Great Race Horse Stories: Gerald Beaumont Overlooked Some of the Best.; Salvator Finds Many Works of Fiction that Are Famous for Their Tales of Racing and the Thoroughbred., Daily Racing Form, 1923-02-20


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GREAT RACE HORSE STORIES Gerald Beaumont Overlooked Some of the Best Salvator Finds Many Works of Fiction that thatAre Are Famous for Their Tales of Racing Racingand and the Thoroughbred BY SALVATOR SALVATORRecently Recently in the New York Sunday Herald Gerald Beaumont who has himself written entertainingly of race horses considered the subject What Are the Great Racehorse Stories and Why but he rather wrote the topic than about it confessing in the seginning that his text was better worded Where Are the Great Racehorse Stories and Why Not NotThere There has never been he asserted a Poe of the paddock a Shakespeare of the saddle a Thackeray of the thoroughbred thoroughbredMr Mr Beaumont docs however proceed in a a very sketchy way to enumerate a few literary winners for the lover of King Horse And very few they are To wit The volume on racing in the Badminton Li ¬ brary Mr Vosburghs new Racing in America the Autobiography of a Race horse by L B Yates the tales and sketches of Charles E Van Loan and John Taintor Foote Ben Hur because of the farfamed chariot race so beloved of expressionists we used to call them elocutionists but that term is now decidedly declasse and Robert Frothinghams little anthology Songs of Horses HorsesSimply Simply these and nothing more moreWhich Which would lead one to infer that Mr Beaumont has missed out on many an hors doeuvre on the equineliterary bill of fare that some of the entremets have also es ¬ caped him and that he has arisen from the banquet before some of the choicest of the dessert had been served servedJust Just what Mr Beaumont means by a Poe of the paddock I am not quite sure unless the alliteration of the phrase sufficed him The paddock however has had its own bard in Adam Lindsay Gordon whose poems of the turf are cherished by all lovers of the thoroughbred and have gone into edition after edition Just lately an English pub ¬ lisher brought out a new and very hand ¬ some one The original Australian editio princeps will cost you a pretty penny if you have ambitions to add it to your collec tion tionSOME SOME WEKE OVERLOOKED OVERLOOKEDThere There may be no Shakespeare of the sad ¬ dle but for that matter there is no Shake ¬ speare of anything but the Globe Theater and the world And why should there be a Thackeray of the thoroughbred Thack ¬ eray was a social satirist who wrote a shelf ful of long and thick novels tales sketches skits and burlesques with a few memorable poems sandwiched in here and there He in ¬ vented two famous fictitious characters Colonel Newcome and Becky Sharpe The Colonel being the flower of English gentle ¬ men must have dearly loved a thoroughbred even if Thackeray forgot to say so I forget whether he may not have for it is long since I opened The Newcomes As for Becky Sharpe it may be taken for granted j J that adventurous minx that she was more than one expedition to Newmarket marked her famous affair with the Marquis of Steyne It would have been incomplete without them England has however produced several writers who might have claimed for them ¬ selves the title of Thackeray of the thor ¬ oughbred There was Hawley Smart for instance who wrote numerous romances of racing of which the most noted was per ¬ haps From Post to Finish Some read i j ers of Daily Racing Form may perhaps j recall it as it originally appeared serially i j in the Illustrated London News with strik ¬ ing illustrations by John Charlton Hawley Smart flourished several decades ago Lat ¬ terly there has been Nat Gould who turned out novels of turf life with the regularity and similitude of links of sausage The Brit ¬ ish public reveled in them and absorbed them in such huge quantities that the au ¬ thor became wealthy from his royalties Everything he wrote was a surefire best i j seller of its kind But as a matter of i fact the British racing romance is a well defined literary genre though Mr Beau ¬ mont seems unaware of that fact A large number of these productions are regularly turned out As they are written for a spe ¬ cial public you will not find them mentioned i in the Athenaeum the Saturday Review or other literary publications But that does not prevent their flourishing amazingly As Mr Beaumont mentions Ben Hur merely for the sake of the chariot race which forms one of its episodes why does i he omit Ouidas Under Two Flags in which there occurs one of the most vivid j and brilliantly written racing episodes inj fiction The late Alfred E T Watson Ra j pier once took a heavy fall out of Ouida because of a minor inaccuracy in her de j scription of the great military steeplechase won by the hero of Under Two Flags on his great thoroughbred Forest King but this was mere sniffing Ouida knew the rac j ing game thoroughly and was a devoted j lover of horses and we can forgive her a lapse in a minor detail in view of the sul perb elan which distinguishes the turf epi sode in her mosc famous romance Un der Two Flags was recently filmed rather pretentiously but to one who has read the book very poorly Blanche Bates made one of the great successes of her stage career as Cigarette under David Belascos man ¬ agement