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STABLE-TALK AND TABLE-TALK,
SCENES IN THE LIFE OF A SPORTING
“ PRAY, Pettatt,” said a man, whose dress at once showed him to be the head of an aristocratic stable establishment, to one who, from his appearance, might be a doctor, attorney, tradesman, or, what he really was, a valet, “ has our governor got into any more property than he had ?”
“ Can't say,” replied the other; “but I know he has got out of a good deal that he had.”
Why, how is it, then,” said the knight of the currycomb; “I have seven more horses under my care than I have ever had here. Master has taken this house, that is twice as big as the last, furnished it in slap-up style, and, according to your account, the champagne goes down as fast as you can get it up: this looks like going the pace, at all events.
“ I tell you what it is, Dawson,” said Pettatt; “I believe you are first rate as a stud groom, and, when horses are for sale, don't want any dealer to give you a lesson; but as to the ways of life, you know no more of them than the child unborn; you are not fit to go alone, and if I went with you about the
HIGH LIFE BELOW STAIRS."
world, I would not go out without a string to you; but as you are a good fellow in your way, I'll just give you a wrinkle or two. You would get them in time without this; but if I give you a few beforehand, they will teach you to know the glass that sets you off to the best advantage, and to keep the blinds down, as the ladies do, if they think their wrinkles shew a little too strong in the light.”
“ Well, you do know a thing or two, that's certain, Master Pettatt,” says Dawson.
“Why, yes,” replied Pettatt; “we London valets flatter ourselves that we don't walk about the hamlet with our eyes shut; and wines, women, and wisdom, is our common toast. But now I will just tell you something of what is going on in our mannage.
“ Mannage,” cried Dawson, interrupting him; “ what do you mean by that ?”
“Oh! ah, I forgot; but we speak so much French among ourselves, that such words slip out without our knowing it. Well, then, mannage is French, for how things are carried on at home. Now don't interrupt one again; its never done in polite society. Now, then, our governor is doing much the same as tradesmen do, now-a-days. When they are bankrupts, before they tell the town of it, they fit up their shops ten times as expensively as they did at first, — plate glass windows, and so forth; making this a rule,—the larger their debts, the larger the panes of plate glass: this brings a greater number of customers; they then say they can afford to sell cheap, on account of their large capital, sell at any price that is offered, pocket the cash, and leave the plate glass for their creditors.”
SUCH A GETTING UP STAIRS."
“ Then, I suppose, you mean to say the governor will leave his plate for his creditors some fine day.”
“No, no, too' wide awake' for that, Dawson; master is not one to say die,' and at all events there is no danger of that yet; but when the game is really up, there's nothing like electro, best electro plated ; that's the ticket for creditors, old fellow; he has too much respect for his family to let the old plate go any where but into his own pocket.”
" You'll excuse me,” said Dawson, “but for a man of honour, which you often say you are, I suspect the school
you went to had a particular kind of honour they served out as lessons to young gentlemen."
“ Come, come, Master Dawson, there are little secrets we only tell to particular friends, and they are at all events better than your stable tricks, that you favour your friends with occasionally.”
Why, I'll tell you what it is, my worthy; you have given me a wrinkle or two, as you call them in your way, and have been pleased to say I want a string to me, if I go out; now, I rather think, if
you and I went out in my line of country,' I might want a coupling rein to keep you safe; but we have the advantage of you in any thing like plated practices: we acts upon principle ;—always act upon principle, whatever
do.” Capital,” cried Pettatt; “so,
so, I suppose, principle means lame, blind, and broken-winded, horses palmed by one gentleman on another, upon his honour, as sound ones; if that is the case, I say, for principle, , read, horse chaunting.”
“ Now, Pettatt, you are getting vulgar; as I once read in a story book, “be familiar, but by no means vulgar.' Now, I am quite willing to say that when
we accommodate friends with horses, we do cook 'em a bit before we serve 'em up.” “Yes, Master Dawson; and in serving them up, you serve your friends out.” “Just so, and ‘serve them right;" if a man will buy a horse, and knows nothing of what he is about, it is a charity to teach him better; and if we sell one to a man who does know something about it, and he buys a lame one, we have a right to suppose he likes him; so if he gets what he likes, he has no fault to find at any rate.” “Saying nothing,” said Pettatt, “ of feet in hot water for a few hours, eh, master ?” “Why, now, that just brings me to the wrinkle I promised you; the world, do ye see Master Pettatt, is a kind of handicap race, that we all run; now a handicap is a race where horses ought to be (for they seldom are) weighted according to their qualifications; so, in the world, we get weighted according to our knowledge of its ways; and if we are found to be fools (like me, who wants the string), if we don't get our whack of weight it's no matter; so most brains, least weight, that's the time of day, old friend.” “Now, Master has brains,” continued Dawson, “and principle too, and I will prove it: he sells a friend a half blind horse, he runs his nose into an omnibus; what of that, if he had not, the same man would have bought another blind un; but finding this out, I'll answer for it he always pays particular attention to eyes in future: this is doing him a real service; is not this principle? Well, we sell another a horse with a spavin, he gets lame; lord, how this man will grope about the hocks, when he looks at another; this is principle again. So if the same man would only buy
A LECTURE. 5
horses enough of us, we would make him acquainted with every disease a horse is liable to ; this I call true and high principle. Depend on it, old fellow, in worldly affairs we should do as a man must do, if he means to do any good in racing affairs, get the best of other people if we can, for I'll be d if they won't try to get the best of us; there now, that's worth a bottle of sherry at all events, so just give me a glass; and as it is five o'clock, I'll go to stable.” “Really, Fred.,” said Edward Hartland to his friend Manderville, “if I was not as well acquainted as I am with the general attributes of your heart and disposition, the sentiments you profess, and the conduct you defend, would lead me to suppose you both unprincipled and depraved.” “That, my dear fellow,” replied Fred., “proceeds wholly from your want of knowledge of the world; you are so accustomed to hear only the sentiments of those really fine, but straight-laced, girls, your sisters, and those of your saint-like mamma, that any thing like the general ways of the world appears to you as something devoutly to be avoided.” “If by straight-laced you mean a dislike to such companions as I am sorry to see you associate with, and such pursuits as I regret to see you follow, I am happy to say my sisters and worthy mother are all as you represent them,” replied Hartland. “Come, come, my good fellow,” said Fred., “you are getting grave and angry; have a little mercy on your tailor by not burning the tails of your coat before that fire, and bury your immaculate person in that chair.” I applaud your philanthropic feelings in favour of my
tailor,” said Hartland; “but they are not called for