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A MASTER HAND WANTED.
make a horse go quiet, I will shortly show what I know is done to prevent his doing so. When this is the order of the day, as it requires a man that knows his business to make a restive bad-disposed horse go quiet, so I can assure my readers a good deal of knowledge of the thing is required to make a goodtempered one appear, the reverse; but it is to be done, even while the owner is looking on, and (unless indeed he knows as much as those employed about the horse) it will be done without his detecting the means used. It requires, however, quick fellows and workmen to do it, just upon the same principle, as that no half dozen men knowing little of music could, for the life of hem, make half such horrible discord as the same number of perfect musicians. Discord, God knows, the former would treat us to, but not such , discord as the latter could make if they chose to try. Why? because the same want of knowledge that would prevent the former making harmony, would prevent their making the most perfect discord.
We will try shortly if we cannot put our horse's temper out of tune.
I suppose that in my general intercourse with the world — by world I mean mankind — it has fallen to my lot to meet with about the usual varieties of tempers incidental to my fellow-men — that is, good tempers, bad tempers, infernal tempers, and intermediate tempers. There are some tempers so even and serene, that nothing short of ill-usage, injustice, or insult, can turn them from the even tenor of their way: others, that the slightest contradiction causes their owners to play porcupine at once, a habit that would be mighty pleasant in a wife, if the possibility existed of ladies showing temper. Then there are
TEMPERS POSITIVE, COMPARATIVE, AND SUPERLATIVE. 393
tempers that partake so much of that of the dark gentleman of horn and hoof notoriety, that, do what you will, they are not to be pleased or conciliated, who, as it is beautifully and figuratively expressed, “get out of bed the wrong end first.” (Quære, what end is alluded to ?) If we could suppose anything so improbable and monstrous as a lady thus emerging from her couch, I can imagine an end on which, if presented a very very leetle gentle tap or two might be allowable as the only kind of pardonable or to-be-dreamt-of corporal punishment to be tolerated — a mode of correction by far more manly (and agreeable,) both to the one who administers it and the one who receives it, than the brutal idea of “the stick the size of a thumb," allowed by a judge, who could never have tried my plan; for if he had, and did not prefer it, he must have been a very bad judge indeed, at least in such little or large matters (as the case might be).
Then there is the intermediate temper, which I consider belongs to such as are pleased enough when every thing is done to please them. From what I have seen of men, I consider the last as very tolerable and bearable tempers. We are bound in this world to do what we consider will be likely to be pleasant to each other in a reasonable way; and all I should ask of a companion would be to be good-humoured when I did so. I do not mean, if I cut off a man's ear, and he grumbled, and then if I took off a piece of his nose, and he grtumbled worse, that I should have any right to say, “ do what I would I could not please him;" but I do think I should not ask too much if I required goodhumour when I did what ought to please; yet I have often found my expectations in this disappointed. Now, I do what I can to please my readers. It may 394
be that they may say my endeavours in this are analogous to the taking off the nose, because taking off the ear did not please: if so, the best thing I could do would be to take myself off, for the fault would not be in the reader, but in my bad judgment as to what is likely to please.
Horses have their tempers as well as men: there are vicious, violent, and sulky tempers; but justice to animal creation induces me to say, that in all domestic animals, the bad tempers bear no proportion at all to the good; and further, I am quite certain, that, comparing horses with men, I estimate both fairly in saying that the proportion of bad tempers in men to those in horses, are ten to one in favour of the latter. In point of goodness of disposition between the two animals, the proportion, I am sorry to say, I consider much greater; for there is not one horse in a hundred that would attempt to hurt or annoy man, unless he first hurts him; and very seldom even then, unless fright makes him do so. Now experience convinces me there is not one man in a hundred that will hesitate in hurting or annoying the horse, if interest or even convenience induces him to do it. I fear a very little more interest or convenience would render him not very nice about hurting or annoying his fellow-man. But I allow I am not one of those who look on the august figure of man with all that veneration this said august personage generally considers himself entitled to: I am not exactly of the opinion of the poor Indian,
“Who thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company :”. but I do consider that no greater right was awarded to me to ill-use an animal than was given to the animal to ill-use me. But we are not now on the
subject of ill-using animals. I am only going, as I proposed, to show how, by a succession of annoyances and rascally maneuvres for mercenary motives, the temper of a fine and well-disposed animal may be roused to violence. Pray which is the greater brute in this case ? I am afraid the august personage is not the more respectable animal: he certainly is the greater rascal: but without any absolute ill-usage, we will, as I proposed, put the horse in harness and out of temper. Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed &c.
We will suppose a Mr. Nickem, for some reason, wishes it to appear that a horse is not likely to go quiet in harness : we will say he wishes to buy him, which he perhaps might not be able to do if the owner thought the horse likely to make one for harness : we will also suppose Nickem is quite satisfied that the horse, if properly treated, will go quiet; his worthy assistants know this too; and they also know, if they allow him to do this against the wishes of master, that master would very soon find other assistants that would not: so of course the thing is settled. As the owner would not permit his horse to be ill-used before his eyes, the effect wanted must be produced by means that will not be detected by him, or at least not by one owner in fifty: if he should happen to be the fiftieth, who does know all about it, he is no customer for Nickem; for should the former put on his wideawake hat, Nickem may put on his nightcap.
Having seen a horse put in harness that is wished to go properly and quietly, we will just see the difference of treatment with the one that is not to go so. The horse is first led from the stable to where the harness is hung in the yard. This a person might suppose is only done for convenience sake, or that it
was thought a more safe place than a stall from there being more room. A plain round (not open) collar is put on, taking care it is full small for his head, so that there may be plenty of shoving to get it over his eyes. Nine horses out of ten are alarmed at a halter being passed over their head for the first time, even if it is gently done: what must one be when his eyes are really hurt by a tight collar? The horse naturally runs back to avoid it, probably against some obstacle behind him, and thus he is twice frightened in the onset. The owner probably ventures to remark, “That collar seems rather small for my horse, does it not ?" —“Oh dear, no, Sir; if it was larger it might scald his shoulder: large collars always are sure to do it." This is true enough, but open ones can be buckled to any size (the owner perhaps never saw one): so, after the horse has been shoved about sufficiently, the collar is got on. Then, instead of putting on his winkerbridle to prevent his seeing the harness about to be put on him, his halter only remains: my life on it he shies at the harness. He is then well halloo'd at for this, and of course more frightened by that. He is now restless and on the qui vive, watching every movement. “ He'll be a rummish customer, I can see,” says one of the fellows: and now, to show they all think so, the bridle is put on, curbed tight, the harness brought, and, instead of being gently laid, is thrown suddenly on his back: this of course produces a plunge: the man at his head cannot suffer himself to be knocked down and run over— (Mem. all the better if he was)— so he gives the horse two or three severe chucks back with a tightly-curbed powerful bit : back goes the unfortunate horse, hits something again behind him, again rushes forward, when he gets again punished for