when he brought out his dramati ¬ zation of the novel novelThe The military steeplechase has appealed to many famous novelists as worthy of treat ¬ ment One of these was no less a master than Tolstoi who introduces one into one of his greatest novels Anna Karenina But his hero Vronsky loses the race whereas Ouida made her hero Bertie Cecil win his Tolstoi has written again and again of horses in his novels and tales and one of his short stories in particular is one of the best ones about a horse ever written Tour guencv who shares with Tolstoi the distinc ¬ tion of being Russias greatest novelist was a thorough sportsman and a splendid horse ¬ man One of his short stories The End of Tchertopkhanoff is by some critics pre ¬ ferred even to Tolstois efforts as a horse story storyWARD WARD OU WIFE WIFEAn An anonymous English novel Ward or Wife published some years ago had a very exciting racing episode woven into its plot And another romance a continental j J i j j i j i j i Mr Beaumont opines that horse racing has suffered for lack of literary glorification be ¬ cause it is a modern Institution so we can look only to recent writers for the handling of it But the fact is that literary history really begins with Homer and that In the Iliad supposed to have been writ ¬ ten by him about 600 B C a horse race is one of the most stirring incidents It is true this like the race in BcnHur was a chariot race but it was a sureenough horse race and in it there was some rough stuff attemptedly pulled to use our mod ¬ ern phraseology which as everybody knows is far superior to that of Homer HomerWhy Why I wonder did Mr Beaumont omit all mention of Henry M Blossoms Check ¬ ers the most successful turf novel yet writ ¬ ten in America and transferred to the stage with equal success And why did he omit John Trotwood Moores short story Ole Mistis a wonderful thing of its kind to be found in the authors Songs and Stories from Tennessee Mr Moore has written many delightful stories and sketches of the turf and numerous poems of which some are distinguished by telling humorous touches Walter Palmer celebrates only the harness race horse but his Heart Throbs and Hoof Beats published recently con ¬ tains some of the pleasantest horse poetry ever written writtenSONGS SONGS OF HORSES HORSESMr Mr Frothinghams little anthology Songs of Horses mentioned by Mr Beaumont is so nice as far as it goes that one hates to find fault with it But it fails to include many a piece far superior to many that it does contain It is antonishing how many truly beautiful and memorable poems about race horses or other horses have been writ ¬ ten but the task of adequately gathering them together and arranging them in one volume has yet to be done Incidentally the most effective poem based upon present day thoroughbred racing in this country is to be found in John V A Weavers little book In American published about a year ago these verses had I believe first ap ¬ peared in the Red Book They simply like Eclipse Ormonde and El Rio Rey cannot be beaten beatenThere There are many daredevil heroes with steeds fleeter than the winds in oldfashioned novels but of course most of these novels are no longer read One that always will be however is Lorna Doone The episodes in that immortal story in which Tom Faggus and his blood mare Winnie figure are among the most fascinating in the entire book An American story which introduces a thorough ¬ bred mare very effectively is one of the early novels of Amelie Rives now the Princess Troubctskoi Virginia of Virginia The vignette of Bonnibel in that tale will never be forgotten by those familiar with it Speak ¬ ing from recollection for it is many years since I read them Benjamin Disraeli Lord Beaconsfield the only prime minister of England who ever wrote novels introduced a Derby episode into one of his books was it either The Young Duke or Endymion EndymionA A FOOLS ERRAXD ERRAXDJust Just now when the public prints are so full of sensational dispatches about the Ku Klux Klan memories are recalled of that formerly famous novel by the late Albion W Tourgec A Fools Errand This is a story of carpet bag and reconstruction days in the South in which the Ku Klux form tho sinister element and the big chapter is that describing the ride for life of the hero ine upon her fathers thoroughbred Young Lollard It is a very exciting bit too and well worth reading if any reader of Daily Racing Form should happen on it A Fools Errand has doubtless long been out of print Charles J Foster who as Privateer wrote some of the finest pages that ever graced American turf journalism was Eng ¬ lish by birth and training and in his latter years wrote and published a racing romance entitled The White Horse of Wooton It is not a literary masterpiece for Foster was not intended by nature to rival Thack eray or Dickens but there are some very interesting and wellwritten passages in it No the horse and horse racing have never through the centuries failed to inspire many gifted pens But the trouble is that literary people as a rule are inclined to pose as highbrows intellectuals etc and to look down with more or less contempt upon sports of all kinds in which as a rule it must be confessed they do not shine The turf being the sport of sports Literature with a cap L has never so to speak em ¬ braced it

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