There are many people in this coun- ] try who will read with grim satisfaction a story which has just been told in New York. Of the various amusements with which vast numbers of persons endeavor to relieve the tedium of life, that of practical joking is regarded with least leniency by any community that has got beyoDd the habits and customs of a golddigging settlement. Mr Sothern, the actor, is at present in New York ; and, if report speaks truly, that gentleman has rather a fancy for those exercises in mild horse-play which are described as practical jokes. A gentleman named Lee having complained to the imperso nator of Lord Dundreary that he found New York very dull, Mr Sothern and an accomplice, named Florence, appear to have determined on getting up an entertainment which Mr Lee would find the reverse of dull. The malcontent was informed that life was much more brisk and lively in the eastern districts of the city, and was invited to dine there along with some of the residents, The invitation was accepted, and a banquet was prepared in honour of Mr Lee. Directly after dinner had begun, one of them tied his napkin about his head, and otherwise says the mild report, acted strangely. The guest of the evening ventured to ask for an explanation ; and was told that this person's actions were the result of hereditary eccentricity. Further exhibitions of a like nature ensued, until Mr Sothern and Mr Florence, engaging in a sham quarrel, insisted on fighting a duel on the spot,
and produced pistols for the purpose. Mr Lee apparently believed that the whole scene was real : begged that no blood should be shed, and finally left the room, deeply offended. Next day a number of "bogus" challenges were sent about, and the joke — let it be observed that this transaction was considered a joke — might have been carried to any extent, but that a certain MiBryant, who was mixed up in it, began to fancy he had had enough of it, and resolved to turn the tables on those who had set the thing going. He informed Mr Justice Dowling that a duel was intended, whereupon the Justice summoned Mr Sothern and Mr Florence to the Tombs Police Court. Moreover, Judge Dowling came to know something of the state of the case ; and considered that he might as well pay out the two humorous persons in their own coin. Accordingly, he failed to make his appearance in the court for several hours, during which time Mr Sothern and Mr Florence were detained in ignominious attendance. When they did get permission to depart, it is to be hoped that that ebullition of auimal spirits which had tempted them had got modified somewhat, and had left them in a condition of ordinary sanity.
There has just died at Newmaiket a jockey who, little known to the present generation of sportsmen, was perhaps the greatest horseman the turf has ever seen. The name of " Jem Robinson" takes one back, in fact, to the earlier days of the present century, when racing was conducted upon principles very different from those now in vogue, and when it had the patronage of a limited, but honorable, body of English gentlemen. With the Chifneys, Buckle, and Frank Butler, Robinson would have disdained to figure as the jockey of a curbed and spavined screw owned by some ambitious publican at any of those suburban race meetings where the crack riders of the present day condescend to put in an appearance. No fewer than six times did he steer the winner of the Derby, his Epsom victories beginning in 1817 with Azor and terminating in 1836 with that of Lord Jersey's Bay Middleton. For the latter nobleman he had achieved two previous triumphs at Epsom a few years before, and it was in the familiar purple and buff jacket that he rode Cobweb for the Oaks in 1824. With Matilda he secured the Doncaster St Leger for Mr Petre, and a few years later he rode the famous Margrage when that animal credited the Great Northern prize to Mr Gully, the chosen of Pontefract. Perhaps Robinson never rode a finer finish than when, at the very close of his Turf career, he got Russborough to Voltigeur's head upon the Doncaster Moor, and it would be well if there were more horsemen of the present day who possessed the perfect judgment and cool head which enabled him to save many a race apparently hopeless, and who would lead the abstemious life which allowed him to outlive all the men of his own generation.
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MISCELLANEOUS., Wellington Independent, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3764, 27 March 1873
MISCELLANEOUS. Wellington Independent, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3764, 27 March 1873
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