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ROUND THE WORLD.

SKETCHES FROM MT NOTE-BOOK.

(By M»s H. J. Gbee.vslade.)

The Derby- On th« Bsad—Cockneyi and thtir Ssings—A Xarrellont Sight—A . Patriotic Outburst—Epiom BowmSiie Shews—The fiace-ftaltee Kore Wins Easily — Costers Homeward Bound.

Soon after the cocks had carolled forth on Derby morn their joyful greeting to the coming day. the country roads presented an animated appearance with armies of would-be profit makers, whose greatest anxiety was to get the best stand ou the Epsom racecourse. It was to be the greatest of Derbies owing to the notable year of jubilation, and one and all had j>ro. phesied and prepared for a record attendance. Nor were theydisappointsd, and those trundlers of barrows of hard boiled eggs, fruit, cold fish aud bread, winkles, tea, and lemonade, had a rich harvest during the day. The day broke fine but dull/ and continued so throughout. At 10 o'clock all was life and bustl* on the coHrse. Hundreds of bookmakers were busy erecting their stands and adorning themselves in their gay attire. Stall owners had their hands full in laying out their goods and keeping a steady eye on the numerous wandering gipsies, who were only too eager to help, but not to the profit of the vendor. "Tipsters" were doing a lively business. The sausage andjfish men, who could be numbered by, hundreds, were aotively engaged frying on their handcarts piles of these "dainties" for consumption by the happy. Cockney, who considered this his day out, judging by the right hearty way in which he and his 'Arriet went about enjoying themselTOS. " Cheap Jacks " held crowds spellbound by their marvellous generosity and inimitable witticisms, while cocoanut shies, Aunt Sallies, try your strength, shooting galleries, boxing booths, fortune-tell-ing tents, and scores ef other shows were gradually getting into full swing. As if to add further to the incongruity, in the centre «f the straight a Methodist meeting was being held, surrounded by bawling bookmakers,! tipsters, conjurers, and negro shows. But this is only one of many of the incongruities of a Derby Day crowd. It discriminates not at all, and Princes rank beside peasants, donkeys stand Bide by side with sleek carriage horses, and a coster's cart under the wing of a gentleman's coach. What a wonderful sight it was to stand on the rising ground opposite the straight and view the scene presented to the gaze. On the stands were tier after tier of gaily dressed people, their gaudy-colored parasols resembling a display of gorgeous tropical flowers, while the lawns in front and along the straight were like a black river of people running on either side as far as the eye could, reach. Then below that was thejen- j closure for cairiages r and ou the bill

beside a uk or seven deep line of four-in-hands, where daintily dressed ladies aid holiday-attired gentlemen were partaking of luncheon laid out on the top of the coaches by the footmen in attendance. It was a most patriotic gathering, too, and one man became so chivalrous upon seeing a placard with the words " Diamond Jubilee" upon it that he struck up the National Anthem in a most melodious voice. He had got but a few words on when the tune was taken up by thousands of voices, and it even spread to the stands and private boxes. No one could quite understand the cause of the outburst, but it possibly served to work off just a trifle of the superfluous enthusiasm. The scene on the Downs was very amusing. Every imaginable method to extort money, from the public was resorted to. Disabled seamen, legless colliers, legions of blind beggars, gipsies, performing children, barrel organs, etc., lined the route to the course. To reach the course from the railway station it is necessary to cross these Downs, and it is a march of varied experiences, and one which soon empties the pocket of small coins of even the hard-hearted. The race in itself was not a good one, having belonged to the favorite Galtee More from the time of the fall of the flag. The parade and prelimi nary cantor were very pretty, though only eight horses entered the field. The Eoyal colors were displayed, but not distinguished, the Prince of Wales' Oakdene having to be content with 1 fourth place. The horses were walked in single file past the Grandstands, and I then cantered slowly back and to the 1 starting post at the back of the course. They *ere sent away to an excellent start and raced along merrily f or some time, but in the run up the straight Galtee More, who looked a perfect picture, gradually drew out from the others and secured the coveted" honor somewhat easily, Velasquear beinjg second, and History third, amidst the cheering of the enthusiastic tens of thousands, who wavted their hats and sticks, noisily testifying to their satisfaction. The noble looking winner was brought back to the straight in front of the Boyal box, and was soon surrounded by a host of worshippers. But he etood calmly by, as though totally unconscious of the fact that his name was flying on the wings «f electricity to all parts of the world; nor did he resent tko liberty taken by an exceptionally ardent admirer who pulled a few hairs from hit tail and held them up triumphantly. Soon after the conclusion of the race of the day the crowd gradually began to melt, and an hour later the exits and roads were thronged with people homeward bound. But the fun was by no means over yet, and much merriment was indulged in by the good-natured gathering. The ceaters had their donkeys trimmed up with Japanese umbrellas and Jubilee flags, while the inmates of the carts carried immense rhubarb leaves instead of parasols. Jokers donned huge false noses and moustaches, and some set headsman's helmet, while others drove nervous people to the verge of insanity by blowing peculiarly, shrill trumpets. For some miles along the Epsom Road pandemonium reigned supreme. Block after block of vehicles occurred, and the haughty groom and footman had to submit to the good natured. advice of the donkey-cart owners, to whom time seemed no object, and who rather appeared to enjoy the situation than otherwise., It was very late ere all the carriages could get on the way, or. the.-last bugler clear the road for his coach." To many this is the one day of the year looked forward to, and truly it seemed more like a great universal carnival than a race meeting. Those who, like ourselves,-saw it lor.the first time, will carry away a vivid memory of the bright, laughably and varied scenes which constitute an English Derby Day.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/THS18970726.2.19

Bibliographic details

ROUND THE WORLD., Thames Star, Volume XXIX, Issue 8721, 26 July 1897

Word Count
1,118

ROUND THE WORLD. Thames Star, Volume XXIX, Issue 8721, 26 July 1897

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