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which, after a short trial, all at once betook himself to a trick of lying down whenever the general prepared to get upon his back. Every expedient was tried, without success, to cure him of the trick, and the laugh was so much against the general's corpulency that he found it convenient to dispose of his horse to a young officer quitting the settlement for a distant station up the country. Upwards of two years had subsequently elapsed when, in execution of his official duties, General Pater left Madras to inspect one of the frontier cantonments. He travelled, as is the custom in India, in his palankeen. The morning after his arrival at the station the troops were drawn out, and, as he had brought no horses it was proper to provide for his being suitably mounted, though it was not very easy to find a charger equal to his weight. At length an officer resigned to him a powerful horse for the occasion, which was brought out, duly caparisoned, in front of the line. The general came forth from his tent, and proceeded to mount; but the instant the horse saw him advance he flung himself flat upon the sand, and neither blows nor entreaties could induce him to rise. It was the general's old charger, who from the moment of quitting his service had never once practised the artifice until this second meeting. The general, who was an exceedingly good-humoured man, joined heartily in the universal shout that ran through the whole line on witnessing this ludicrous affair."*

The tricks of horses to procure little luxuries and indulgences are very clever.

"An orchard had been repeatedly stripped of its best and ripest fruit, and the marauders had laid their plans so cunningly that the strictest vigilance could not detect them. At last the depredators were discovered to be a mare and her colt which were turned out to graze among the trees. The mare was seen to go up to one of the apple-trees, and to throw herself against the trunk so violently that a shower of ripe apples came tumbling down. She and her offspring then ate the fallen apples, and the same process was repeated at another tree. Another mare had discovered the secret of the water-butt, and, whenever she was thirsty, was accustomed to go to the butt, turn the tap with her teeth, drink until her thirst was satisfied, and then to close the tap again. I have heard of two animals which performed this feat; but one of them was not clever enough to turn the tap back again, and used to let all the water run to waste."†

"Penny Magazine," Vol. IX.

+ Rev. J. G. Wood, "Illustrated Natural History."




LITERATURE has produced a few equestrian curiosities. So has the church. The typical fox-hunting parson has his opposite.

An absent-minded man was the eccentric poet Bowles, who resided at Bremhill, in Wiltshire. His chief mode of locomotion being on horseback, he was one day met by a friend walking leisurely along the road, book in hand, with the reins of his bridle hanging on his arm, and the head-piece with the bit trailing on the ground behind him.


Why, Bowles!" exclaimed his friend, "what has become of your horse?

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"Behind me," was his reply, without taking the trouble to look back.

"Then he is an uncommon long way behind, Bowles, for I can see a mile of road; but no horse."

On this occasion, during one of his absent fits, while stopping and taking notes as he proceeded by the wayside, the chin stay being loose the horse had disengaged the bridle from his head without his master being aware of his movements. With all his eccentricities and wayside wanderings, nevertheless, Bowles, took good care to avoid meeting the foxhounds, although we were continually running through his parish."*

"Archbishop Vernon Harcourt, who was a very fine horseman --and before he was promoted to the bench, always in the first flight when foxhounds were running-once said to the wisest wit of the last generation, "I understand, Mr. Sydney Smith, you object to clergymen riding on horseback." Not," was the reply, "when they ride very badly and turn out their toes." Sydney Smith took the haute école view of horsemanship. †



But Sydney Smith's doctrine was better than his practice, so far as riding was concerned. He certainly at various times kept horses, and even mounted them; but, after all, Sydney Smith was a very poor horseman. In the words of his daughter, Lady Holland, "Either from the badness of his horses or the badness of his riding, or perhaps from both (in spite of his various contrivances to keep himself in the saddle), he had several falls, and kept us in continual anxiety." In one of his letters Sydney Smith says: "I used to think a fall from a horse dangerous, but much experience has convinced me to the contrary. I have had six falls in two years, and behaved just like the Three per Cents. when they fall. I got up again, and am not a bit the worse for it, any more than

* " Recollections of a Foxhunter," by Scrutator.

+ S. Sydney," The Book of the Horse."

