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32 SKINNING HORSES versus SKINNING EELS. mention an anecdote of one, who, in any thing but what regarded his horses, was a kind man. He was also a veterinary surgeon. He once took me to see his horses on a line of road where he had a strong opposition that had been running some months. I went into his stables, and such an exhibition of spectres of horses I never saw, all of a superior sort and breed — he knew too well to buy any other for such work — but such an accumulation of distress, such an assemblage of the lame, the halt, and the blind, I never beheld, except afterwards in the field behind the stable: this was a complete knacker's yard. I do not pretend to finer feelings than my neighbours, but I positively felt a sickening sensation, and turned away from the revolting scene. On returning to the stables, one of his coaches came up, all the horses distressed enough; but one, a little inare, scarcely well bred enough for her place, was in a state of such dreadful distress I pronounced her a dead one. "So did I," said her master, “ the first time I saw her come in: she will blow in that way for these two hours; she has an oppression on her lungs, but is a very good mare. I know she is out of her place, but she will go on.” Now here, because this animal could go on, she was to be kept working in this distress without exciting one feeling of compassion. Bad enough this, but not quite so bad as what follows. The up-coach came in, and the coachman was addressed as follows:-“I hear you was beat last night by three minutes ; don't let this happen again if you can help it. I don't mind skinning a horse a-day, but keep your coach in front." Did not mind skinning! That is, of course, killing by over-distress a horse a-day. I never for
A FOX-HUNTER OF THE RIGHT SORT. 33 gave him that speech, nor ever shall. Now, had he been determined not to be beaten, and had told his coachman so, adding to the “ keep your coach in front,” I will have double sets for you all along the line, I should have admired his spirit instead of detesting his barbarity.
Something like this “ going in front,” but with a very different spirit, was said by a Master of Foxhounds to his huntsman, who rode nearly seventeen stone. “ Never think of your horse or your pace; the moment you find one at all distressed, another shall be ready for you; only shew my friends sport, and kill your foxes, and you shall have a fresh horse every three fields if you want him.” This was something like: he was really in all things a noble fellow, and, as was said of King Charles, “enjoyed his girl and bottle, and got mellow, and (mind) kept company with gentlemen."
I know the answer coach-owners would make, and I cannot gainsay the truth of it. “The public like to go fast, and at the per mileage we charge as fares we cannot get a coach along at a fast pace without the cruelty we are accused of.” I know this as well as they do ; but with whom did this speed originate? Not with the public. Had all coaches continued to go eight miles an hour, there would have been no patronising one more than another, and at the eight miles the public must have gone: but some coachmaster struck out the idea that by going faster he should get a greater share of patronage than his neighbour, and his neighbour was then forced to do the same. These two men perhaps horsed their coaches in so superior a manner that the work could be done in the time without any cruelty to their
stock, and here the public gained a justifiable advantage: but then the man who horsed his coach badly found it necessary to keep the same time, and here the cruelty began. Again, the never-to-besatisfied greediness of coach-owners went to work, and some one, who had hitherto done his work well, began by lowering his fares to endeavour to again supplant his neighbour. What was the consequence? To make it pay at the lower fares, he must diminish his expenses : fewer and less able horses were used ; and others followed his example, till it amounted to this, that either money could not be got, or it must be got by the cruelties I have truly, however im. perfectly, represented. Coaching is, however, nearly done up, therefore my remarks on the cruelties practised on horses in this way shall conclude here.
Hide me, my good genius, in impenetrable obscurity ; advocate my cause, ye lovers of fair truth, while I avow my pity for those pitiable animals, a pair of horses jobbed by a single lady during the London season.-“ Massa here, Massa there, Massa everywhere,” is fully exemplified in the perpetual appearance of the jobs — “ they are only jobs :” so the usual work of a twelvemonth is to be got out of them during the time they are engaged for. If they are kept in the jobmaster's stable, they stand some chance of fair play, because, if they have done a full day's work, another pair are substituted for the theatre, concert, or party at night: but if kept in the lady's own stable, under her control, and their work measured by her judgment and conscience (in this particular), God help them! They catch it in every way. Ladies are not very apt to lend their own horses and carriage to each other, but it is really wonderful how kind, goodnatured, and, considerate
a pair of jobs render them, as the following arrangement and dialogue show:
“ Poor Mrs. Formerdays! she was always used to her carriage till lately ; it would be but kind to send the carriage to fetch her.” “ Poor Mrs. So-and-so is really ill; it would be a great treat to her to get an airing. We shall be three hours at the Exhibition to-morrow; we can send her the carriage while we are there; it can then fetch us, and we shall have plenty of time to go into the City. We can then drive round by Hampstead, call on Miss Spinster, get into the Park by five, and have an hour's drive there before we go home to dress ; and as the horses will only then have to take us to Mrs. Feed-usall's to dinner, and to Lady Lovelight's rout. and fetch us home, we can manage to send them to Mrs. So-and-so nicely, and much better than when we want more of them ourselves.”—Perhaps, Reader, you will agree with me that for a light day's work this will do.
“My dear Mrs. Flatterwell,” said Mrs. Heartall to her visitor," who do you think I have invited to meet you at dinner to-morrow ?”
Mrs. Flatterwell: “Of course I don't know, but some delightful agreeable creature I am sure if she is a friend of yours; your friends all are so, my poor self excepted.”
Mrs. Heartall: “Oh, you flatterer! Well, then, I have asked that dear Mrs. Feel-our-frowns that we used to admire so much when she drove those beautiful grays !”
Mrs. Flatterwell : “ You see I was quite right, but I thought you had not visited her since that dreadful loss of property she met with.”
36 “A FELLOW-FEELING MAKES ONE WONDROUS KIND.”
Mrs. Heartall: “Why, my dear, I will tell you how this arose. You know till lately I always kept my own horses, and when, poor dear thing, she was obliged to give up her carriage, being a very, very old friend, and having received a great deal of kindness from her when I was a girl, whenever I invited her I was forced to send my horses for her, for it is not flattering to see No. 527 drive up to one's door; so in pity to my poor horses, I was obliged to cut her; but now, as I job horses while I am in town, it does not matter, I can always send for her, and send her home.”
Who would not be a friend or even one of a pair of jobs to a woman whose feelings were of so high a tone! Reader, didst never meet amid a certain clique one possessed of such ? Perhaps not. I can only say one of my family, mentioned here as Mrs. Feel-ourfrowns, did, and I here have given the true anecdote.
Let the charming Miss Bobbinet condescend to accompany the ever-fascinating Mr. Staytape in a gig to dine at Richmond, what would she think of him if he crawled along eight miles an hour, allowing themselves to be passed on the road — would she not think him a pitiful fellow ? The whole pleasure of the thing would be destroyed; while, on the contrary, he rises in her estimation every time he gives others, as they jointly call it, the go-by, the rapidity in their estimation showing the superiority of the equipage. The feathers fly backwards, as if in derision of those left behind; the showy and many-coloured shawl flutters in emulation of the plumes, and the ribbons in interposition rustle with pride and delight-for. who ever saw an underbred female properly dressed