The Feeler

BAG FOX-HUNTS, be they ever so good, are but unsatisfactory things; drag runs are, beyond all measure, unsatisfactory. After the best-managed bag fox-hunt, there is always a sort of suppressed joy, a deadly liveliness in the field. Those in the secret are afraid of praising it too much, lest the secret should ooze out, and strangers suppose that all their great runs are with bag foxes, while the mere retaking of an animal that one has had in hand before is not calculated to arouse any very pleasurable emotions. Nobody ever goes frantic at seeing an old donkey of a deer handed back into his carriage after a canter.

Our friends on this occasion soon exhausted what they had to say on the subject.

‘That’s a nice horse of yours,’ observed Mr Waffles to Mr Sponge, as the latter, on the strength of the musty brush, now rode alongside the master of the hounds.

‘I think he is,’ replied Sponge, rubbing some of the now dried sweat from his shoulder and neck; ‘I think he is; I like him a good deal better today than I did the first time I rode him.’

‘What, he’s a new one, is he?’ asked Mr Waffles, taking a scented cigar from his mouth, and giving a steady sidelong stare at the horse.

‘Bought him in Leicestershire,’ replied Sponge. ‘He belonged to Lord Bullfrog, who didn’t think him exactly up to his weight.’

‘Up to his weight!’ exclaimed Mr Caingey Thornton, who had now ridden up on the other side of his great patron, ‘why, he must be another Daniel Lambert.’

‘Rather so,’ replied Mr Sponge; ‘rides nineteen stun.’

‘What a monster!’ exclaimed Thornton, who was of the pocket order.

‘I thought he didn’t go fast enough at his fences the first time I rode him,’ observed Mr Sponge, drawing the curb slightly so as to show the horse’s fine arched neck to advantage; ‘but he went quick enough today, in all conscience,’ added he.

‘He did that,’ observed Mr Thornton, now bent on a toadying match. ‘I never saw a finer lepper.’

‘He flew many feet beyond the brook,’ observed Mr Spareneck, who, thinking discretion was the better part of valour, had pulled up on seeing his comrade Thornton blobbing about in the middle of it, and therefore was qualified to speak to the fact.

So they went on talking about the horse, and his points, and his speed, and his action, very likely as much for want of something to say, or to keep off the subject of the run, as from any real admiration of the animal.

The true way to make a man take a fancy to a horse is to make believe that you don’t want to sell him -- at all events, that you are easy about selling. Mr Sponge had played this game so very often, that it came quite natural to him. He knew exactly how far to go, and having expressed his previous objection to the horse, he now most handsomely made the amende honorable by patting him on the neck, and declaring that he really thought he should keep him.

It is said that every man has his weak or ‘do-able’ point, if the sharp ones can but discover it. This observation does not refer, we believe, to men with an innocent penchant for play, or the turf, or for buying pictures, or for collecting china, or for driving coaches and four, all of which tastes proclaim themselves sooner or later, but means that the most knowing, the most cautious, and the most careful, are all to be come over, somehow or another.

There are few things more surprising in this remarkable world than the magnificent way people talk about money, or the meannesses they will resort to in order to get a little. We hear fellows flashing and talking

  By PanEris using Melati.

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