صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

styles it, takes effect, and now, caveat emptor, or you will get pretty well lathered.

The horse is now ordered out, and we will suppose the other is also out by order of the judge. The proceedings of the two will have been different even while the bridles are putting on. The Muff will probably (in as he thinks a knowing way) say, “ Come, none of your ginger.”—“Oh no, Sir,” says the man, “master never allows it.” Muff turns round, hums a bar or two of “Ah che forse in tai momenti,” or a scena in La Sonnambula : while so doing, in goes the ginger, and out goes the horse. “No want of ginger there, Sir.”_ Now the other has given no such directions, but, if he objects to it, has never taken his eye off the horse: so either allows its being done, or prevents it, as he wishes. They now severally take a general and cursory view of the horses, but from very different reasons. Muff looks generally, because he does not know how or where to look critically: he perhaps lifts up a foot, because he thinks he ought to do so, by which he gains about as much information as if he looked into a coal-scuttle. If he desires the horse's mouth to be opened, he learns by this that there is a tongue there, but nothing more. But let me tell him, he has really, without intending, learned something by this; for though such an idea never entered his head, he might have found the horse had lost part of that. He now, having seen as much as he would see if he looked for a twelvemonth, most probably orders the nagsman to mount him, who of course rides him in the way most likely to please, either by letting him go quite quietly, or making him curvet all down the ride or yard. He then desires to ride him himself; orders the stirrups


[ocr errors]


SHAVING. to be lengthened, measures their length by his arm, twists his fingers en Dragoon in the mane; motion one, two, three, and he is mounted. He rides, looking at every visible part of himself, for in his opinion a very good reason — to see how he looks—and he then looks at every visible part of his horse. With the investigation of himself, I will answer for it he is perfectly satisfied, and with that of the horse, not knowing enough to be the reverse, if he has been carried easily, he is probably satisfied also. He returns, now Tom's master's soap goes to work again : 6. That horse will make you a beautiful charger, Sir: there won't be many such in your regiment.”_“I am not in the army.”—“Oh! I beg your pardon, Sir, I thought from your riding you was." — (Mem. "a civil man this dealer.")-Muff now dismounts ; the nag goes into the stable, the Gentleman into the counting-house, gives his cheque, and is lucky if he does not shortly find out that his purse has got one in return to a tolerable stiff amount. The Gentleman now walks off, but the nagsman has been watching him — or the office is given that he is going. He is allowed to get to the gate, that the dealer may be supposed not to know what is going on, though it was very likely himself who gave the man the signal. Up comes nagsman, touches his hat— “Beg your pardon, Sir! the nagsman, Sir, if you please !” –

Oh, certainly !” Out comes the purse. Tom sees half-a-crown coming out of that. “You've got a nice horse, Sir!” — “Well, I think he is.” Out follows another shilling. “I pinted out that horse to you, Sir, when you came into the stable : I knew he would suit you :” (another shilling:) I'm glad you've got him, Sir”—(no lie this)—“ for though he's



man (

as quiet as a lamb, he is a high-couraged horse, and 'tisn't every man can ride him as you can.” (Shilling the third.) Tom sees the purse closing, so, finding soap will do no more, he touches his hat again; in goes the money into his pocket; in goes his tongue into one cheek; and then in goes Tom and two or three companions to the public-house, takes something short, and then goes to see what is to be done with the other customer, about whom he makes inquiry something in this way: “I say, Jem, which way did that covey go with t'other horse ? Oh, here he comes; he's a wide-awake chap that, I'll pound him; soap won't do with he.”

We left this covey, as Tom in his aristocratic language termed him, taking a cursory look at the horse. I may be asked why he takes only a cursory look at him ? For a very different reason from that which induced Muff to do the same thing: he only in this stage of the business does this to see how he likes his general appearance, for it would be useless to take the trouble to minutely examine a horse (a thing not to be done in a minute), and then find, on seeing him move, that he had no more action than a threelegged stool. After therefore having ascertained from · his general appearance whether he quite likes it or not, he sees him run: if he likes it, he does so to ascertain whether his action corresponds with his looks : if it does not, he saves all trouble by ordering him in. This order Tom knows it is useless to hesitate in obeying, for, as he says, soap persuasion is of no use here. If this purchaser should not like much the looks of the nag, he orders him to be moved that he may ascertain whether his action is such as to make amends for his want of appearance. For this, he 270

SECUNDUM ARTEM. does not, as Muff did, direct Tom to mount him: he merely says (for such men in these cases deal pretty much in monosyllabic terms), “go on, walk.” If this pleases him, or nearly so, he then merely says, “ run on.” When he has seen enough of his trot, on the horse returning he holds up his hand : “wo-ho.” The nag is now placed against the wall: “give him the length of his bridle, and let him stand.” The dealer and his men well know what this means, and by this time thoroughly know the sort of customer they have to deal with. They see he is, as Tom says, wide awake: they know he will have his own way, and see the horse in his own way, or not look at him at all. It is true, that if this horse has been but two days in the dealer's stable, he has been taught his lesson too well not to be kept on the qui vive, if wished, by private signals (not very easy to detect), in spite of the man at his head pretending to coax him to stand still. But, in Tom's phrase, he knows very well that “ Wide-awake won't have it ;" so still he does stand. And now he examines him in earnest: he looks at him, sideways, before and behind, looks minutely at those parts of his shape and make that indicate the possession or want of powers for the purpose for which he intends him; carefully looks and ascertains whether he stands well and firmly on his legs, and whether they are placed as legs should be: he then examines him as to soundness, not merely to ascertain whether he is sound at the present moment (for the dealer having warranted to such a man, the probability is that he is sound), but he looks carefully to see whether there is anything that indicates a disposition to unsoundness, as in that case he might be very sound to-day and very unsound in a

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

week's time, without the right to return him. When he takes up his foot, he looks at those parts that are generally the present or future seat of disease: he looks at his mouth, and learns all Muff did by so doing, and a little more: he does not merely look to see if the appearance of the mouth corresponds with the age told him, for he pretty well guesses that the mouth will naturally (or by artificial means be made to) indicate the specified age; but it is to be certain that artificial means have not been resorted to that he looks, and this nothing short of a very competent judge can detect. Should the horse show much unwillingness to allow his mouth to be opened, our friend Wide-awake would examine it with double scrutiny; and if he found no tricks had been played as to age, he would very naturally infer that balling had for some reasons been pretty frequently in use. Having done this, looking at the eyes and coughing him has of course not been omitted. It is not my province to give, if I was capable of it, a treatise on eyes, though I do not think I should quite buy a blind one; and as to coughing, I must make one observation : some horses who have often undergone this process become so irritable in the throat that they cough the moment it is touched; others, from the same cause, namely practice, can hardly be made to cough at all; while the thoroughly-sound unpractised horse, on being tried, gives a fine sound vigorous cough, and there ends it: for though a broken-winded one may be so dosed and set as to be made breathe like a sound one for many hours, I defy all the lowest thieves of dealers in the world to make him cough like a sound one. All these preliminaries having been gone through, our friend (as I may very

« السابقةمتابعة »