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character. Call in that gentleman the constable from the entry, and I will go a treat of half-a-pint of brandy. Mr. Officer,' sais Felix, here is some mistake, this gentleman has convinced me he was only follerin', as my clerk, a debtor of mine here, and when he transacts his bus'ness, will return, having left his hoss at the lines, where I can get him if I choose; and I must say I am glad on't, for the credit o' the nation abroad. Fill your glass; here's a five-dollar bill to your fees, and here's to your good health. If you want provision to ship off in the way of trade, I'm Felix Foyle, and shall be happy to accommodate you.'
"Now,' said Mr. Slick,' that is what I call a rael clever trick, a great card, warn't it? He desarves credit, does Felix; it ain't every one would a-been up to trap that way, is it?'
"Sam," said his father, rising with great dignity and formality of manner, was that man, Felix Foyle, ever a military man?' "No, sir; he never had a commission, even in the militia, as I knows on.'
"I thought not,' said the colonel. No man that had seen military life could ever tell a lie, much less take a false oath. That fellow, sir, is a villain, and I wish Washington and I had him to the halberts; by the 'tarnel we'd teach him to disgrace our great name before those benighted colonists.'
This affair terminated pleasantly for every one except the poor wretch who had to disgorge his ill-gained wealth; but when Judge Lynch presides over the court before which the horse thief is brought, the business is finished in such a rapid manner that there is little chance of the culprit escaping; and it happens occasionally that an innocent man suffers. As an instance of a tragic trial for horse stealing, Mr. Clarence King, of the United States Geological Survey, thus reports a horse-stealing trial in California :
"Early in the fifties, on a still, hot summer's afternoon, a certain man, in the camp of the northern mines which shall be nameless, having tracked his two donkeys and one horse a half mile, and discovering that a man's track with spur-marks followed them, came back to town and told the boys' who loitered about a popular saloon, that in his opinion some Mexican had stolen the animals.'
"Such news as this naturally demanded drinks all round. Do you know, gentlemen,' said one who assumed leadership, 'that just naturally to shoot these Greasers ain't the best way. Give 'em a fair jury trial, and rope 'em up with all the majesty of law. That's the cure.'
"Such words of moderation were well received, and they drank again to 'here's hoping we ketch that Greaser.'
"As they loafed back again to the verandah, a Mexican walked
*"Sam Slick-The Attachè." Vol. I.
over the hill brow, jingling his spurs pleasantly in accord with a whistled waltz. The advocate for law said in an undertone, "That's the cuss.'
"A rush, a struggle, and the Mexican, bound hand and foot, lay on his back in the bar-room. Happily such cries as 'String him up!' 'Burn the doggoned lubricator!' and other equally pleasant phrases, fell unheeded upon his Spanish ear.
"A jury, upon which they forced my friend, was quickly gathered in the street, and despite refusals to serve, the crowd hurried them in behind the bar. A brief statement of the case was made by the ci-devant advocate, and they shoved the jury into a commodious poker-room, where seats were grouped about neat green tables. The noise outside in the bar-room by-and-by died away into complete silence, but from afar down the cañon came confused sounds as of disorderly cheering.
"They came nearer, and again the light-hearted noise of human laughter mingled with clinking glasses. A low knock at the door of the jury-room; the lock burst in, and a dozen smiling fellows asked the verdict.
"A foreman promptly replied, Not guilty!'
"With volleyed oaths and ominous laying of hands on pistol hilts, the boys slammed the door, with 'You'll have to do better than that!'
"In half an hour the advocate opened the door again.
"Your opinion, gentlemen?'
"Correct! You can come out.' We hung him an hour ago. "The jury took theirs neat,' and when after a few minutes the pleasant village returned to its former tranquillity it was 'allowed' at more than one saloon, that Mexicans 'll know enough to let white men's stock alone after this.' One after another exchanged the belief that this sort of thing was more sensible than 'nipping 'em on sight.'
"When, before sunset, the bar-keeper concluded to sweep some dust out of his poker-room back door, he felt a momentary surprise at finding the missing horse dozing under the shadow of an oak, and the two lost donkeys serenely masticating playing-cards, of which many bushels lay in a dusty pile. He was reminded then that the animals had been there all day."
The records of Judge Lynch's court are but imperfectly kept, or doubtless many other equally tragic blunders could be related. In some cases the stolen horse was made executioner; the culprit's arms were bound behind his back, he was mounted on the horse, a rope depending from a tree being fastened round his neck. When the horse moved on the thief was left hanging.
The Indians of North America are great horse thieves, and some
* "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada," by Clarence King.
account of ther exploits, and manner of thieving has been given by an Englishman who travelled much on the prairie.
