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312 POTATOES AND HORSES AU NATUREL. to see him.” “Oh! he's welcome to show he to who he likes ; but mind I won't take no less.” — Quickeners 4, 5, 6, and 7: out comes the horse, the lip-string properly tightened up: no need of ginger — that was right before : some need of the spurs; so in they go now, and off goes Rascal, making the best show possible. — Quickeners, God knows how many; for the Gentleman, not thinking the horse is being set off to any particular advantage, the intended purchaser not being present (or anywhere else), he congratulates himself on having seen the horse au naturel, as the Frenchman said of the first potato he ever saw, and consequently ate raw — the only difference being, Monsieur did not like the potato at all, whereas Mr. — likes the horse very much. While the other is gone, Bob shows the Gentleman two or three others; praises them more than he does the one he intends the Gentleman to buy: this shows he is not anxious to sell him. Back comes Rascal; times it to come up just when he has the horse mettled and settled to his best pace: “ Now if you like to take a fair price, I have sold him : the Gentleman will give the guineas and no farther trouble.” — The quickening is now going on very fast, indeed almost boiling: “I won't take the money, so put him in.” — “Why, you'll make three pound clear by him, so let him have him.” -“I tell you I won't; I won't stand none of his haggling: he shan't have him at no price now: so there! put him in.” — Rascal jumps off in a passion, damns Bob and his horse, and swears “ he'll never try to sell a horse for him again.” Bob, equally polite, damns Rascal, and tells him “he don't want him to't." Now the Gentleman, having no reason to suspect that Rascal knew anything of his wishes for the horse, really considers he has heard a
THE HALTER ON THE WRONG ANIMAL.
genuine conversation between the two; and the little gentlemanlike ebullition of temper between them, and Rascal's still surly looks, confirm it: so he thinks he has got what we may term a little stable informationabout as good and as much to be depended upon as some very cunning people sometimes get from racing establishments. The quickening now boils in right earnest: an offer is made; the dealer leads the Gentleman confidentially by the arm a little on one side that no one may hear how cheap he sells him the horse ; taking care, however, to keep within ear-shot of Rascal, who may be useful if anything goes wrong. The horse is ordered to the Red Lion, or Scarlet Bear, or wherever the Gentleman likes; the dealer takes care never to leave the Gentleman till he has touched the cash; wishes him luck; gets the luckpenny; and then Rascal and Bob go to dinner: so will possibly the Gentleman, after he has seen his horse the next day — Mem. “ with what appetite he may." Not that I mean it is certain he has bought an unsound one: perhaps not: still I will answer for it, Rascal showed him better in a halter than Gentleman will with a bridle. I have, however, only shown how in one way a little quickening may be applied. Of course the game is played in various ways, according to circumstances : sometimes a different and the long game has to be played; whereas short whist did in this case.
Now let me explain a little of the by-play that probably escaped Gentleman's notice. I have said the dealer took him by the arm (it's a way they have) a little out of the crowd : Gentleman thinks it very natural the dealer may not wish everybody to know all about his horse (Mem. dealers have a great many little natural ways with them). Gentleman will, how
ever, find there is more of the natural in himself than in the dealer. Now, the Gentleman is quite right in supposing it was not wished that everyone should hear the conversation ; but the dealer's motive for this was somewhat different from what it was thought to be. It was this: he did not know who might be in the crowd — perhaps some persons well known to his customer; and then, if things went wrong, they might be brought forward as witnesses of what dealer had said about the horse. For this reason he is taken out of the way; and Rascal is kept in the way as a witness on dealer's side : so the Gentleman by these means can bring no witness if he wants one to swear the truth, while the dealer has one to swear any lies he may dictate for him. I will venture to assert, that in nineteen cases out of twenty, where a gentleman is dealing for a horse in any public place, let him turn round, and he will see some Mr. Rascal-looking fellow on the listen; and he may depend upon it he is there for the purpose I have stated. This is only one of their little naturel ways of managing things. I have my little natural ways too; and one of them is, always to get out of the way of one of these gratuitous listeners; and, under such circumstances, my reader will do well to get into the way of doing the same thing.
Having said something of these sort of gentry's mode of buying and selling, there is another part of their vocation to be spoken of: this is chopping, or swapping. Now, in good round terms, let me give my reader one bit of advice — NEVER SWAP WITH A DEALER. I do not mean to say but that once or twice during a long life (if a very long one) a man may get a fair or advantageous exchange, but depend on it, if you take my advice au pie de la lettre, you will do by
: “SUCH A GETTING” DOWN “STAIRS.” 315 far the best and wisest thing. I must mention an anecdote, where it should seem a man did himself a benefit by tumbling from the top of a high flight of stairs to the bottom; still it is an experiment, that, like swapping with a dealer, I strongly recommend my friends to avoid making.
My father and a friend, sitting in an hotel, were startled by hearing a tremendous fall on the staircase: they rushed out, fearing to find some one with broken bones; but no, it was a French gentleman, who had come from the top of the house rather faster than he had intended, by tumbling headlong from it. “ Monsieur, vous vous avez fait du mal,” said my father. " Au contraire, je vous remercie,” cried the Frenchman. Another inmate now came and inquired what was the matter. “Oh! nothing," says my father, “but a d—d Frenchman has frightened us to death by tumbling down stairs, and says he has done himself a great deal of good by it.”
So you may by swapping with a dealer: but don't try it! Swapping, I believe, is exchanging one thing for another; and this the dealer perfectly understands. A fair swap should be, if two things are of equal value, the giving one for the other; or, if of unequal value, giving or receiving the fair difference in value: this the dealer does not understand; at least he won't, which is the same thing to you. The first thing dealer does, and will do under almost any circumstances in swapping, is to draw money. In this particular, I care not be he of the highest or lowest grade,—the fixed principle is the same. I do not mean to say he would refuse to take a horse worth sixty for one worth twenty without boot; but I will pound him he will try to get it. Let dealers deny it if they can
316 A LITTLE MANAGEMENT WANTED. (and if they were to deny it to me, it would be of no use) — they in a general way expect to get the horse they swap (figurately speaking) for nothing. In fact, you will hardly get one to swap with you at all, if you have known the price of his horse beforehand: he will be sure then to be “ quite full” — “expecting a lot from some fair” – “shall have to hire stables for them.” — Mem. he would have found room if you had not known the price of the horse you want. Now though I am quite sure you could have done yourself no good by the swap had you made it, you may, without suspecting how, have put yourself in the way of selling, I should say sacrificing, your horse by attempt. ing the swap, and I will tell you how. Dealer has seen your horse, likes him, and would buy him at (in his phrase) a price. We will say he wants a hundred for his horse, and you a hundred for yours, and, as a supposed case, the one is as well worth it as the other. You would give ten or fifteen pounds for the accommodation of the exchange. Here dealer's faculties become again obtuse: this is one of the exchanges he don't understand. No, “ this will never do for Galway,” as the song goes. Now if he could sell you his at a hundred, and get yours at fifty, it would do. He understands this, but you do not, and he would be afraid to try to make you ; so, as he would say, " he could not WORK.” But he will though in another way. Now, if, as I suppose, he likes your horse, and can get him “at a price,” and sell you his too at his price, he won't have made a bad day's work of it: but supposing he does not want your horse, and can only sell you his, depend upon it his time will not have been lost. He knows you will buy his; so the first thing is to get your horse in his way or out of his way