Chapter 24: The Lady Anne, or a Runaway Horse
Early in the spring, Lord W---- and part of his family went up to London,
and took York with them. I and Ginger and some other horses
were left at home for use, and the head groom was left in charge.
The Lady Harriet, who remained at the hall, was a great invalid,
and never went out in the carriage, and the Lady Anne preferred
riding on horseback with her brother or cousins. She was
a perfect horsewoman, and as gay and gentle as she was beautiful.
She chose me for her horse, and named me "Black Auster".
I enjoyed these rides very much in the clear cold air, sometimes with Ginger,
sometimes with Lizzie. This Lizzie was a bright bay mare,
almost thoroughbred, and a great favorite with the gentlemen,
on account of her fine action and lively spirit; but Ginger,
who knew more of her than I did, told me she was rather nervous.
There was a gentleman of the name of Blantyre staying at the hall;
he always rode Lizzie, and praised her so much that one day Lady Anne ordered
the side-saddle to be put on her, and the other saddle on me.
When we came to the door the gentleman seemed very uneasy.
"How is this?" he said. "Are you tired of your good Black Auster?"
"Oh, no, not at all," she replied, "but I am amiable enough
to let you ride him for once, and I will try your charming Lizzie.
You must confess that in size and appearance she is far more like
a lady's horse than my own favorite."
"Do let me advise you not to mount her," he said;
"she is a charming creature, but she is too nervous for a lady.
I assure you, she is not perfectly safe; let me beg you
to have the saddles changed."
"My dear cousin," said Lady Anne, laughing, "pray do not trouble
your good careful head about me. I have been a horsewoman
ever since I was a baby, and I have followed the hounds a great many times,
though I know you do not approve of ladies hunting;
but still that is the fact, and I intend to try this Lizzie
that you gentlemen are all so fond of; so please help me to mount,
like a good friend as you are."