also from the great attention paid to their breeding and management. Gratius, who flourished in the reign of Augustus, about thirteen years before the Christian era, is the first writer who notices the excellence of the dog of Britain. Strabo, who lived about thirty years later, mentions them as being exported to Gaul on account of their excellence in the chase. Nemesian, a writer of the latter part of the third century, mentions the excellence of the British dogs in terms of high commendation. Oppian. who flourished A. D. 204, in his Cynegeticon, a poem on the wild sports of the age, says: — “There is beside an excellent kind of scenting dogs, though small yet worthy of estimation They are bred by the fierce nation of painted Britons, who call them Agassaeus. In size they resemble worthless, greedy house-dogs, that gape under tables. They are crooked, lean, coarse-haired, and dull-eyed, but armed with powerful claws and deadly teeth. The Agassaeus is of the most excellent nose, not only sagacious in finding the track of animals, but skilful to discover the aerial odour.” That this description refers to the original breed from which the modern hound is descended there can be little doubt. The writer. it must be observed, was a native of Cilicia. and that when he speaks of the British dogs being coarse-haired, he probably does so with reference to the smooth-haired dogs of the Levant; and when he describes them as being small we must call to mind the large hunting-dogs which were then in request among the Romans, who appear to have hunted every animal that would run, from the elephant and the lion to the ichneumon and the rat. The term crooked applied to their knees, a peculiarity which still may be observed in some of the hounds kept by the farmers of Cumberland and Westmoreland, for the purpose of destroying the foxes among the hills. Shakspeare, who from his old habits or deer-stalking, must have had some idea of what were then considered good points in a hound, uses the term “crook-kneed” as one of commtadation. The general expression of the old English hound, or lyemer, appears to have been dull and heavy, and the character given to the Agassaeos of being dull-eyed, is indicative of a like appearance.

“The History of Manchester” states that the Talbot, an old English hound (canis sagax of Linnæus,) was the original breed of the island, and used by the ancient Britons in the chase of larger kinds of game, with which the country at one time abounded. They were common in all parts of the kingdom, although now nearly extinct. The want of speed peculiar to the Talbot has been remedied by crossing with lighter hounds, but the characteristics of the old race have been preserved,. The Talbot was termed Rache in Scotland, and Lyemer, in various parts of England, from lyem, the thong or slip by which the dog was led previous to being cast off.


The blood hound (the canis sanguinaius of Linnæns) is taller than the English stag hound, most beautifully formed, and superior to every other kind in activity, speed, and sagacity. He-seldom barks, except in the chase, and is commonly of a reddish brown color. In the darker ages he possessed the fabulous reputation of pursuing naturally, and with unerring precision, murderers, robbers, and other depredators, if he were laid on the footsteps of those intended to be pursued within a certain given time. Without giving assent to the character thus ascribed to him, we know, for experience has taught us, that all sorts of hounds may be broken in to follow any kind of scent, when resolutely taught that they are to run on no other. The blood hound is remarkable for the perfection of his sense of smell, and was doubtless much employed, in former days, in pursuing criminals escaped from justice, but he required the usual information and knowledge of the fugitive’s scent to enable him to discover the trail. In Scotland, this dog. there called the sleuth hound, from sleuth or slot, the track of u deer, was frequently employed upon the borders, which were greatly infested by robbers and murderers; and a tax was laid on the inhnbitants for keeping and maintaining [page 116:] a number of these animals; and the Scottish laws enacted that whoever denied entrance to one of these dogs, in pursuit of a criminal, should be deemed an accessory.

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In South America, the Spaniards employed fierce dogs to aid them in conquering the Indians; but it is not certain that the dogs, trained by them to this cruet business, belonged to the actual breed of blood hounds. although such a supposition is generally supposed to be correct; and has latterly been borne out by Dallas, in his history of The Maroons, who declares that blood hounds were used by the Spanish chasseurs in the island of Cube, for hunting down the fugitive slaves. He says that “the dogs carried out by the Chasseurs del Re are perfectly broken in — that is to say, they will not kill the object they pursue, unless resisted. On coming up with a fugitive, they bark at him till he stops; they then crouch near him, terrifying hint with a ferocious growling, if he stirs . In this position, they Continue barking, to give notice to the chasseurs, who come up and secure their prisoner. Each chasseur, though he can only hunt with two dogs, properly is obliged to have three, which he maintains at his own cost, and that at no small expense. These people live with their dogs, from which they are inseparable. At home, the dogs are kept chained, and when walking with their masters, are never unmuzzled, or let out of ropes, but for attack.”

Rainsford, in his history of San Domingo, affirms that these hounds were trained to the scent of human footstep by being fed on blood, and rewarded at the end of their long chase, by being encouraged to pull down a figure representing a negro, stuffed with the blood and entrails of beasts. On the authority of Strebo, they did more than this: they were made the means of attack, in a body, on the Gauls. Nimrod, in his German Tour, gives an account of some dogs, said to be blood hounds, kept at the seat of Count Halm, in Germany; these animals, used for the chase of the wild boar, are not unlike the old Irish greyhound, with a touch of the mastiff, hut with more power and great apparent ferocity. To guard against danger to strangers, these savage dogs were kenneled in a long gallery-like building. and chained to the wails at certain distances from, and opposite to each other. The celebrated Colonel Thornton, of England, had a leash of these animals at his lodge at Clapham, Surrey, which, from the name they bore, were the terror of the neighborhood.

