Chapter 49: My Last Home
One day during this summer the groom cleaned and dressed me
with such extraordinary care that I thought some new change must be at hand;
he trimmed my fetlocks and legs, passed the tarbrush over my hoofs,
and even parted my forelock. I think the harness had an extra polish.
Willie seemed half-anxious, half-merry, as he got into the chaise
with his grandfather.
"If the ladies take to him," said the old gentleman, "they'll be suited
and he'll be suited. We can but try."
At the distance of a mile or two from the village we came to a pretty,
low house, with a lawn and shrubbery at the front and a drive up to the door.
Willie rang the bell, and asked if Miss Blomefield or Miss Ellen was at home.
Yes, they were. So, while Willie stayed with me, Mr. Thoroughgood went
into the house. In about ten minutes he returned, followed by three ladies;
one tall, pale lady, wrapped in a white shawl, leaned on a younger lady,
with dark eyes and a merry face; the other, a very stately-looking person,
was Miss Blomefield. They all came and looked at me and asked questions.
The younger lady -- that was Miss Ellen -- took to me very much;
she said she was sure she should like me, I had such a good face.
The tall, pale lady said that she should always be nervous
in riding behind a horse that had once been down, as I might come down again,
and if I did she should never get over the fright.
"You see, ladies," said Mr. Thoroughgood, "many first-rate horses
have had their knees broken through the carelessness of their drivers
without any fault of their own, and from what I see of this horse
I should say that is his case; but of course I do not wish to influence you.
If you incline you can have him on trial, and then your coachman will see
what he thinks of him."
"You have always been such a good adviser to us about our horses,"
said the stately lady, "that your recommendation would go a long way with me,
and if my sister Lavinia sees no objection we will accept your offer
of a trial, with thanks."