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397 doing this. The harness is now to be fastened, if it has not in the scuffle fallen off. The fellow who is to put on the crupper approaches the horse to do so as he would an enraged tiger; lifts up his tail at arm's length, then jumps out of the way, as much as to signify that he had a narrow escape with his life. The “ terribly violent brute” is, however, harnessed : the fellow leads him on, pretends he has trod on his heel; this is an excuse for an (apparently) necessary snatch at the horse's mouth again, which, with the harness hanging about, produces another bustle, and makes the bruised mouth still more tender. The horse is by these means worked up to a frenzy, and in this state is brought up to the double-break; but instead of this being done as it ought, he is let, indeed made, to run against the roller-bolt. This, likely enough, induces him to kick at it. The fellows now all shake their heads at him. “I'd jist as soon you driy him as me, Jem,” to the breaksman; who, to show what a fine fellow he is, replies, “if they gived him the Devil he'd drive him: he arn't sure he has'nt got him now.” The horse is now shoved against the pole: this induces him to fling himself on the outside trace. Here is another fright and bustle: the harness holds him it is true, and the only chance is his hurting himself. The pole-piece is put on so short that if the breakhorse attempts to take him off, the collar comes so suddenly on his withers, that he feels as if he was going to get his neck broke : he of course resists, hangs back, gets a smart stroke of the whip, plunges forward, and now the sore mouth tells; for the moment he feels the bit, he again hangs back, and, not improbably, throws himself down. Seeing the present state of the case, the owner most probably desires his horse may 398
THE WORM WILL TURN.
be taken out of harness, quite satisfied he is not likely to go: if so, Nickem's end is answered. If the owner wishes him still further tried, he is pulled, pushed, and whipped out of the yard somehow, should the owner go with them, by making the break-horse thwart every inclination of the other to do right; and the unfortunate pupil being punished under the pretence he is trying to do wrong, he is set down as incorrigible. If the owner does not go with his horse, he is driven and brought back, two fellows running by his side pretending to be out of breath from their exertions to keep the vicious brute from breaking everything to atoms. The horse, on being taken from the break, naturally rushes away from it frightened to death, and thus corroborates the statement of those who went with him, that “ of all the devils they ever saw he was the worst;” not forgetting to hint, that after their violent exertions a little refreshment in the shape of drink would be acceptable. Thus in this world are often the innocent sacrificed and the guilty rewarded; and thus I fear it often is where man and man are concerned when power and villany have only justice to oppose them.
Supposing Mr. Nickem has succeeded in purchasing this made-vicious horse, the owner is surprised to see him a few days afterwards going in harness as quietly as his natural good temper would have made him do at first, if he had been permitted to do so. He expresses his surprise, but is told “they never had so much trouble with any horse ; did not think they ever should have made him go," &c.: Nickem“ does not think any man but his breaksman could have done it:" so it ends in the gentleman losing heavily in the sale to Nickem ; Nick nicking it pretty largely in the
A MATCH FOR THE OLD GENTLEMAN.
sale to some other gentleman who wants a particular steady horse for harness; and Jem substantiating his own words that he would and could drive the devil.
It is not merely in such places as I have represented that it is sometimes convenient to make a horse appear likely to be troublesome to break, either to drive or ride: those gentlemen yclept horse-breakers are quite awake to the trick, whether employed at a repository or elsewhere. Horses are broken usually for a certain sum, sometimes by the lesson. Now, if it is seen that a horse is likely to be easily broken, the owner, after a couple of lessons, would think that a little practice and gentle usage would render him all he wanted: this would not do for the breaker's purpose; so, as in the other case, he must be made troublesome: and should a specified sum be agreed upon before he is tried, the more violent he is made appear at first, the greater merit in the breaker in making him steady : so he gains the same vaunted character as Jem for devil driving.
There is another little item or two on the profit side of the question to be remembered. If a horse loses flesh while breaking, it may be attributed to his own violence and temper; so it is not the usual custom of these gentry to pamper him with too great an allowance of oats of 40lb. the bushel, so they make the livery profit very like 10s. per week. Then it is quite right young ones should be used to crowds; so, after a horse is quite tractable, many a half-crown is made by mounting or driving (some one they can trust with the secret) to a fight or a fair. If the owner sees it, the breaker has had him there to make him quite steady before he leaves his hands !
Let me tell owners another thing. In some repo
NICKEM AWAKE STILL.
sitories (but certainly never in respectable ones) many a man is mounted for a ride, who, if seen, is riding the horse on trial, or trying to ride. I can mention an instance. One of these on-trial fellows had a horse out, and it was known he would not be back for some time: the owner unexpectedly and unfortunately (for the Nickem of the place) came in. A fool or an honest man, if he had been induced to do wrong, would be taken aback on such an occasion : not so Nickem: the gentleman was told at once “his horse was sold and gone,” and that the next day he might have his money. He came, but the money did not: “the horse had shied, thrown and nearly killed the gentleman; but supposing he did recover, Nickem would lose one of his best customers: the gentleman was a capital horseman, but no one could sit a horse that reared and fell backwards."
No man can deny the truth of the latter truism : it is a summary sort of ejectment of an unpleasant occupant of the back, which, if horses were oftener to adopt, would be much to their advantage, and not unfrequently give society a fair chance of reaping advantage also. Besides, it would save a vast deal of trouble in plunging, kicking, &c., which does not always succeed: the retrograde manoeuvre always does. People, like horses, often take a great deal of trouble to do that which might be done by some more simple process. I have seen a terrible scuffle made to get a troublesome fellow out of a house: this is bad taste and bad tact : how easy the thing is to be done! Put the poker into the fire (if it is not there already); wait till it is a fine glowing white heat; present it within a foot of the to-be-ejectee's nose, quietly and in a courteous manner follow him, keeping your poker
THE OLD GEORGE STEAMER. at the charge (no charge will be required); my life on it my gentleman makes off in any required direction.
This reminds me of an anecdote of a servant of mine: it may on a similar occasion be useful to ladies, so I will mention it. My wife had once been so long tormented by a milliner as to trimming a bonnet, that she determined to have it home finished or unfinished: she sent a note to this purpose by George (Old George as he was called), acquainted him with its purport, with directions not to return without the bonnet. On handing in the note, a written answer was handed to him: Old George knew a bonnet could not be contained in a small note, so demanded the former as an accompaniment. He was told to “ go about his business” — this, to do him justice, was a useless order, for he never neglected it. - He considered his business in this case was to get the bonnet, and have it he would if any human being could get it. This his mistress well knew, and this he took upon himself verbally to let Mademoiselle know. He then quietly sat down in the passage: he was of course ordered out: Old George only grinned a ghastly grin (I never knew him laugh). He was threatened with expulsion by some man to be called in: Old George only grinned more ghastly than before, for he was one who would have made inost men grin who had tried this with him. He was at last told to “sit there till he was tired :" he only grinned at this either. Now George (whenever he could indulge in it) was a smoker: not one of your small Thames smokers ; no, he was a regular Great Western, Great Liverpool, nay Great Britain herself, and always went provided for a.cloud. Presently Mademoiselle and half her coterie came running down. There was Old George quietly but ener