« السابقةمتابعة »
292 “DILLY, DILLY, WON'T YOU COME TO BE KILLED." when he has once been deceived, in this case my Lord did quite right in going back to the same dealer, for he had not been deceived by him : the only deception was in the horse: he had deceived both dealer and purchaser ; and such cases must occasionally occur with many young horses, which sometimes beat the best judgment. • In the case I have alluded to, the dealer would not ask a shilling for the exchange (provided of course that his customer takes a horse of the same class) : but his Lordship, unsolicited, hands him probably, when suited, a ten-pound note for his trouble and civility. This is as the thing should be: the dealer has made a fair profit, and acted the part of a respectable man, while his customer has not forgotten he is a nobleman.
Now there is another sort of customer that it is the dealer's interest neither to take in, nor offend, nor suit. This customer buys on his own judgment; consequently never is, or probably never will be suited till he gets some other person to buy for him. He cannot blame the dealer so long as the horses are sound and free from vice; nor will he of course blame himself: he attributes it all to ill luck. This man is a regular income to the dealer, who of course makes his market of him, and still retains his own character and the good opinion of his customer. These sort of men, like trout, only want a little tickling, and will be had just as easily. Now the dealer understands tickling, so makes sure of his fish, and does him (as all cooks should do their fish) a nice brown.
There are of course various classes of dealers, descending to the lowest: but we must not seek out all there : neither the space any periodical can afford
:"A ROPE'S END TO HIM.” 293 to the same subject, nor its readers' patience, would admit of this; we will therefore 'make acquaintance with the low dealer — and a very low and dangerous acquaintance he is. Of these there are various sorts; but I hope I shall not be considered to confound the dealer, who, being low in pocket, can only deal in low-priced horses, and but few of them, perhaps, with the regular organised scoundrel, low in manners, low in pursuits, and still lower in principle. There are many decent and respectable men who can only keep two or three 201. or 301. horses, that are quite as worthy of confidence as their more opulent brethren. These men ride their own horses about the streets, show them to their customers, and often act as useful middle men in finding horses for them, if their own circumscribed means will not enable them to do so from their own stable. These are probably young men beginning with a capital of 501., or dealers who have seen better days.
The men I designate as low dealers are of various other sorts, of which I will mention, first, the thoroughly low, half pig-jobbing, half horse-dealinglooking vagabond, with a greasy macintosh, a pair of mahogany-coloured top-boots, a red worsted comforter round his neck, arriving with his confederate in a wretched gig, with the still more wretched lame, spavinous anatomy of a good one drawing it. These fellows are to be seen in every fair. They do not go there like the respectable man, certain to buy if the fair produces what he wants : they certainly do mean to buy if what they want presents itself, that is, if by means of the rascality, bullying, blackguardism, and united efforts of themselves and their worthy coadjutors, they can cajole or bully any one out of his 294 ADVERTISEMENTS FREE OF DUTY. horse for little or nothing, doing also a little business in selling a regular flat-catcher at five times his worth. They are also ready to do any bit of rascality for another dealer, which he, although a rogue, is not open-faced rascal enough to do for himself. To such fellows dealers often intrust the sale of something they may have by them that is too bad to own; yet will you find people weak enough to buy of such fellows a horse for 201. that any one could see, if he could see at all, would be worth 601. if he was half what they represented him to be. A man may be taken in by a respectable and fair-dealing exterior; but I do not think I ever saw one of these fellows but on whose countenance was written rascal as legibly as we see written Dr. Eady or Warren's Blacking on the Park walls.
These fellows will be seen either bustling about a fair, or planting themselves at what they call “ Catch'em Corner,” which means some spot where every horse paraded in the fair must pass them. Here they stop every one, and ascertain the price asked for him. Should they be asked 60l., they will laugh outright, ask if the person thinks them fools, or say, “ Ask me 201., and I'll talk to you.” This, though they have no idea of buying the horse, they do for these reasons: it can do them no harm; no one knows what an owner may take rather than not sell; and they know it does what it is their business to do, throws a damp on the seller's hopes. He had perhaps made up his mind, if he found he could not do better, to take ten or fifteen pounds less than he asked; and, had they talked of forty instead of sixty, he would consider either he asked twenty too much, or that they wanted to get his horse at too little.
But to be told to ASK twenty (which of course means that less would be offered (if he did) for a sixty-pound nag) is such a choker, that the owner (if he is not used to such things) hardly knows whether he or his horse stand on their heads or heels. He cannot conceive any man would have the impudence to make such a remark unless he had seen something radically bad about the horse that had escaped the owner's notice. He is almost tempted to look at his horse's eyes to ascertain whether he has gone blind. Now if one of these worthies perceive any thing of this, though, when he courteously begged to be asked 201., he had not the remotest idea he should get him, he now begins to think the thing, though still improbable, by no means impossible, and as, if he fails, it will cost him nothing, he resolves to “try it on;" and something like the following very refined remark will probably be made to some other worthy: “I say, Jack, I think the gammon fits a bit, don't it?” “Go after Johnny, and tell him I want to show him the Queen's face.”
From this moment our respectable acquaintance and his friend determine that they will have the horse, or that he shall not be sold at all. They cer- . tainly cannot determine he shall be theirs, but if they set about it, they certainly will, in nineteen cases out of twenty, prevent his being bought by any one else. It may be fifty to one against their getting him ; but if in one case in fifty they do succeed, it is all in their favour, for spoiling the sale of forty-nine horses costs them nothing, and getting the fiftieth is all. money in their pockets. Conscience they have none; so the virtually robbing, or, to use a milder term, spoiling the market of forty-nine persons to the tune
of hundreds, is nothing in their estimation, if it gains them twenty, ten, or five pounds, ay, or five shillings. But how can they spoil the sale, may be asked ? Very easily; and this is one of the hundred ways in which they do it.
People are always more prone to listen to any censure than they are to praise of any thing. A bit of scandal always goes down. Ay, blush, fellow man, when I assert that it does so even when scandal is levelled at lovely woman: there is a devilish sort of pleasure mankind has in hearing other persons or their property abused. Rochefoucault was not much out when he said, Il y a quelque chose dans les malheurs de nos meilleurs amis qui ne nous déplait pas. He knew human, I might say inhuman, nature; one word said in dispraise will go farther in biassing men's minds, than twenty said in commendation – whether it be in the case of a horse, a woman's character, or Captain Warner's invisible annihilator.
I fully intend visiting a Commission Stable and Repository; but really dealers are such funny fellows, I should be sorry to show them any inattention, which I must do if I leave them so soon. I beg to observe, when I speak of them personally, I never declare more than the truth, or any thing but the truth; but I do not wish to declare the whole truth, unless any one wishes it. I only give a mild alterative. If I should find this produces irritability instead of a wholesome tone of body and mind, I have some medicine of a more drastic nature by me that I never administer but in extreme cases, or where it is desired. As to Repositories, I shall not forget my promise to walk into them.