Chapter 22: Earlshall
"Well," said he, "you must keep an eye to the mare,
and put the check-rein easy; I dare say they will do very well
with a little humoring at first. I'll mention it to your lady."
In the afternoon we were harnessed and put in the carriage,
and as the stable clock struck three we were led round to the front
of the house. It was all very grand, and three or four times as large
as the old house at Birtwick, but not half so pleasant,
if a horse may have an opinion. Two footmen were standing ready,
dressed in drab livery, with scarlet breeches and white stockings.
Presently we heard the rustling sound of silk as my lady came down
the flight of stone steps. She stepped round to look at us; she was a tall,
proud-looking woman, and did not seem pleased about something,
but she said nothing, and got into the carriage. This was the first time
of wearing a check-rein, and I must say, though it certainly was a nuisance
not to be able to get my head down now and then, it did not pull my head
higher than I was accustomed to carry it. I felt anxious about Ginger,
but she seemed to be quiet and content.
The next day at three o'clock we were again at the door,
and the footmen as before; we heard the silk dress rustle
and the lady came down the steps, and in an imperious voice she said,
"York, you must put those horses' heads higher; they are not fit to be seen."
York got down, and said very respectfully, "I beg your pardon, my lady,
but these horses have not been reined up for three years,
and my lord said it would be safer to bring them to it by degrees;
but if your ladyship pleases I can take them up a little more."
"Do so," she said.