A few of this race are still kept in the royal forests in England, to enable the keepers to find the deer that have been previously wounded; and we perceive by late accounts that they have been successfully employed in tracing deer stealers, which they do from the blood which issues from the wounds of the animals.

As it proof of the indomitable perseverance and high breeding of the blood hound, we append a curious anecdote selected by Bewick. “A hound bitch, belonging to the Rivingston Hunt, near Bolton, England, pupped four whelps during a hard chase, which she carefully cm decd in a rush aisle, and immediately after joined the hunt. Shortly after, she pupped another, which she carried in her mouth during the remainder of a chose of many miles — after which she returned to the place where she had dropped the four.’


In hunting the deer in former ages, large greyhounds, it would appear, were employed at the same time with the common hounds, which ran by scent. The lyemers, accompanied by persons who held the lyem or slip, were chiefly used to rouse the game, by steadily following the slot till they tracked the deer to his lair. When the deer was roused, the swift-running dogs, which were usually distributed in what were culled relays, or ramulays, throughout those parts of the forest where the game was most likely to pass, were then slipped, and as fresh relays were from time to time let loose on the line of chase, the animal had seldom a chance of escape, except front a sudden change of direction. When this style of hunting became altered, and deer were no longer hunted [page 117:] by relays but by a pack of hounds laid on at once — this latter mode becoming more general in the reign of James the First — the lyemer, or old English hound, became merged in the buck hound; and as deer-hunting declined and fox-hunting became popular, crosses of the buck-hound and the beagle, a dwarf variety of the old English hound, produced the fox hound of the present day.

Old writers on the subject of hunting usually distinguish two varieties of the breed, known as the “hound” by way of eminence. The southern hound — so called from being most common to the south of the Trent — was a tall, heavy-bodied dog, with a large square-formed head, and long pendant ears; slow of foot, but stanch and endue ing in the chase, and possessed of a most delicate nose. The northern hound, which was more generally bred in Yorkshire and the northern counties, was of a lighter make, with a smaller head and more pointed muzzle, and more swift and active than the southern hound, though not endowed with such acuteness of scent.

Having thus traced the primitive stock of the modern fox hound, and noticed his affinity to the lyemer, rache, or old English hound — to the blood bound, the buck hound, and the beagle — I must now speak of him as he is.

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The muzzle of the fox hound is somewhat square; the head moderate-sized, neither so large as in-the Spanish pointer, nor so small as in the setter. The ears are naturally long and pendant; the legs strong and muscular; and the body rather long, but well ribbed and compact, at once indicative of agility and strength. The hair is short, and nearly of a uniform length all over the body; and the stern, the hair of which is usually longest on the lower side, is slightly curved upwards. The fox hound hunts naturally — is endowed with a most exquisite sense of smelling — is ardent in the chase, and displays a considerable degree of intelligence. Its color is various — thin, fallow, black, or brown, more or less mingled with white; but the most prevalent is pied or dark brown, growing lighter towards the belly and the inner part of the legs, intermixed with broad patches of white.

The shoulder of the fox hound ought to be well thrown back, for it is not difficult to show on mechanical principles that this conformation is necessary to the light and easy motion of the animal. When the shoulder blades appear to stand forward, and the joints to project outwards, the dog, whatever may be muscular strength will rarely run well, and will from his carrying too much weight perpendicular to his foot-fall, be always more liable to be beat in the feet when hunting over hard ground, than hounds of the former conformation. The fore-legs should be perfectly straight — for crook-knees are no longer considered signs of excellence — and the dog should stand well upon them, neither having his fore-feet too much under him nor the toes turning out. His back should be straight from the shoulder to the insertion of the tail, which should be strong and well set on. The strength of the tail — which is only a continuation of the vertebrae or joints of the back — is frequently considered, and probably with truth, as indicative of strength in the loins. A perfect bound should not be round in the croup, nor thick and short in the quarters, but in these points should resemble the race-horse. He should be straight in the hams, not. sickle-houghed; and if he goes rather wide behind it will not detract from his excellence; es it has been observed that both horses and hounds which go in this manner are frequently the stoutest and most enduring. A small head, a thin neck and cat-feet, are equivocal marks of excellence in a fox hound. The small-headed, sharp-muzzled hound from the diminished development of the pituitary membrane has generally the sense of smelling in a proportionately inferior degree, and seldom runs a cold scent well; and in some districts where the scent lies indifferently, and checks are in consequence frequent, such would be absolutely good for nothing. A flat neck is certainly desirable, but a thin narrow one, when the head is of a proper size, is like a beam too weak for the weight which it has to sustain; and neither affords room for a free respiration, nor admits of sufficient muscular development to support the head in its long continued pendant position, without being extremely fatiguing to the animal.


The article on skating is largely adapted from An Elementary Course of Gymnastic Exercises, by Peter Henry Clias (London: Sherwood, Jones and Co., 1823). The article on dogs is adapted from A General History of Quadrupeds, generally credited as having been written by Ralph Beilby and revised by Thomas Bewick, who was also the engraver for the illustrations. (First printed in London in 1790. Another edition was copied by Alexander Anderson. A second American edition, from the eighth London edition, was printed in New York in 1834). The relevant portion of the original work appeared without attribution in Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal, vol. 2, no. 78, July 27, 1833, p. 207. The first paragraph is taken virtually verbatim.


[S:0 - BGM, 1839] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Rejected - A Chapter on Sports and Manly Pastimes (Text-02)