Derby Day and Other Adventures

Derby Day and Other Adventures

Derby Day and Other Adventures

Derby Day and Other Adventures

Excerpt

"OUR English spring has opened with its customary severity"; so wrote Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, his famous correspondent in Florence, a hundred and fifty years ago, just about the time that an Earl of Derby was establishing a horse race which has eclipsed all the other achievements of a very distinguished family. The trouble, however, is not with the spring -- it is with us: we expect more from the spring than the spring is prepared to supply.

On a cold raw evening in May an English gentleman and I were sitting in the dining room of a mansion in London not far from the Marble Arch. A comforting fire was burning in the grate; the ladies had withdrawn and we were alone. We were indeed not quite alone, for between us was a decanter of old port, almost empty, and if there is a more delightful companion than a decanter of port after an excellent dinner, I should be glad to know what it is. "Cigars," you might suggest. "Yes, but not until the decanter is empty."

"Sir James," said I, "I am going to the Derby next week. How shall I go?" My host paused for a moment, lifted his glass and let the light shine through it, then put it down and replied, weighing every word. "Edward," he said, "the first thing to do is to go to Lincoln, Bennett's in the Burlington Gardens and get a white topper," meaning thereby that I was to go to the most expensive hat shop in . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.