Chapter 23: A Strike for Liberty
One day my lady came down later than usual, and the silk rustled
more than ever.
"Drive to the Duchess of B----'s," she said, and then after a pause,
"Are you never going to get those horses' heads up, York?
Raise them at once and let us have no more of this humoring and nonsense."
York came to me first, while the groom stood at Ginger's head.
He drew my head back and fixed the rein so tight that it was
almost intolerable; then he went to Ginger, who was impatiently
jerking her head up and down against the bit, as was her way now.
She had a good idea of what was coming, and the moment York took the rein
off the terret in order to shorten it she took her opportunity
and reared up so suddenly that York had his nose roughly hit
and his hat knocked off; the groom was nearly thrown off his legs.
At once they both flew to her head; but she was a match for them,
and went on plunging, rearing, and kicking in a most desperate manner.
At last she kicked right over the carriage pole and fell down,
after giving me a severe blow on my near quarter. There is no knowing
what further mischief she might have done had not York promptly
sat himself down flat on her head to prevent her struggling,
at the same time calling out, "Unbuckle the black horse!
Run for the winch and unscrew the carriage pole! Cut the trace here,
somebody, if you can't unhitch it!" One of the footmen ran for the winch,
and another brought a knife from the house. The groom soon set me free
from Ginger and the carriage, and led me to my box. He just turned me in
as I was and ran back to York. I was much excited by what had happened,
and if I had ever been used to kick or rear I am sure I should have
done it then; but I never had, and there I stood, angry, sore in my leg,
my head still strained up to the terret on the saddle,
and no power to get it down. I was very miserable and felt much inclined
to kick the first person who came near me.
Before long, however, Ginger was led in by two grooms, a good deal
knocked about and bruised. York came with her and gave his orders,
and then came to look at me. In a moment he let down my head.