Chapter 4: Birtwick Park
I put my head up to the iron rails at the top of my box, and said,
"How do you do? What is your name?"
He turned round as far as his halter would allow, held up his head, and said,
"My name is Merrylegs. I am very handsome; I carry the young ladies
on my back, and sometimes I take our mistress out in the low chair.
They think a great deal of me, and so does James. Are you going to live
next door to me in the box?"
I said, "Yes."
"Well, then," he said, "I hope you are good-tempered;
I do not like any one next door who bites."
Just then a horse's head looked over from the stall beyond;
the ears were laid back, and the eye looked rather ill-tempered.
This was a tall chestnut mare, with a long handsome neck.
She looked across to me and said:
"So it is you who have turned me out of my box; it is a very strange thing
for a colt like you to come and turn a lady out of her own home."
"I beg your pardon," I said, "I have turned no one out;
the man who brought me put me here, and I had nothing to do with it;
and as to my being a colt, I am turned four years old and am
a grown-up horse. I never had words yet with horse or mare,
and it is my wish to live at peace."
"Well," she said, "we shall see. Of course, I do not want to have words
with a young thing like you." I said no more.
In the afternoon, when she went out, Merrylegs told me all about it.