Chapter 48: Farmer Thoroughgood and His Grandson Willie
"What is the lowest you will take for him?" said the farmer as I came back.
"Five pounds, sir; that was the lowest price my master set."
"'Tis a speculation," said the old gentleman, shaking his head,
but at the same time slowly drawing out his purse, "quite a speculation!
Have you any more business here?" he said, counting the sovereigns
into his hand.
"No, sir, I can take him for you to the inn, if you please."
"Do so, I am now going there."
They walked forward, and I was led behind. The boy could hardly control
his delight, and the old gentleman seemed to enjoy his pleasure.
I had a good feed at the inn, and was then gently ridden home
by a servant of my new master's, and turned into a large meadow
with a shed in one corner of it.
Mr. Thoroughgood, for that was the name of my benefactor,
gave orders that I should have hay and oats every night and morning,
and the run of the meadow during the day, and, "you, Willie," said he,
"must take the oversight of him; I give him in charge to you."
The boy was proud of his charge, and undertook it in all seriousness.
There was not a day when he did not pay me a visit; sometimes picking me out
from among the other horses, and giving me a bit of carrot,
or something good, or sometimes standing by me while I ate my oats.
He always came with kind words and caresses, and of course I grew very fond
of him. He called me Old Crony, as I used to come to him in the field
and follow him about. Sometimes he brought his grandfather,
who always looked closely at my legs.
"This is our point, Willie," he would say; "but he is improving so steadily
that I think we shall see a change for the better in the spring."