Chapter 44: Old Captain and His Successor
"There is not a bit of vice in him," said the man; "his mouth is very tender,
and I think myself that was the cause of the accident;
you see he had just been clipped, and the weather was bad,
and he had not had exercise enough, and when he did go out
he was as full of spring as a balloon. Our governor (the coachman, I mean)
had him harnessed in as tight and strong as he could, with the martingale,
and the check-rein, a very sharp curb, and the reins put in
at the bottom bar. It is my belief that it made the horse mad,
being tender in the mouth and so full of spirit."
"Likely enough; I'll come and see him," said Jerry.
The next day Hotspur, that was his name, came home;
he was a fine brown horse, without a white hair in him, as tall as Captain,
with a very handsome head, and only five years old. I gave him
a friendly greeting by way of good fellowship, but did not ask him
any questions. The first night he was very restless. Instead of lying down,
he kept jerking his halter rope up and down through the ring,
and knocking the block about against the manger till I could not sleep.
However, the next day, after five or six hours in the cab,
he came in quiet and sensible. Jerry patted and talked to him a good deal,
and very soon they understood each other, and Jerry said that
with an easy bit and plenty of work he would be as gentle as a lamb;
and that it was an ill wind that blew nobody good, for if his lordship
had lost a hundred-guinea favorite, the cabman had gained a good horse
with all his strength in him.
Hotspur thought it a great come-down to be a cab-horse,
and was disgusted at standing in the rank, but he confessed to me
at the end of the week that an easy mouth and a free head made up
for a great deal, and after all, the work was not so degrading
as having one's head and tail fastened to each other at the saddle.
In fact, he settled in well, and Jerry liked him very much.