Quote from Upton’s Gleanings

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 18th, 2013 in General

Does anyone know which mare Major Upton is referring to in this section of his “Gleanings”, Chapter 4, “Visit to the Sabaah”?

“Towards the close of a long and trying day, we made repeated offers for a bay mare, five years old and unblemished; she was a beautiful creature, just under fifteen hands in height, very bloodlike, but wildly excitable, glared at us like a tigress, and resented our approach even. Crowds gathered round as we frequently repeated our offer. The Shaykh indicated she was not to be taken away, and we thought we were on the eve of obtaining her, but suddenly, among the sound of many voices and loud talking, the mare was taken off by her owner. […]  It was Sulayman ibn Mirshid who put the halter rope in my hands; her price was told out on the table, exactly that which I had offered, and handed over to her former owner, and the mare was picketed at our tent. A very simple certificate of the mare’s breeding and family was written out at my request, in the presence of the two Shaykhs, to which they placed their seals, one as a guarantee, the other as a witness.”

2 Responses to “Quote from Upton’s Gleanings”

  1. Edouard, I believe these passages refer to the mare named Jemima sent to Australia for Mr. Dangar.

  2. Note that Upton says this mare’s pedigree had the seals of both Ibn Mirshid and Ibn Mhayd. Of the five pedigrees translated in the penultimate chapter of Gleanings from the Desert, Jemima’s must therefore be #5.

    A contemporary newspaper account from The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 19 February 1878, reads:
    the first to engage our attention is that noble specimen of an Arab, the imported pure-bred mare Jemima, which was obtained in the year 1876 for Mr. Dangar, by the exertion of Captain Upton, after a great deal of trouble, and involving an expenditure of about a thousand pounds. This fine mare is a dark bay, showing the true Arabian character in all points.

    From Keith R. Binney’s Horsemen of the First Frontier, 1788-1900:
    In 1875, Messrs. W.J. and A.A. Dangar commissioned an “expert” on the Arabian horse Major R.D. Upton, to purchase an outstanding Arab stallion and mare from Syria. After taking almost a year to make his selection, the stallion Alif (Arab) and mare Jemima (Arab) finally reached Sydney. The total cost was over £2,000—a somewhat astonishingly high figure. From this allegedly full-blood pair the Dangars bred a sire Djeem (Arab). In due course Messrs. Dangar had grave doubts as to the purity of the horse Alif (Arab) and the mare produced weedy, unattractive stock. As a Pastoral Review commentator later wrote, “Evidently they left their country for their country’s good, the wily Arab being too much for the Major.”

    From The Arabian Horse in Australia:
    Following his purchase of Alif, Captain Upton went back to the Syrian Desert in 1876…. He made the journey to the winter quarters of the Sebaa Anazeh, noted breeders of fine horses, and was able to buy Jemima for Mr. A.A. Dangar and he also procured two stallions and two mares for Mr. Chaplin….

    Peter Upton discusses these Major Upton purchases in The Arab Horse: Jemima, Kesia, Ishmael, Keren-Happuch, and Joktan.

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