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202 A FAIR DAY's work.
buying of such a pair at 150l.” He well knows they cost the lady 200l. ; and thus he gives his friend coachee a lift: and from what he says, the lady is satisfied she did not pay too much for them. It ends in his buying them at 40l.; coachee pockets 10l., with 15l. in prospectu for buying the next pair; which, to show his zeal in his lady's cause, he fortunately finds the next day. With them the same game will be played hereafter, only taking care there shall be a variation in the moves. These sort of transactions of course could not be carried on where the coachman has a master who knows anything about horses; nor would any respectable dealer join in them. But in almost every case, the servant by hook or by crook will be paid; nor will paying these gentry be always sufficient. Let a nobleman's coachman go into a dealer's yard, he must be shaken by the hand; and if any conversation is requisite, it must be over a bottle of wine: he will expect to be treated something on the footing of a friend by the first-rate dealers. Now, could a gentleman submit to this? No: he certainly could not: he must, however, if he turns horse-dealer, or lose a customer. This is only one among the many humiliations that a tradesman must submit to, and which no gentleman could brook. I may be asked, how or why the customer would be lost? The reply is, because the coachman would be offended. This leads to the very natural quaere of whether I suppose a nobleman is to be dictated to by his coachman as to who the dealer may be he may choose to patronise ? Certainly not dictated to by words; but the manoeuvres of the coachman will in nine cases out of ten bring the
UNITY IS STRENGTH. 203
thing to bear. A master, if he is a man in high life, cannot be constantly overlooking his stables or servants; and if he finds every horse he buys of a particular dealer turns out badly (though he may suspect there is some roguery in the case), he has no resource but to go to another, which most men in high life would do rather than take the trouble of investigation. It is this desire to avoid trouble that chiefly leaves people of fashion so completely at the mercy of their servants as they are; and, let them flatter themselves as they will, they are much more under their dominion than they suppose. This is one great reason why the man of 60,000l. a-year pays one price for every article that goes into the house or stable, and the man of 1000l. a-year another. Tradesmen who charge exorbitantly can pay servants exorbitantly; and they in most cases contrive that a man of fortune shall deal with none other. There is one invisible machinery in all very large establishments worked by the servants for their own peculiar benefit; in the working of which, from the highest to the lowest, they will join; and till this is put a stop to, people in high life must be content to be pillaged. To stop this would require a good deal of trouble and resolution. One instance where it was done in the establishment of a nobleman of very high rank came under my immediate observation, and this probably never would have been done but from the following circumstance, for the perfect truth of which I can vouch. Lord A. had been in the habit of permitting his bodycoachman to purchase all the forage required for the stables in London of whom he pleased. A relative of a particular friend of his Lordship purchased an estate
204 A DEEP ROGUE.
a few miles from town, to which was attached a hay. farm. My Lord was requested to allow this gentleman to supply what hay was wanted for his stables, which request was immediately granted. The coachman offered no opposition ostensibly to this arrangement, and the hay that was sent in was as good as hay could be: but somehow the horses did not eat it, and consequently lost condition. This became apparent to Lord A., and the coachman was ordered up to account for it. He at once allowed the horses did not look as they did, and accounted for it by roundly asserting that they would not touch the hay lately sent in : they had always done well on the hay they had before; but this hay eat they would not. Notwithstanding this very satisfactory explanation, some suspicion arose in his Lordship's mind that there was something not quite right at the bottom of this. The coachman was told he might go, and some alteration should be made. Now Coachee thought any alteration would be better than that hay should be sent without his being well paid for it. He confidently felt he had played his part in the farce so well that the dénouement must be the discomfiture of his enemy, and his own triumph. A flourish of trumpets —ewit coachman. Unfortunately for him, however, the next scene was of a very different cast. The gentleman, who was the promoter of the hay, being sent, called, when a little consultation took place on the subject. The gentleman went immediately to the stables, and there, sure enough, saw the racks full of hay, but not a single horse eating. The coachman pulled out a piece, and certainly the odour was anything but such as to tempt a horse accustomed to good hay. So far all was well, and the coachman
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concluded the business settled; but the gentleman took the liberty of ascending to the loft, and there found the unprepared hay as fragrant as hay could be. The thing was now plain enough, and he took a lock of the prepared and unprepared hay to Lord A. The coachman was ordered up, whose manner on his re-appearance was of course ludicrous enough when compared with his late triumphal erit. However, his Lordship neither condescended to notice this, nor make any angry remonstrance, but merely addressed him as follows: “Moreton, I am going to tell you a story. It is very generally known, but probably not to you.” He then related the well-known anecdote of the King of Prussia, who, being constantly annoyed by his men letting their caps fall off at reviews, gave it in general orders that he would flog the first man who did this. It appeared arbitrary enough, but the caps did not again fall off. Having related this, he asked the coachman if he did not think this was very hard on the men 2 The coachman “did consider it very hard indeed.”—“Very well,” said his Lordship: “now I am going to be more hard on you still: you say you have got bad hay. I know that no horses can look well on bad hay. But notwithstanding all this, if my horses do not eat this hay, and recover their condition in one fortnight from this day, at the end of that fortnight by G– I will turn you away. Now you may go.” He did not want a second intimation; but finding his case hopeless, the horses did miraculously recover their condition, and he kept his situation. Lord A. made no further remarks on this affair, but it completely opened his eyes, and was the means of his making a minute investigation, and a thorough and lasting reformation in the whole establishment.
200 WIIERE TO BE PILLAGED THE LEAST.
Returning to horses, it will be asked in what way can a man of fortune supply himself with horses with any chance of justice and comfort to himself, supposing him not to be a good judge of them I know, generally speaking, but of three ways in which he can do so, and I believe he will find in the long run the first I shall mention will turn out the cheapest and best. Let him go to some of the first-rate dealers, tell them the description of horse he wants, the purpose for which he is required, and his particular taste in and ideas of a horse for that purpose; let him trust to them as to soundness, qualification, and price. It is their interest and wish to give him satisfaction if they can. If the horse pleases his eye, let him buy him; they will pay his servant liberally, but no more than is proper. He in return will do them, the buyer and the horse, justice. The buyer will pay a strong price I grant, but he will get what he wants without risk or trouble. To a man of fortune this is no small consideration, and is worth his paying for to a reasonable amount. This is the first and I believe the best mode by which he can attain his wishes as to horses.
His next plan is to get some friend who is known to be really a good judge of horses to purchase one for him. This friend will probably not mind a little trouble, and will find what is wanted at a less price, and as well adapted to the purpose as the horse purchased on the first plan. But here again the servant of the person for whom the horse is being bought will interfere, and unless he gets as much as he thinks himself entitled to, all judgment and trouble will have been thrown away. If the horse or horses have been bought of a private gentleman at a very rea