« السابقةمتابعة »
and that at eight o'clock Sir G— B, the physician to the family, would call in his carriage to take me to Dean's Yard. The tea, with bread-and-butter cut in fashionable slices, about enough for a sparrow's breakfast, shortly made its appearance ; and then remembering my basket of provisions, I selected some of the most tempting, and sat down with an empty stomach and half broken heart to my solitary meal. There is an old French saying that “l'appetit vient en mangeant," and the truth of it was exemplified upon this occasion, for no sooner had I got fairly into a cold snipe-pie, than 1 felt as hungry as a half-starved Esquimaux, and was devouring the contents very much after the fashion of a cannibal, when the door opened, and the worthy disciple of Galen made his appearance.
Sir G.'s costume was very unlike the dress of the medical man of our day, for instead of the Taglioni wrapper, the loose trousers, the Wellington boot, the black handkerchief, and the unpowdered caput, he appeared in a suit of sables, coat, waistcoat, and “ continuations" of black cloth, jet knee and shoe buckles, silk stockings, white neckcloth, and shirt frill, powdered head, and a pigtail : with an erect carriage, a dignified look, and a smile upon a somewhat sternlooking countenance, the worthy Asculapius approached me; and, after a kind greeting, proceeded to inquire after my health :
" A little heated after the journey, I presume ?” said he.
" Heated !” responded I, thinking the question applied ex and not internally, “ not the least, sir !”
He then proceeded to put a variety of questions, as to my usual state of health, and seemed not a little surprised when I replied that I had never had a day's illness, with the exception of an occasional cold, which Tom Prior had always cured by giving me “ a walk," after the Newmarket fashion, and a teaspoonful of sweet spirits of nitre in what that respected huntsman called a night-cap—a glass of white wine whey.
“ Rather fushed !" continued the M. D. ; but fearing a breakfast might be prescribed for me of rather a darker hue than that which generally I took, I quickly replied that I had been sitting over the fire, and had eaten rather fast.
“ Perhaps, then, you are as well without anything,” said the baronet. “We will now proceed to Dean's Yard." So ringing the bell, the carriage was ordered, and in a few minutes I was seated by the side of this most kind-hearted man, who was reading me a lecture against chills, draughts of air-net medicine, checked perspirations, sudden transitions of heat and cold, wet feet, and unwholesome food. It was a raw miserable night, a cold thaw; the streets were full of melted snow and slush: and as we drove under the melancholy-looking archway that leads to the spot where I was to take up my new abode, my heart died within
But I had but little time for melancholy reflections, for the carriage shortly pulled up at a large house in Great Dean's Yard ; and no sooner had a treble London knock announced us, than I heard the unfastening of a chain, and upon the door being partially opened, I observed by the dim light of a tallow candle the figures of a dozen or two of boys who had gathered round the Cerberus that guarded it. Upon our names being announced, the urchins whose curiosity had attracted them to the spot were driven back, and we descended from the carriage. As we crossed the entrance hall to a room on its right, the murmur of “A new fellow !” “What a guy of a governor!” Did
you twig his
tail ?" reached my ears. We were now shown into a well-furnished apartment, which, by the smallness of the fire, and the manner in which the looking-glass, chairs, and carpet were covered, showed us that this was more a hall of reception than a tenanted room. Dick--so the male “man of all work” was called shortly re-entered the room, introducing that worthy dame Mrs. Packharness, or Mother Pack, as she was always most irreverently called. This lady was tall and “well got up for company." But this is an obscure phrase; and as the senators say, we will explain. The expression is taken from one supposed to have been used by the wife of a celebrated millionaire, but which we have no doubt was a scandal fabricated against that most respectable lady, who, upon engaging a femme de chambre, is said to have said, “ I never take trouble myself. I look to you for getting me up. I merely say • dress me for ten, dress me for twenty, dress me for a royal duke, or dress me for MM,
,”” for by that initial the wife described her Crasus husband. But to proceed-Mrs. Packharness was got up for a scion of a noble house, and appeared in a splendid silk dress, an elaborate head-dress, with some rather fancifully twisted curls ; her manner, however, was extremely kind, and she welcomed me to her house with warmth and affection.
" I've a bed for you in No. 4,” she remarked, “where you'll find nine very nice young gentlemen, all about your size and age.
