Chapter 13: The Devil's Trade Mark
One day when John and I had been out on some business of our master's,
and were returning gently on a long, straight road, at some distance we saw
a boy trying to leap a pony over a gate; the pony would not take the leap,
and the boy cut him with the whip, but he only turned off on one side.
He whipped him again, but the pony turned off on the other side.
Then the boy got off and gave him a hard thrashing, and knocked him
about the head; then he got up again and tried to make him leap the gate,
kicking him all the time shamefully, but still the pony refused.
When we were nearly at the spot the pony put down his head and threw up
his heels, and sent the boy neatly over into a broad quickset hedge,
and with the rein dangling from his head he set off home at a full gallop.
John laughed out quite loud. "Served him right," he said.
"Oh, oh, oh!" cried the boy as he struggled about among the thorns;
"I say, come and help me out."
"Thank ye," said John, "I think you are quite in the right place,
and maybe a little scratching will teach you not to leap a pony over a gate
that is too high for him," and so with that John rode off. "It may be,"
said he to himself, "that young fellow is a liar as well as a cruel one;
we'll just go home by Farmer Bushby's, Beauty, and then
if anybody wants to know you and I can tell 'em, ye see."
So we turned off to the right, and soon came up to the stack-yard,
and within sight of the house. The farmer was hurrying out into the road,
and his wife was standing at the gate, looking very frightened.
"Have you seen my boy?" said Mr. Bushby as we came up;
"he went out an hour ago on my black pony, and the creature is just come back
without a rider."
"I should think, sir," said John, "he had better be without a rider,
unless he can be ridden properly."
"What do you mean?" said the farmer.