"On rising we heard that a small party of Ricaras had carried off twenty-six of our horses during the night, including two of mine, one of which broke away from them and returned; but one of them, a venerable grey, remained in the hands of the captors. Soon after our departure from Fort Leavenworth, our American lad, who was a merry wag, named the pack horses and mules after the public men of the day, according to his opinion of their respective merits and qualities. It was impossible to avoid a smile when I overheard some of his objurgations, as he was driving. them up in the rear :-'Come up, General!' 'Who, ho, Van Buren-your pack is all one side. Go it, Henry Clay-old Kentuck for ever!' &c. I believe it was General Jackson that remained a Ricara prisoner. How they ever succeeded in making him move I cannot imagine, as all our instruments of persuasion, from a spur to a cowhide, could only extract a very small jog-trot, and that for a short time. Nevertheless, he must have been forced off at some speed, as a few Pawnees pursued for many miles in the morning without success.
"The manner in which they (the Ricaras) steal horses is as follows:-Two or three men approach the encampment cautiously soon after nightfall, and take advantage of any creek, dell, or brushwood that may serve to conceal them from the observation of the out pickets; if they succeed in reaching the extremity of the village undiscovered they stand up and walk deliberately through it, wrapped in their buffalo robes. They can no longer be distinguished from the Pawnees by the faint light of the half extinguished fires; and as they pass the groups of horses collected before their respective owners' lodges, they cut with a sharp knife the laryettes that secure those they purpose to carry off. As soon as they have loosened the required number, each man jumps upon one, and they drive off the rest at full speed, shaking their blankets and urging the alarmed animals to their utmost exertions. Of course they obtain a considerable start of any pursuit, and, if the night is dark, run but little risk of being overtaken.
"The manner of securing horses on the prairie against these depredators is twofold; either to tie them by a laryette, passed round the neck; or to hobble' them, which is effected by tying the fore-legs close together, by leather thongs passed round them, below the knee-joint. This latter is the safer plan, because a thief can sometimes cut the laryette as he walks, without risk of observation; but if he stoops down to untie or cut a strong leather thong between the shins of a horse, he not only runs more risk of alarming the animal, but incurs suspicion from anyone who may happen to be lying awake in the neighbourhood. In cases where there is a probability of such an attempt, it is better both to tie and hobble them.
"The following day the chiefs assembled and sat in council many hours, discussing the expediency of reprisals. The subject afforded a wide field for discussion, as the United States, in the stipulation for paying the annuities for ceded lands, exacted from the Pawnees that they should not send out parties to steal horses, as had been their practice. In the meantime the more distant tribes came in to hunt in the buffalo prairies and steal the Pawnees' horses, while the latter are forbidden to make reprisals. These stipulations would be very hard if adhered to; but I have good reason to believe that during my residence with the Pawnees they sent out several horse-stealing parties, one of which was supposed to have met with considerable success among the Kanzas Indians, a tribe settled on the river of the same name. The Indian notions of reprisal are very cosmopolitan; if thirty horses are stolen from them and they cannot discover the thieves, they consider themselves perfectly justified in stealing thirty from the first party or tribe that may offer them the opportunity."*
At the present time in England the crime of horse stealing is comparatively rare, though occasionally a notice against a policestation wall, or a newspaper advertisement, tells us that it has not entirely died out. The best plan is for those who possess valuable horses to remember the old adage-" It is no use locking the stable door when the steed is stolen."
DEAR, on the eve of this our wedding-day
No help-mate for thee. Soon thou mightest say,
*Hon. C. A. Murray, "Travels in North America."
DRAWN BY MISS THERESA TOWNMOUSE, FOR THE BENEFIT OF HER
From Theresa Townmouse to Gwendoline Countrymouse.
Since you goodnaturedly declare that my letters do not bore you, and further express a wish to hear more about the good people of Snobton, I resume where I left off, namely, in describing to the best of my ability, the "sub-county set," an epithet which I applied to the clique that is not precisely of the town, and yet is very far from attaining to that of the "county proper." I confess that I have derived considerable amusement from a closer study of this particular set. The manners and customs which obtain there are not as the manners and customs of those whom you and I, dear Gwen, have been taught to consider as holding of right an acknowledged position in society.
The refinement which springs from good feeling, and the courtesy natural to those accustomed to good society-I use the word in its best sense-are conspicuous by their absence. As an instance of this singular lack of politeness in the "sub-country" set, I will relate an incident that occurred the other night at a dinner-party at which I was present--an incident slight enough in itself, but, as straws show which way the wind blows, that will serve to illustrate the truth of what I have asserted, that some of the members of the "sub-county" clique omitted to pay that oft-forgotten twopence which, in my nursery days, was considered the necessary fee for instruction in good manners.
The dinner-party in question was given in honour of Mrs. Doveling, a young bride of good family but of slender income, and a newcomer to the neighbourhood. Among the guests was Mrs. FitzHodge, for once without her daughters. That lady had, judging from the vinegarish expression of her unamiable visage, come resolved to snub pretty Mrs. Doveling-a soft-eyed, softvoiced, gentle-mannered little woman, essentially a lady. Never were two beings more utterly dissimilar than those two: a kite and a dove, a tigress and a month-old kitten were about as well