Then turning to Sir G - begged he would give any orders he might think necessary with regard to the honourable Master Hamilton's treatment. The housekeeper was then summoned, who was a gaunt and determined-looking female of eight or nine-and-thirty, and after a few observations, in which I overheard the words " senna draught, “ Epsom salts,” the physician approached me to take his leave, and shaking me cordially by the hand, said, “ I have ordered you a glass of port wine, to be taken daily after dinner.
feel yourself ill, Mrs. Packharness will kindly send for me." The carriage drove off ; I was left to myself. The big tears gushed from my eyes. “ It is no dream, and I am desolate," was the spirit of my thought at that moment, although not expressed in such words as I have quoted, and which have since been created by Byron, in one of his most touching and beautiful pictures.
(To be continued.)
If at any
THE POCKET AND
BY HARRY IIIEOVER.
Veterinary surgeons' bills are items no one can give an estimate of, depending, of course, on the good or bad luck people have with their horses. Not but that I am a little sceptical on the matter of luck ; at least, I can only say when things have occurred to me that many persons might attribute in their case to bad luck, I could always, or, at
least, mostly, in some particular or other trace them to some blundering act of stupidity or culpable inattention of my own.
However, as in other persons' cases we will call it bad luck, whenever it comes in the shape of a horse falling lame or amiss go yourself with him ; or, if in a lady's case, send some friend with him to the best class of veterinary surgeons : it will be the least expense in the end. If you allow your man to take him where he likes, he is sure to have some friend, a common farrier, who will be sure to make the horse worse ; probably in some way blemish him without there being any occasion for it, and do it clumsily if there is, besides keeping him twice as long under treatment as he would be kept at the college, or by such a man as Mr. Field, and end by sending in a bill three times as long for doing so.
I do not mean that a man who knows what he is about need send his horse on every trifling ailment to any veterinary surgeon, but it is the cheapest plan for the man who does not.
In making so wide a distinction as I do between persons who understand horses and those who do not, I feel myself called on to give some - little explanation of what I mean, otherwise I may unintentionally give offence where and when I by no means intend to do so ; for understanding a thing or its reverse are only relative terms as to how far the knowledge or the want of it is concerned. There are certainly some men who do not know a good-looking horse from a brute—thousands that are no judge of a good sort of one or a good goer.
An uncle of mine went a good deal further. He said, that provided two horses were both black or white-or, as he termed them, red—and about the same size, he could see no difference in them. My discernment as regarded his medals or black-letter volumes I dare say was about the same thing.
There are, perhaps, few men exactly like my revered uncle as regards horse affairs ; but there are thousands that perfectly know a handsome one when they see him, a goer when they see him move, and a pleasant one when they ride ; nay, further, can ride him very well, and yet want that particular sort of knowledge that alone can enable them to manage their steed well, and that without useless expenditure. These are very ticklish gentlemen to handle, here the most candid friend, or the veterinary surgeon, sometimes gets into a dilemma.
We will say a gentleman shows a horse to a friend, or a veterinary surgeon, that has something amiss that it is at once seen will take a considerable time under the immediate care of the vet., and then a winter's run to make all sure. Formerly a winter's run implied a strawyard and the occasional luxury of a meadow, wet as a bog in open weather, and hard and rough as a heap of stones in frost. This saved keep it is true ; but the expense of getting such a horse again into condition was more than that of—as we do now-hovelling him comfortably, and giving him hay and oats. So the expense in one way or the other for keep must be considerable before the horse is fit for use ; then comes the veterinary surgeon's bill.
The owner will probably ask if it is probable the horse will come up sound ? and gets the probably candid and just opinion that he will. He may be asked the probable expense ; this a first-rate man will generally pretty accurately tell you. The owner then, perhaps, calculates, or gets the information, that keeping in the rough on corn, and six weeks
in the stable physicking and getting into condition, will be—say £14 or £15 ; Vet.'s bill (medicine, keep, and firing), we will say £12. Here we get £27. Well the owner may say—and, I will answer for it, does say—it is a good deal of trouble and money ; but he is a very valuable horse, so it must be done. As probably neither the vet. nor friend may know the qualifications of the animal, they cannot contradict the assertion as to his value, nor is it their business to inquire into the matter ; but there is one thing by no means improbable in such a case, which is that they not only do not know his value or merits, but cannot for the life of them see either.
