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THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO THE BOOK.
be matched, and driven till they are steady and handy: and the single horses to be driven till they are also steady, and drive pleasantly and light in hand. All this takes time and expense, which must of course be added to the cost price, travelling expenses, accidents, &c. How then, in the name of common sense, can one of these horses be sold under a very high price ?
There is, besides the expenditure and casualties I have mentioned, another very important item to be added to the dealer's expenses, and that is, bad debts. It may be said, that, aware of his being subject to this, he takes it into consideration in the price he puts on his horses. Doubtless he does so; nor do I consider him or any other tradesmen an object of commiseration when this occurs, provided he only comes in for his proportionate share: but it must be remembered, that when the horse-dealer meets with customers who do not pay him, it is generally for rather heavy sums. Added to this is the very long credit he is obliged often to give. And so far as regards credit, the horse-dealer loses an advantage other tradesmen enjoy. I believe, in the usual way, the generality of tradesmen in buying their stock get three months credit, and then give their acceptance at two months : not so with the horse-dealer. If he goes to a fair and purchases, he must pay ready money, and always does so. He is of course quite aware of all these expenses, and the disadvantages that he labours under, but his customers are not; and from this difference arises the general, but really erroneous, supposition as to the enormous profits of his trade. Profit of course he makes; no one
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213 would wish he should not : but when every thing is taken into consideration, he really makes no more than a fair profit.
We will now suppose that some private individual determines (that is, so far as he is personally concerned,) the dealer shall make no profit at all, and makes up his mind to go to a fair and purchase horses for his own purpose, concluding that he will be able to purchase the same class of horse as the dealer, at the same price. Thinking that if he can purchase horses for — say 1001.— that he is aware he should be asked 1201. for in London, it would be a considerable sum saved. So it would, if he could do it. But before he can do so, he must first get the judgment of the dealer, which he has not; and he must then know where to look for the horse he wants: this, being unaccustomed to fairs, he will not know, — for valuable horses are not hawked about the streets in such places. Here are two great obstacles in the way of his purchasing judiciously; but the great probability is, he would not be able to purchase at all. The regular dealers would not let him interfere with their trade: they would combine together to keep him out of the market, and would throw a thousand obstacles in his way, through themselves and their agents. If he did succeed in finding such horses as he wished to buy, they would join, outbid him in price, and divide the loss among themselves, rather than allow him to get them. They are very glad to see a country gen tleman or breeder there, who comes with three or four young horses for sale, nor would they attempt to thwart him if he wanted to purchase a horse for his own use: but they certainly would consider any
FISHING IN TROUBLED WATER.
nobleman or man of fortune, who attempted the supplying himself with horses from the same source as themselves, as an intruder, and would as certainly prevent his doing so, at least to any advantage to himself. Nor, if it is taken in a right point of view, can they well be blamed. Their trade is their bread, and if they permitted their customers to supply themselves without having recourse to the dealer, in the course of time the trade of the dealer would cease, or, to say the least, diminish greatly: consequently, without any ill feeling towards the individual, they know it a matter of the first importance to keep him out of their market. This same feeling influences every class of men in trade, no matter what that trade or business may be.
We will, however, even suppose that the private gentleman does find out the kind of horse he wishes to get, buys him, and gets him at the same price a dealer would have given for him: his business is only half done then, for he is by no means certain he will suit him. He has got him at a fair price (I do not mean a play upon the word), but if he should not suit him, he will turn out dear in the end, as he will have to sell him, and the odds are 20 to 1 but that he loses by him in price, independently of the trouble and expense he was at to get him, though the dealer, by the same horse, bought at the same price, would have made money. Why is this? The reason is obvious: the gentleman bought him for his own particular use: he finds he does not suit him, nor does he know any person that he will. Now, had the dealer bought him, he knows of many persons that he will suit. This at once accounts for the one losing, while the other gains. It will be asked, perhaps, why the horse should be supposed FINE FEATHERS MAKE FINE BIRDS. 215 as not likely to suit? I merely consider it probable, from the purchaser not having had the opportunity of getting sufficient trial to ascertain whether or not he was likely to do so; for it is not to be supposed that with a horse made up for sale, and brought to a fair, a buyer will be allowed to ride or drive five or six miles on trial, which he would be if he went to any respectable dealer to whom he was known; and, without something like this trial, few men could judge how far a horse would be likely to suit them. Horses are to a very great degree objects of taste and caprice: people have their own peculiar predilections and fancies respecting them, which they have a right to enjoy, and if possible gratify. If a man wants a set of dining-tables, he has only to fix on a set whose dimensions are suited to his purpose, and whose fashion pleases his eye: they cannot well disappoint him when he uses them. A horse may also be the size he wants, appear to go as he wishes, and quite please him as to appearance; but though the dinnertable is the same thing in the upholsterer's shop or out of it, many have found to their cost the horse in the fair and out of it is often quite a different thing. He may go very handsomely when properly shown, and elated in the noise and bustle of a fair; he may also ride very pleasantly under such circumstances, but will probably be found a very different animal when either shown or ridden without such excitement. The dealer is quite aware of this, and he can have no further trial than the gentleman; but his object is quite different: the dealer buys to sell, the gentleman to use. The horse is shown to both under similar circumstances: the dealer sees that with proper means used he is to be made to look well, show well, 216
SPICED BEEF. and go well; that is enough for him: for he will take care that the same means are used when he offers him for sale. In some elucidation of this, we will see how differently the gentleman and the dealer act. Supposing each going to see a horse with the view of purchasing him: the first thing the gentleman requests is, that he may not be gingered, that no whip may be used, that he may be allowed to stand as he likes, and then go as he likes (this is supposing the gentleman knows what he is about): he is quite right, for this is the way he will be treated while in his possession, and this is the way in which he will be allowed to go. If he goes handsomely, cheerfully, and well when thus left to himself, he is in all probability naturally a good goer, a free and light-hearted horse. Now, let the dealer go to look at a horse in a gentleman's stable, he will most likely be shown by the groom in the same quiet way I have described : to this the dealer has no objection, but he will see a little more of him before he buys him: he then makes a positive agreement as to the price he is to have him for, if he buys him: this done, he tells his own man, who generally accompanies him on such occasions, to take hold of his head, gives him a “corn,” in other words a bit of ginger, puts him against a wall, gives him a few strokes of the whip to waken him a bit, tells his man to “run on," rattles his whip-handle in the crown of his hat, and then sees how the horse will look when he shows him. The dealer is as right as the gentleman. They each wish to see the horse in the way in which he is to answer their different purposes, and the purpose for which each buys him. The difference, however, between his answering the purpose of the two buyers is very great. If he does