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“ TAKE HIM ALL IN ALL, WE SHALL NOT LOOK," &c. 327 he has heard a sportsman's dress should be easy (in this I quite agree with him); so he carries it to his boots, which are made with a nice easy calf to them; but, to prevent their getting down, they are held up by a strap taking all four of the knee buttons; so they hang like a travelling carpet-bag hung up by one handle.
Then the Brummagems: it certainly has been the style for years to wear them drooping on the heel (why, I know not, if they are intended for use); but friend “ Chevy" does more: he has his under-straps made particularly short; so, from letting the spurs droop“ a la mode,” they look like a pair of Yeomanry formidables, with an extra length of shank to them.
I think we have now dressed him. Then the ease with which he wears his harness, and harness it is to him ; for a man unaccustomed to wear top-boots and breeches moves as much at home in them as I should in the dress of a Deal boatman; but such as he is, there he is.
Prelude of horns - during which “Chevy” takes the accustomed walk backwards and forwards: all singers do; so do the leopards and panthers in Wombwell's cages. The eleven-months-in-the-year inhabitants of London are satisfied they have seen the beauideal of a foxhunter, and the fac-simile of the Marquis of Waterford, or some such an out-and-outer. Ye Gods! the Marquis dressed to mount Yellow Dwarf like such a thing! “ Name it not in Gath,” still less in Melton.
“Chevy” now sings his song, and if he would leave out the “halloos,” and keep his enormous whip quiet, he would doubtless acquit himself well in this part of the business. Having done so, the manager treats
66 THEREBY HANGS A TAIL.”
hiin to a ride, and his hunter is led on. He does not come on as Captain Ross's Clinker would have done, sneaking along as if he was ashamed of himself: no, you hear “Chevy's” hunter coming; and when he does come, there's fire for you! If the Noble Marquis I have mentioned should happen to be present, he would see no coinmon brown horse with a scanty tail like Old Harlequin; no; here is a beautiful piebald, with a tail large enough (when short ones were the go in the Market Harborough country) to have tailed a whole field. Of the tailing there would be little doubt if“ Chevy” was there. But I can go no further; the hunter produced is a choker for me, a regular stopper; so we will return to the horses advertised.
If we were endued with the curiosity some folks possess, instead of going to the stables, we should go to the house-door and make some inquiries: but this would be as injudicious in our case as going behind the scenes would be at new pantomines; it would dispel the illusion at once; for there we should probably be told the family were out of town, but that the stables were let for a month to Captain, Major, or perhaps Colonel Somebody, and that the pro temp. Chargé-d'Affaires at the house knew nothing of any horses advertised for sale. This proceeding would be well enough if we merely wished to learn if the advertisement was genuine; but as we are satisfied on that point, and merely go to see how the thing is done, it would be unnecessary. It may be asked whether the advertisers have no fear that such inquiries may be made ? In one sense they do fear it; in another not at all: they fear it, as those who do inquire will not become their victims, but from no other cause, for few persons would think it worth their “ UP, BOYS, AND AT 'EM.” . 329, while to go and abuse the soi-disant Major or Colonel as a rogue and a swindler: you could not have the satisfaction of calling a blush to his face, and all you could get would be a bullying from him and his : and as to exposure, could you expose him to nineteen parts of the population within the Bills of Mortality, provided you leave him the remaining twentieth, he would find gulls enough among them to serve his turn. These fellows do get abused, exposed, threatened, warned off, turned out, and a hundred other things: their plot does often get smoked; and sometimes the place gets too hot to hold them. What then! they go somewhere else, and cælum animum non mutant; so they up and at 'em again, and Mr. Green does come at last. These facts have flashed across our minds as we walked up the Mews, and we are quite prepared to draw our conclusions (were they not already drawn) from the cut of the attendants and the stable altogether. If they were the stables of a lady or gentleman, we should be received by a respectable man as coachman, groom, or at least helper, or perhaps by all three. Their proper and civil demeanor would show they were what their appearance bespoke: they, or he, would without hesitation state their employer's name, how long they had had the horses, from whom they had been bought, how they had been used, why they were sold, and at : once state their prices. If one or more were approved of, they would offer to lead them out, and would probably be authorised (if the horses did belong to a lady) to refer you to some gentleman who would give you any further information. Then the stable, if that of a lady or gentleman, it will have a used look about it, clean and well done, but everything
330 "A COOSTOMER, A COOSTOMER.” about it would show it had been long inhabited; the beds tidy and comfortable, but nothing remarkable either way - neither plaits behind the horses as a show-off on the one hand, nor any appearance of neglect, as if one man did the whole business, on the other. The thing would be all in keeping : the horses would wear the same clothing (at least as far as pattern); those and the head-collars would show they were made by the same person : so if we look into the coach-house and harness-rooin, if there is one, we shall find harness of all sorts, saddles, bridles, girths, spare clothing, spare parts of harness, bits, &c. hung up all round.
Now had Rascal and Co. had the precaution to carry on the thing so well as to have got together all this, unless we had called at the house, I allow I should be a little staggered on opening the stable door, and have thought it possible I had condemned the advertisement somewhat hastily, and should perhaps go far enough to make some inquiries as to its being genuine. But the moment we open the door, as the thing is here done, no inquiry is necessary. The moment the latch is lifted, or a knock made at the door, we hear a bustle. This proceeds from the horses, which are up to the very mangers at once as quick as “attention" ever produced a simultaneous movement in a company on parade; and farther, from the very bad imitation of a respectable servant in the fellow who is to play that part, having nothing to do but to keep watch, jumping from off the corn-bin or from the side of one of the horses' beds, where he was in a kind of lie or sit “ at ease” position, from which the “attention” aforesaid calls him as quickly as it does the horses. If this should happen to be a really
MINOR SCOUNDREL AND MAJOR SCOUNDREL. 331
knowing fellow, he either tells a long tale, and a plausible one; or as this is attended with some danger, from fear any discrepancy may arise between what he may think proper to say and what (when he comes) the Major or Colonel may say, he represents himself as only the helper; the coachman is out (of course); but the said helper is quite AT HOME, though “he does not know much about the horses as he has only lately come;" but the Major, or Gentleman, will be here in a few minutes, as he always comes at — o'clock. Of course he does come immediately, as he would at any other hour, being always in ambush in some publichouse that commands the Mews: if not, he has some one sent to let him know when any one goes to the stable. Now our friend Rascal does not take the principal character here, for they could not make the greenest of the green mistake him for a gentleman, or a Major (unless it might be a ci-devant Major of the Venezuela Brigade): no ; Rascal takes the lower characters in the by-play, and here enacts the part of Quickener again (in some character) if he is wanted: but the principal is some scamp, who was probably a croupier at some low gambling-house till he was kicked out of it, or low better on the turf till no one would bet with him, having varied his avocations by a little general swindling, occasional horse-dealing, playing bully to some fair demirep, and probably not refusing a watch if it chooses to jump into his hand. Still, as gentlemen throw themselves at times into strange situations in our little Metropolitan Village, he has seen enough of them to get a certain knowledge of dress and address, which lasts till something occurs to draw him out. Then the knowledge he has of words, and the multitudinous selection of epithets he pos