Now let us look into the fact of this horse really being, as represented “very valuable ;” my life on it the great reason the owner has for asserting that he is so is that he gave a great deal of money for him. Well he comes up, realising all that was promised, perfectly sound, but perhaps a good deal scarred, if the remedy was effectually applied. The owner not liking the look of this, or for some reason, wishes to sell him ; now “pussy jumps out of the bag”-£40 is all he can get for him, as a blemished horse. He will now be sure to find fault with the vet. or his friend, or both, for advising him to take all the trouble and expense, and then to find his horse only worth £40. Here is just shown the difference between his really being a valuable horse or merely one for which a considerable sum had been paid. The friend and the vet., of course, took the owner's word as to his value; and supposing what they were told could be borne out, their advice therefore was judicious, for £27 would be very little consideration in getting a really valuable horse upright ; and such horses as have gone under Sir Bellingham Graham, Lord Plymouth, or Forester, would not be brought down to quite £40, because their legs were a little disfigured. But such horses are really of known value ; the value of the one in question probably only consisted in the price paid for him. Supposing, on being accused of having given interested or injudicious advice, the vet. or the friend—beginning to suspect how the thing stood—should take the liberty of asking in what the value of the horse consisted, and found out the truth, it is by no means improbable they might say,—" Hearing you say he was a valuable horse, judging only by what we could see, we of course thought he was one of known character and qualifications ;' and then they come down with the stunner, “Why, my good sir, he was never worth more than about £50 before he was lame.
Here, it is true, in one particular the owner acted as I recommend ; he took the advice of even two experienced men. He did so ; but he must recollect that he acted on his own judgment first, by telling them he was shewing a valuable horse. They therefore recommended what was judicious to do with such a one, but not, perhaps, what was advisable to do with the one in question. Probably, had they been allowed to form their own estimate of his value, they might have thought, and perhaps have said, they did not think he was worth a heavy expense, and would have recommended a few days' rest, and putting him up for sale when they might estimate him about the £40. The owner would probably think them rogues, fools, or mad, to thus undervalue his hundred-guinea nag ; I would, however, back such men to be pretty near the mark, notwithstanding this.
It is a common idea that an owner is the best judge of the value of
his own horse. If the words “to him” were added, there would be much truth in it ; but without these two additional words, I beg leave to give it as an opinion that a very considerable number of owners know nothing at all about the value of their horse. Selling, or making the attempt to sell, will tell them the truth ; buying does not even afford a hint on the subject.
Now, let us take the thing in a diametrically opposite point of view, and we shall see where the owner is the best judge of his horse.
We will suppose a man has more hunters than he wants, and wishes to diminish the number ; of course his wish would be to sell those that he, for some reason or other, liked the least ; but rather than keep them all, he determines to sell any (say) three of them-a sensible resolve enough if a man is not one of great wealth, and happens to be one of those who are tolerable hands at making hunters. The man of wealth has no occasion to part with anything that he likes. The man who is
a horseman and judge of horses never should part with one that carries him to his satisfaction: the
who is always should, if he gets his price; for, only give him spring, speed, and stamina, he can make a hunter as a carpenter can make a table if he gets the proper wood. We suppose the person wanting to sell to be one of these, and a gentleman looking at his horses who is one of the sort who could eat his dinner very well on the table when made ; but if the table was wanting, so far as his own ability of making one goes ; would be reduced to taking his soup on his knees. He may be a very clever man, probably more so than the other, but not a carpenter (of hunters).
On looking at the supposed horses on sale our buyer sees a goodlooking brown horse, about his cut as to size and strength-asks his character. The owner, as a gentleman, gives a true one.
“ He is a very fair horse indeed, an excellent hunter in any country but one like mine, a remarkably fine fencer, and very handy, but not so fast as I could wish here ; his price-£150.”
Our buyer candidly says that, only hunting occasionally, he does not wish to give quite so much.
In the next stall he sees a particularly splendid grey, who looks a fortune : he looks at him, but modestly says
“I am afraid I need not ask any questions about him ; he is beyond my mark.”
“Yes you may,” replies the owner, good-naturedly smiling, “ so far as price goes ; I ask £100 for him. I tell you fairly he is one of the few horses I have had that I could not make a hunter of. He cannot live a distance with hounds if the pace is good ; and he is so nervous, that he becomes quite confused where the fences are big. He would be a delightful horse with harriers ; but as Elmore is coming to look at my horses, he will buy him for harness.” A stall or two off
, he sees a plain large bay horse, with rather a large, long head, a little low in the crest, with wide, bony, and somewhat ragged hips, a meanish tail, and, moreover, not seeming particularly amiable as to temper in the stable. Our buyer does not much relish the looks, but wishing to be well carried, and at a lowish figure, he says
*Would that horse carry me?”