large plate-glass windowed shops, radiant with gas, exhibiting rich, many-coloured velvets, silver gauzes, ribbons without end, fancy flowers, elegant shawls labelled ‘Very chaste,’ ‘Patronised by Royalty,’ ‘Quite the go!’ and white kid-gloves in such profusion that there seemed to be a pair for every person in the place.

Mr Leather established himself at the ‘Eclipse Livery and Bait Stables,’ in Pegasus Street, or Peg Street, as it is generally called, where he enacted the character of stud-groom to perfection, doing nothing himself, but seeing that others did his work, and strutting consequentially with the corn-sieves at feeding time.

After Leather’s long London experience, it is natural to suppose that he would not be long in falling in with some old acquaintance at a place like the ‘Wells,’ and the first night fortunately brought him in contact with a couple of grooms who had had the honour of his acquaintance when in all the radiance of his glass-blown wigged prosperity as body-coachman to the Duke of Dazzleton and who knew nothing of the treadmill, or his subsequent career. This introduction served with his own easy assurance, and the deference country servants always pay to London ones, at once to give him standing, and it is creditable to the etiquette of servitude to say, that on joining the ‘Mutton-chop and Mealy-potato Club,’ at the Cat and Bagpipes, on the second night after his arrival, the whole club rose to receive him on entering, and placed him in the post of honour, on the right of the president.

He was very soon quite at home with the whole of them, and ready to tell anything he knew of the great families in which he had lived. Of course, he abused the duke’s place, and said he had been obliged to give him ‘hup’ at last, ‘bein’ quite an unpossible man to live with; indeed, his only wonder was, that he had been able to put hup with him so long.’ The duchess was a ‘good cretur,’ he said, and, indeed, it was mainly on her account that he stayed, but as to the duke, he was -- everything that was bad, in short.

Mr Sponge, on the other hand, had no reason to complain of the colours in which his stud-groom painted him. Instead of being the shirtless strapper of a couple of vicious hack hunters, Leather made himself out to be the general superintendent of the opulent owner of a large stud. The exact number varied with the number of glasses of grog Leather had taken, but he never had less than a dozen, and sometimes as many as twenty hunters under his care. These, he said, were planted all over the kingdom; some at Melton, to ‘’unt with the Quorn;’ some at Northampton, to ‘’unt with the Pytchley; ‘some at Lincoln, to ‘’unt with Lord ’Enry;’ and some at Louth, to ‘’unt with’ -- he didn’t know who. What a fine flattering, well- spoken world this is, when the speaker can raise his own consequence by our elevation! One would think that ‘envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness,’ had gone to California. A weak-minded man might have his head turned by hearing the description given of him by his friends. But hear the same party on the running-down tack! -- when either his own importance is not involved, or dire offence makes it worth his while ‘to cut off his nose to spite his face.’ No one would recognise the portrait then drawn as one of the same individual.

Mr Leather, as we said before, was in the laudatory strain, but, like many indiscreet people, he overdid it. Not content with magnifying the stud to the liberal extent already described, he must needs puff his master’s riding, and indulge in insinuations about ‘showing them all the way,’ and so on. Now nothing ‘aggrawates’ other grooms so much as this sort of threat, and few things travel quicker than these sort of vapourings to their masters’ ears. Indeed, we can only excuse the lengths to which Leather went, on the ground of his previous coaching career not having afforded him a due insight into the delicacies of the hunting stable; it being remembered that he was only now acting as stud-groom for the first time. However, be that as it may, he brewed up a pretty storm, and the longer it raged the stronger it became.

‘’Ord dash it!’ exclaimed young Spareneck, the steeplechase rider, bursting into Scorer’s billiard-room in the midst of a full gathering, who were looking on at a grand game of pool, ‘’Ord dash it! there’s a fellow coming who swears by Jove that he’ll take the shine out of us all, ‘‘cut us all down!’’ ’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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