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BOOK OF SPORTS,
MIRROR OF LIFE:
THE TURF, THE CHASE, THE RING, AND THE STAGE
ORIGINAL MEMOIRS OF SPORTING MEN, ETC.
PRINTED FOR T. T. AND J. TEGG, 73, CHEAPSIDE;
GEORGE OSBALDESTON, ESQ.
In accordance with the axiom that Public Men are public property, I have done myself the honor of dedicating the Book Of Sports to your notice; and, in my humble opinion, I trust that I have done so from the right sort of Taste, nay more, "good Taste;" or, as an Artist might observe, I hope that it is " in perfect keeping" with the Character of the work :—
To gild refin'd gold, to paint the lily,
(as our immortal Bard has so beautifully expressed it)
ATLAS OF THE SPORTING WORLD. Indeed, Sir, I feel so strong in my opinion the above title is correct, and universally acknowledged to be such by every Sportsman, from one end of the Kingdom to the other, that I consider it is Three to One in my favor.
Success, in an unparalleled degree, Sir, has attended your exertions in numerous Matches with which you have been engaged, that it would be utterly impossible to enumerate one half of them without making this Dedication as long as "Patterson's Road Book."
In every point of view in which you have been connected with the Sporting World, it is a well-known fact that the whole of your movements have rendered you conspicuous by the Game, Blood, and Bone which you have displayed in them—either in your own person; or, in that show of excellence, which has characterized the high-bred cattle under your control.
As a Breeder of Hounds, it is acknowledged that "the Squire's blood is de facto in the highest repute in the Sporting World!"
As a mighty Hunter, and a passionate Lover of the Chase, no man ever distinguished himself in the field with so much superiority and talent—realizing a complete portrait of the thorough-bred Sportsman; an intrepid and daring Leader; neck or nothing; regardless of any thing like fear, and only
HARK FORWARD! SEE THE GAME, ITS IN VIEW ! f
On the Race Course, Sir, in performing the part of a Jockey in your own right, as a Rider, the name of Osbaldeston, has claimed notoriety for its excellence from the best Judges of Horsemanship.
* During the period that Mr. Osbaldeston had the Quorn Hounds, three of the four packs which hunted in the same county, were the property of Noblemen ; and for the sake of distinction, his friends conferred on him the familiar title of " The Squire."
t It was his custom to turn out every day in the week, weather permitting; and, after Christmas, as the days increased in length, he had often TWO PACKS, out on the same day, a Circumstance Before Unheard Of. Besides, for a succession of Seasons in Leicestershire he hunted his own hounds six Days a week.
As a Cricketer of the very first class, either with the Bat or the Ball, you have always been hailed with the greatest delight by the lovers of that manly and noble game.
And, upon the Water, Sir, no Gentleman
Has feathered his oar with so much skill and dexterity,
like yourself, as if O Id Father Thames had been the only element for "the Squire" to have shown off his capabilities to the world, in order to win, and nothing else. Equally so, Sir, have you proved yourself completely ' at home' with the 'use of the scull," with which, in several 'funny' matches, the admirers of Aquatic Sports have pronounced you a blade of the first water.
For the skill, nerve, and tact, which you have displayed at all times, in various Trotting Matches; I have not 'travelled out of my road' to observe, that you have astonished the "Knowing Ones." You also have handled the ribbons; put along the^irad; and as a Whip, "the Squire " stands equally conspicuous in the Annals of Trotting.
To bring down your bird; bag lots of game; and floor myriads of pigeons from the trap, I have only to name the Red House; when the crack Shots, one and all of them will cry out—" Enough!"
But, lest any thing might be thought to be wanting to show.that I had not made out a strong case in my favor, respecting the Dedication of the Book Of Sports to George Osbaldeston, Esq. as a matter of 'good Taste!' I have only, by way of a climax, to call to my aid, the Herculean Match of riding Two Hundred Miles in the hitherto unheardof short space of time—Eight Hours and 39 Minutes; and then, I prove myself a winner to all intents and purposes.
If I cannot use the brush with the excellence of a Landseer to convey my sentiments with that sort of rich colouring which the subject so justly deserves, I trust that my pen and ink sketch of "The Squire" will not be pronounced out of drawing; but rather on the contrary, true to the principles of Nature. I likewise hope the light and shade of my Sporting Portrait will be found correct; and the likeness most clearly show to the Sporting World, that the appellation of a Nonpariel—a Phenomenon—and an OUT-AND-OUTER apply, in every point of view, to the character of George Osbaldeston, Esq., and the motto to be placed under it—
"what Man Dare, I Dare!'
Then, Sir, long, very long, may you continue to prove the delight and ornament of the Sporting World; and also to 'keep the game alive!' In so doing, I flatter myself that your constant attachment towards all manly sports will not let you overlook the Ring, as a requisite article, towards Match-making.
I have the honor, Sir, to remain,
with the most manly sincerity and freedom, your very humble Servant,
July 21, 1832. PIERCE EGAN.
* If I might take the liberty to pun, or indulge in a 'tiny bit' of Sporting phraseology (at the same time anxious to avoid offence), I should say, without the fear of contradiction, and also independent of Dr.Spurzheim, that " the scull of' the Souire' is screwed on the right way '."