Chapter 22: Earlshall
The next morning after breakfast Joe put Merrylegs into
the mistress' low chaise to take him to the vicarage; he came first
and said good-by to us, and Merrylegs neighed to us from the yard.
Then John put the saddle on Ginger and the leading rein on me,
and rode us across the country about fifteen miles to Earlshall Park,
where the Earl of W---- lived. There was a very fine house
and a great deal of stabling. We went into the yard through a stone gateway,
and John asked for Mr. York. It was some time before he came.
He was a fine-looking, middle-aged man, and his voice said at once
that he expected to be obeyed. He was very friendly and polite to John,
and after giving us a slight look he called a groom to take us to our boxes,
and invited John to take some refreshment.
We were taken to a light, airy stable, and placed in boxes
adjoining each other, where we were rubbed down and fed.
In about half an hour John and Mr. York, who was to be our new coachman,
came in to see us.
"Now, Mr. Manly," he said, after carefully looking at us both,
"I can see no fault in these horses; but we all know that horses
have their peculiarities as well as men, and that sometimes they need
different treatment. I should like to know if there is anything particular
in either of these that you would like to mention."
"Well," said John, "I don't believe there is a better pair of horses
in the country, and right grieved I am to part with them,
but they are not alike. The black one is the most perfect temper
I ever knew; I suppose he has never known a hard word or a blow
since he was foaled, and all his pleasure seems to be to do what you wish;
but the chestnut, I fancy, must have had bad treatment;
we heard as much from the dealer. She came to us snappish and suspicious,
but when she found what sort of place ours was, it all went off by degrees;
for three years I have never seen the smallest sign of temper,
and if she is well treated there is not a better, more willing animal
than she is. But she is naturally a more irritable constitution
than the black horse; flies tease her more; anything wrong in the harness
frets her more; and if she were ill-used or unfairly treated
she would not be unlikely to give tit for tat. You know that
many high-mettled horses will do so."