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A GOOD POSITION IS HALF TIII. BATTLE. 417
Under any circumstances that may induce a person to send a horse to a repository, let me advise him first to consider whether he is a competent judge of his value (for what he may have given has nothing to do with it): if he is not a judge of the value of horses,” in the name of common sense let him consult some one who really is; for as at least three-fourths of buyers pay more for a horse than he is worth (in the market), so three-fourths expect a salesman to get them a price the horse will not bring when thus offered for sale. This ends in disappointment both to the agent and the owner. If you go to a respectable man, tell him candidly all you know about your horse, his failings as well as his merits; if he really knows you to be a man of good temper and good sense, he will (if asked) not object to give an opinion of the price you may expect, or something very near it: and under such circumstances he should be allowed a discretionary power to either take what he considers the first fair offer, or to hold the horse over if he feels confident of getting a better. Of course this discretionary power and this attention to his advice and judgment, must only be awarded to a man known to be one of integrity.
If you send a horse to a man to whose general conduct you are a stranger, the mode of doing it should be this: first get the horse examined by a known veterinary surgeon : it is 10s. 6d. generally well laid out, for you may fancy you know whether he is sound or not: if you do, there is not one owner in ten who does. You may know he is not dead-lame, blind, or broken-winded; but there are many things very short of any of these that will make a PROFESSIONAL very properly reject a horse as an unsound one. It therefore
VOL. I. E E
418 HALF A LOAF BETTER THAN NO BREAD.
saves time and expense learning this beforehand. Send your horse with a written description of his qualifications and his price; say he will be left with Mr. so many days for sale; and if not sold by that day, he will be fetched away. Desire no offers may be communicated to you, as you have made up your mind, and sent his lowest price; and state he has passed a veterinary surgeon as sound. All this will show an honest man what to do; and it will show a rogue you are not one to be played with. I might be asked whether a Nickem would not, even in this case, begin some of his tricks He might, but I should say he would not: for there are so many with whom he can do so with impunity, that he would not run the risk with one where it seemed likely he could not: and if he has reason to think you are not one he can bamboozle out of 20l., he will rather get his commission by selling your horse, than only get the bare livery; so he will sell him, or at least try to do so. I have endeavoured to give my reader sufficient hints of the proper and improper practices of dealers and repository keepers to enable him to judge a little of what is intended by either. I have stated many things that may be done by any one in the horse trade, also many things that sometimes are done; but let me entreat him not to imagine they are always done. A man conversant with the thing might write a treatise on the mode by which property is abstracted from our persons by pickpockets: this does not make pickpockets more numerous, nor needweclapour hands on our pockets whenever we meet a person in the street. Pockets are occasionally picked, and by pickpockets; men are occasionally robbed, and by horse.
dealers of different sorts: but the difference of the case is very wide indeed. The pickpocket knows how to pick your pocket, and will always do it, if he can: the dealer may know how to do it also in his way; so does every tradesman, but they do not always do it; and I am happy to say there are many who never do. I grant the horse trade affords great facilities for imposition and rascality—perhaps no trade more so: the greater the merit then of those men who tread a path so beset with temptations with credit to themselves and integrity to their customers, who would scorn the practices of a Nickem as much as they would and do the perpetrators of them. Such men— and I could point out many—are as worthy objects of the esteem of the public, as they are for the imitation of their less conscientious brethren in the same avocation. This I give as a Hint to (in concluding the foregoing Hints on) Horse-dealers.
GENTLEMEN, GENTLEMEN.JOCKS, AND GENTLEMEN'S GENTLEMEN.
IN venturing my crude thoughts on Gentlemen, I am quite aware that to the liberality of mind that forms so prominent a feature in the attributes of the Gentleman I alone can trust as a shield against those animadversions my incompetency to the task may subject me. On this liberality I throw myself in carrying out my very delicate task, trusting that, from the general tenor of my writing on less difficult subjects,
where in the present case I may be in error, it will be
420 FIAT JUSTITIA.
attributed to error of judgment only, but in no case to a wish to offend any class of society collectively. Some gentlemen-jocks may feel offended at what I may say of them: let me remind them that I speak collectively; nay, could bring individually some instances in refutation of my general classing of them. This, however, does not in any way invalidate the correctness of my definition en masse. From the gentlemen's gentlemen I expect no suf. frage: I neither expect nor ask it at their hands. If I asked anything from them, it would be merely that they should feel satisfied that to the best of my ability and judgment I would do them justice; but this I do not anticipate: for though in the play of John Bull we are told that “justice is justice,” it is only enlightened minds that will allow it is so when levelled at self. One of the terms used in the heading of this article bears at once the stamp of sporting origin—namely, gentlemen-jocks: that of gentlemen comes before us in a more questionable shape: whereas the gentleman's gentleman is (or rather ought to be) a kind of monstrosity that requires explanation. But in allusion to gentlemen as a topic for a sporting work, when we reflect that among the thousands that read such works the majority is composed of gentlemen, and that they are the chief supporters of sporting in its various branches, it must be admitted that whatever bears relation to them is quite in place here: so, to carry on the chain of connection, those who make sporting their chief pursuit must keep animals to enable them to enjoy it: and as they must also keep persons to take care of these animals, those persons become objects of consideration also: but, as in duty
BOTTLED PATIENTS. 421
and inclination bound, let us begin with the gentleman, leaving, as they do in hospitals, the less influential patients to wait to be operated upon—as a friend of mine used to say, “they will keep.” He was a surgeon, and a very skilful one, an excellent fellow, and moreover a true lover of fox-hunting; but the consequence of the latter propensity was, that he was at times, when wanted in his business, what he was always when going across country—very difficult to catch. I do not mean that he neglected his patients: his heart lay in too good a place for that; but he sometimes, as he called it, “bottled them,” if hounds came within his reach, that is, such patients as he used to say “would keep.” Now I trust the gentlemen-jocks will keep—the gentlemen's gentlemen shall keep, “by G–,” as Sterne would say: so we will bottle them up for a time, though they may become a little corked by our so doing. In comparing any two or more objects, I conceive the first thing to be done is to define precisely what constitutes each in its separate and relative position; and then I conclude, though I never learned systematically either writing or arithmetic in my life, that by a little addition, subtraction, and division we shall come at the dividend of each. To this end let us first consider what is a gentleman? Many may say that every one knows what, or rather who is and who is not a gentleman. I fancy I do ; but I am quite prepared to expect that many who may read my ideas on the subject will say I do not. Probably they may be right; but as my fancying I do know what constitutes a gentleman is very far from proof of the fact, so their opinion to the con
trary is no certain demonstration that I do not. If