Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/A Prospect of ye Thames its Regatta.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 20

A Prospect of ye Thames its Regatta.


A Prospect of ye Thames its Regatta.

[Tuesday, July 10, 1849.]

SENT my Veſt to the Tailor's to be let out in the Back, and my Wife and every Body ſay I grow too ſtout, which do put me in mighty Pain left I ſhould loſe my Shape; wherefore I have reſolved to take a long Walk daily, for Exerciſe, to bring down my Fat So began this Day, and ſet out to walk to Barn-Elms, by the way of Hammerſmith, on a brave melting afternoon. I did muſe at the Carriages and Omnibuſes that parted me, crowded both in ſide and on the Roof, and the people upon them whooping and blowing Horns as the Britſh Public always do when they ride to ſee any Sport. At Hammerſmith found what all this meant, everyone there haſtening to the River, this being the firſt Day of the Thames Regatta, and the Suſpenfion-Bridge thronged, and Feſtoons of Spectators on the Chains. Did go upon the Bridge, coſt me ½d. Toll, but would not have miſſed the Sight for 6d. or 1sfor the Thames with Boats ſcattered all over it, their Flags fluttering, and their Crews ſhouting and laughing full of Fun and Glee, made a lively Picture; and alſo I was juſt in the Nick of Time to ſee four Boats of as many Oars darting under the Bridge at full Speed, while the Beholders cheered and halloed with all their Might, and a Bell rung, and a Band of Muſique upon the Bridge pier did play "Love Not." Good Lack! how wrapped up the People did ſeem to be in the Race; and did now cry for Blue to go it; and then Red, and then Pink, and at laſt that Red had it, meaning the Colours of the Rowers, which indeed looked very ſmart and ſpruce. Over the Bridge, and, inſtead of to Barnes, down the River, along the Towing Path, which was alſo thronged with Folks running to and fro, all Eagerneſs and Buſtle. So to Putney, and there the Multitude greateſt both on the Bridge and the Shore, and Finch his Ground to the Water-Side quite a Fair, with Fat Ladies and Learned Pigs and Gilt Gingerbread; and his Tavern beſet by Cuſtomers for Ale, and mighty good Ale it is. Here more Boat-Racing, with Firing of Cannon, Jollity, Shouting, Jangling of Street Pianos, and everywhere Tobacco-Smoke and the Popping of Ginger-Beer. Some fouling of Barges, but no worſe Miſhap, though I expected every Moment that Somebody would be ducked. Methought how neat and dainty the light Wherries and Wager-Boats did look among the other Craft; but loth I mould be to truſt my Carcaſe in a Cockle-Shell, that fitting an Inch too much on one Side would overthrow. Mighty pleaſant alſo to behold on the Water the little Parties of Beauties, rowed by their Sweethearts, under Awnings to ſhade them from the Sun, and the Ripple on the Water, and the Smiles on their Faces, and to hear their Giggling, which was a pretty Noiſe. Afloat everywhere in their Boating-Trim I did note ſundry of thoſe young Sparks that do and think and talk of Nothing but pulling up the River, and live upon it almoſt, like Swans or Geeſe; and Mr. Wagstaffe, whom I met, do ſay they have no Brains in their Skulls. But, however, that Boat-Racing is a true Britiſh Paſtime, and ſo long as we pull together he will back us againſt all the World. "And talking of that," ſays he, "the Sport being ended, ſuppofe we take a Pull at ſome of Finch his Ale;" which we did with great Content and ſo Home.