More snippets that I had to leave out of the book for lack of space! These extracts come from a wonderful account of a “brace of sporting ladies” from The Sporting Magazine, October 1796.
There’s a Mrs C– “so capital in her sphere” that no woman comes close, except Lady Lade, and “there is not a small number who strain every nerve to excel in equestrian achievements.” And what about Mrs C?
“She is damped by no disappointment, checked by no difficulties, terrified by no examples; superior to all sense of danger, she flies over hedge and ditch with an amazing temerity, and daringly exhibits herself in situations to which many staunch fox-hounds, and no contemptible horsemen, do not choose to expose their bodies or their heads, having the foolish fear of a broken neck.”
Her motto is “neck or nothing,” and “she will leave father, mother, and husband, and cleave to her saddle, whenever a fox chase is in view.” The tricks she has taught her favourite horse “would put Astley [the first circus proprietor] himself to blush.” The “pious partner of her bed” keeps trying to stop her, she laughs, calls him a “muzzy methodist,” tally hos at him and drives him away.