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362 THE SELLER NEARLY DONE.
• done; for he has got hold of Nickem, and Nickem of him. Now, Nickem is a bad bargain; and it does not seem likely he will make the best of him. Again, if the horse is sold from home, no one knows for what he was sold. This is really a consideration, and a great one; for though being conscious of our having done a foolish thing, is bad enough, it is still worse that our neighbours should be conscious of it also. So down he sits, takes his pen, d-s that (though on another occasion he would have merely changed it), and then tells Mr. Nickem “that though fifty pounds is a miserable price for such a horse, as he has been so unlucky to him, he had better take it at once to put an end to further trouble.” God help the man in his innocency! for there is a little further trouble in store for him yet. By-the-bye, who keeps the key of this store? I do not know; certainly no one with any parliamentary interest, for by Jove, serving out troubles to the world is no sinecure. It may now be reasonably supposed that Nickem, having got the horse to fifty, would be disposed, nay content, to have him: not he ; have him he will, but why give fifty even, if forty will do! “Ridiculous !” some people may say: “is it to be supposed a man is to be further gulled, and that, thinking fifty pounds a miserable price, he will take ten pounds less?” Yes, he will, and probably solicit Nickem to take him at that; and we shall soon see one of the ways by which he will be made to do so. Reader; did you ever hear of “manufacturing a corn?” Probably not; but I have, and I dare say should have had the thing tried with me, if I had not always perfectly well known whether any horse of
THE SELLER DONE BUT NOT BROWNED. 363
mine had corns or not, and never left it to any one to determine the fact for me. But, as Nickem now finds it judicious to manufacture one, the reader will learn all about it. Nickem has perfectly satisfied himself long since that the horse was sound, and had he been offered at any time fifteen or twenty pounds more than he was authorised to take for him, he would have done so and pocketed the balance:—(how this may be done without detection I shall by-and-by explain ; sufficient for the present transaction is the evil thereof:) —but not having been offered this, and resolving to have him, forty is the price determined on: so now we will manufacture the corn. The smith is sent for. Nickem does not compromise himself to him, as you will see. “Take off that shoe : I am afraid this horse has a corn.” Off comes the shoe, and the searcher is applied. “Take down both heels pretty well, so as not to disfigure the foot too much : there, now try this heel; I am sure it is very deep-seated. Go on : ah! I was sure of it. There, put on his shoe.” The smith perfectly well knows what all this is about; but he shoes for the place, and knows it is as much his business not to make remarks, as it is to make horseshoes and corns when either are wanted. The owner is now written to, to say his horse is sold at fifty, Nickem regretting he could not do better. The owner thanks God he is gone at all events, though the price was bad. Now this philosophy and thankfulness is very proper and grateful; but he is not gone; for the next day the seller receives—“Sir, I regret to say your horse has been returned to my stables, not having answered the warranty of soundness given
364 THE SELLER BROWNING.
when sold. I send you Mr. the veterinary surgeon's opinion. I am, Sir,” &c. “I certify I have this day examined a bay gelding, brought to me by Mr. Nickem's foreman, and find he has a corn on his off-forefoot, and is consequently unsound. “TIMOTHY TURNEMBACK, W.S." I fear the gentleman's feelings of thankfulness will be somewhat diminished by this, whatever his philo. sophy may be. He determines personally to see into the thing—that is, as far as he can, which will not be very far after all. We will leave the gentleman preparing for his journey, and consider a little the ins and outs of these corn cases, for they are of very frequent occurrence. Now a corn is really the neatest, the least cruel, the most certain, and least to be disputed mode of making an unsound horse I know of Veterinarians may give you a long account of the nature, cause, and effects of corns; but in examining a horse, there is no need for this; there it is, and that is enough. There is a red mark; a corn is a red mark: and whether that has been produced by pressure, bruise, or by having cut so near the sensible part of the foot as to show the same thing, it returns the horse, and that is all Nickem wanted. It may be asked whether a Wet may not be able to tell a manufactured corn from one produced by ordinary causes 2 This is not my business to answer or interfere with. I have only shown what I meant—that corns are made, and horses are returned in consequence of them. We will say the gentleman has arrived, and expressed his astonishment and chagrin very vehemently, and very naturally: Nickem has also expressed his chagrin very artificially: he has not expressed his astonishment,
THE SELLER BEING FROTHED UP. . 365
because this is the time to remind the gentleman of a little observation made by Nickem at the commencement of the business, and kept in reserve for use when wanted. Nickem now thinks it is wanted; so says, “I am not so much surprised as you are, Sir, at the horse having this corn; for if you remember, I told you when I saw him out, I thought he did not run level. When I had him shod, I did not like to cut his foot too much down to examine it; but when the veterinary surgeon did, he saw it directly. I am sorry to find I was right after all. I wish we had had him examined at first: it would have saved trouble and time.”
“Well,” exclaims the owner in despair, “what is to be done now 2 I suppose we must sell him without warranting him.”—“I will do that, if you please,” says Nickem; “but it will be a great loss and pity: had you not better take him home 2" – “Home !” cries the thoroughly tired-out customer: “no; I'll sell him at something; will you buy him, Mr. Nickem 7” — Nickem declares “he never buys a horse brought to him for sale: he always avoids that if possible.” – “Well,” cries the owner, “can you send for any one who will buy him at once 2" —“Why,” says Nickem, “there is a man likely enough to buy him, but I must tell you he is a confounded rogue. Would you like to speak to him 7” The owner would just now speak to the Old One, if he thought he would buy his horse. Nickem opens the ball with, “Mr. Meddler, I have sold a very fine horse for this gentleman, for fifty: he has been returned for a slight corn; will you buy him " Meddler shakes his head: “No, thank you, Mr. Nickem, I lost enough by the last horse you persuaded me to buy of a gentleman.” – “Well,” says Nickem, “but we must take off a five-pound note.”
366 THE SELLER FROTHED UP AND DONE BROWN.
“Yes,” says Meddler, “you must take off a good many if I buys him.”—“Nonsense !” exclaims the owner, now joining in : “come, what will you give for him 7”—“I'd rather not make an offer,” says Meddler. By dint of persuasion, however, Meddler at last says, “Well, I'll give five-and-twenty, and no more.” He then walks off.- “I told you, Sir,” says Nickem, “he was a rogue; but I got a gentleman out of his horse last week by selling him to the fellow: so I hoped I could you ; but I believe he did lose ten pounds; so he is worse than ever now.” “Come now,” says the gentleman, “you can get out of the horse better of course than I can: do buy him yourself. What can you afford to give me?” After many objections, a good deal of sympathising with the owner, &c., Nickem says, “Well, Sir, if you really so earnestly wish it, I am not like Mr. Meddler; I don't think so much of the corn as he did: indeed I should think very little of it if I had not seen the horse go a little tender when I first saw him out with you. I will take him off your hands at forty pounds; and if you can bring any friend who will give me the forty back, he shall be very welcome to him 1" I think my reader will allow I have been as good a prophet in this as WATES. I have seen so many tricks of this sort, which have always ended very like this, that depend on it my supposed case is very near the mark. Having described some of the transactions carried on in some repositories, and brought forward Mr. Nickem in the principal character of the piece, which may be either farce or light comedy to the actors and audience, but partakes a good deal of the tragic so far as the author of the representation is concerned;