« السابقةمتابعة »
HORSE MANUFACTURERS. mount; mounts; seats himself, prepares himself and horse to move; and when he does move, you can see by his riding that it is an effort; and it always strikes me that a dragoon looks (though we know it is not so) as if he was afraid of his horse: he looks artificial; while the other and his horse look as if, like the Siamese twins, they had been born together. A man with these advantages can do a great deal with horses : he is not certainly a manufacturer of horses, but he is in a great measure a manufacturer of hunters, hacks, harness-horses, &c. He really buys the raw material, and makes it into what other people pay a high price for. He cannot perhaps afford to pay three hundred for a horse fourteen or fifteen years old, because he is a perfect made hunter: he knows how to make a hunter, then why should he pay for one ready made ? To him the making a horse is as much an amusement as making a picture or a garden is to another: he really makes the horse valuable, and has a right to that value when he sells him. His good judgment makes him select a young horse that he sees ought to be first-rate as a hunter: he takes care to buy him at a price that will do no great harm supposing he finds he does not answer his expectation as a hunter: his size, figure, looks, and action, will probably at all events command what he gave for him say a hundred; so he is no great loser under any circumstances; for if he, from some constitutional cause, is not good enough for a hunter, he makes him into a first-rate harness-horse: the one that does make a hunter shows him a great deal of amusement for a season or two, and then he is asked to take three or four hundred for him. Men of this known judgment never have occasion to offer their horses for sale: it
is enough that he has carried Mr. — a season or two, as it is quite well known he would not have ridden the same horse ten times if he was commonplace. He has no objection to selling a horse to pay a hundred; it lessens his stable expenses : but he would not punish himself by riding a brute in order to make money. There is nothing in any shape derogatory to the character or conduct of a gentleman in what he does : he is a good judge, a good horseman, a good sportsman: all this tends to the results I have mentioned: he is, moreover, in all probability, a good fellow, or people would have nothing to do with him or his horses. Long may such men ride and prosper! I wish we had more of them.
There are other men who are especially driving men: these can do the same thing by their nags, and perhaps drive their four-in-hand at as little expense as others do their cabs. A friend of mine, whose income never exceeded 20001. a year, always contrived to keep six, seven, or eight hunters during the season, and had his team during the summer; added to which his bachelor ménage was in perfect good taste. He had one summer got together four very good goers, and few men could hold them together better than he could. Coming along the road from Hammersmith, he overtook a friend, also driving his team, who piqued himself on having fast ones: they had a few minutes chat, when, to the latter gentleman's perfect astonishment, my friend went away from him and the fast ones with perfect ease. They met an hour afterwards in the Park, and when they had come side by side, the same result took place. It ended in a deal, and they actually exchanged teams, harness and all, my friend drawing a hundred in the exchange. During
BEAT WITH HIS OWN WEAPONS. 249 the next few days the rivals did not meet again. My friend was driving his new barter, getting them properly bitted, and, in road language, pulling them together. The fact was, three of these horses were beyond comparison much faster than his former team, but the fourth could neither step with nor go with the others. This horse he got rid of (and more of him anon), and put in one to the full as fast as the others: they were then one of the fastest teams in London, and he made them step together like soldiers, whereas before they only seemed to have been put together to be in each other's way. My friend now again appeared in the Park, and shortly after was joined by his friend and the notorious team; the same go-by was now given him that he had given a short time before, and doubtless his friend thought the hundred he had given for the exchange was well laid out: but miracles never cease: and who can control his fate? My friend permitted him to get a few carriage lengths in advance; then put on the steam, caught his friend, and passed at a good fifteen miles an hour. Had Tam O’Shanter on the grey mare, Mazeppa on the wild horse, Byron's Giaour on his black steed, or Scott the jock mounted on the ghost of Pegasus, passed, he would have been surprised; but his surprise would have been tame in comparison with his perfect astonishment at the matchless style of going, and the pace of his former bays. But so it was; he was beaten, and beaten hollow by his own horses. True, one had been changed; but this he did not know or perceive. The result ended in their again changing, and my friend again receiving a hundred for so doing.
“FOOLS AND THEIR MONEY," ETC.
A NOBLE FENCER.
251 sixpence for it. I certainly produced a noise something between blowing down a key and a penny. trumpet, but I never progressed a bit nearer the mellifluous notes of the nightingale.
A nobleman, whose name it is unnecessary to mention, many years since was so pleased by an exhibition of Punch and Judy that he actually bought the stand, Punch, Judy, dog, devil, and all, and sent them to his country seat: he forgot, however, to buy the man! In something like his lordship’s error would some men be who I have seen ride after (certainly not with) hounds, if, after seeing Tom Smith in his palmy days sail away on his best nag, they had bought him. There can be no doubt that every man who hunts or rides for his amusement has a right to ride as he pleases, and the sort of horse that best suits him. A perfect Leicestershire hunter will please all perfect Leicestershire riders; but many men have very peculiar notions of the merits of hunters.
I knew a nobleman who hunted in Essex, whom no one ever saw or suspected of riding over a common wattled hurdle or a ditch as wide as a potato trench; yet he gave long prices for his horses, and had certainly a lot of the best leapers I ever saw – a qualification to him, odd as it may appear, quite indispensable. The fact was, his lordship was a particularly active man, and in his own person one of the best and most determined fencers in England: nothing was too big or too awkward for him: he would jump, creep, or bore through or over anything, and he and his horse went as straight as birds. The way they did so was this: no man rode harder than he did, and that over any sort of ground, for of this he had no fear; consequently he was always