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the stock in question. ... I left off riding for the good of my parish and the peace of my family; for somehow or other my horse and I had a habit of parting company. On one occasion I found myself suddenly prostrate in the streets of York, much to the delight of the dissenters. Another time my horse, Calamity,' flung me over his head into a neighbouring parish, and I felt grateful it was not into a neighbouring planet; but as no harm came of it, I might have persevered perhaps, if, on a certain day, a quaker tailor from a neighbouring village to which I had said I was going to ride had not taken it into his head to call, soon after my departure, and requested to see Mrs. Sydney. She instantly conceiving I was thrown, if not killed, rushed down to the man, exclaiming, Where is he? Where is your master—is he hurt?' The astonished and quaking snip stood silent from surprise. Still more agitated by his silence she exclaimed, 'Is he hurt? I insist upon knowing the worst!''Why, please ma'am, it is only thy little bill, a very small account, I wanted thee to settle,' replied he in much surprise.

"After this, you may suppose, I sold my horse; however, it is some comfort to know that my friend, Sir George, is one fall ahead of me, and is certainly a worse rider. It is a great proof, too, of the liberality of this county, where everybody can ride as soon as they are born, that they tolerate me at all.

"The horseCalamity,' whose name has been thus introduced, was the firstborn of several young horses bred on the farm, who turned out very fine creatures, and gained him great glory even amongst the knowing farmers of Yorkshire; but this first production was certainly not encouraging. A huge, lank, large-boned foal appeared, of chestnut colour and with four white legs. It grew apace, but its bones became more and more conspicuous; its appetite was unbounded-grass, hay, corn, beans, food moist and dry, were all supplied in vain, and vanished down his throat with incredible rapidity. He stood a large, living skeleton, with famine written in his face, and my father christened him Calamity.' As 'Calamity' grew to maturity he was found to be as sluggish in disposition as his master was impetuous; so my father was driven to invent his patent Tantalus,' which consisted of a small sieve of corn suspended on a semicircular bar of iron, from the end of the shafts, just beyond the horse's nose. The corn rattling as the vehicle proceeded, stimulated Calamity' to unwonted exertions; and under the hope of overtaking this imaginary feed, he did more work than all the previous provender which had been poured down his throat had been able to obtain from him."

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Had the witty clergyman been compelled to ride long distances in the discharge of his duties he would probably have learnt what Nimrod called the "art of adhesiveness," that is, the knack

* By Lady Holland, “Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith."

of sticking to his saddle. In the back settlements of America, where ministers of the gospel have to travel long distances on horseback, they become quite knowing in all matters concerning horseflesh. Here is the testimony of a leading American periodical concerning these clerical horsemen :

"There are no better judges of horses than itinerant preachers in the United States. From the very necessities of their calling they are constantly dependent upon their services, and thus, naturally, become acquainted with all their good and bad qualities. We have one of these Backwoods' apostles in our mind's eye, whose circuit was in a south-western state. He was born in Virginia, and I have always suspected that his infant eyes opened upon a race track. Be that as it may, a certificate of character from him in favour of a horse was of commercial value. Indifferent about his personal comfort and personal appearance, he insisted upon being well mounted, and seemed always ready to run the good


"On one occasion he was pressing his way to a meeting when his progress was obstructed by a crowd in the road, engaged in the preliminaries of a scrub-race. Compelled to stop a moment, he involuntarily examined the cattle entered for the sport and spontaneously gave his opinion which one would win. Suddenly remembering that it was the Sabbath, he apologised for his worldly-mindedness and would have passed on, but the crowd had become uproarious, and nothing would do but the parson must stay and see the thing out. After some properly expressed repugnance he consented, on the condition that the Sabbathbreakers would accompany him to church and hear his sermon; this was agreed to without a dissenting voice. The parson fulfilled. his contract with commendable zeal, and his constituents acted in like good faith. As a result, to use the language of one of the congregation, the parson, for their evident wickedness, used a moral curry-comb with such coarse teeth that he nearly took all the hair of their self-conceit off their backs.' Unfortunately for the lasting effects of the well-timed and excellent discourse the parson's horse, after the sermon was over, took the bit in his mouth and beat everything on the road,' in spite of all the owner's endeavours to restrain him. The more sober and discreet brethren professed to believe it was an untoward accident; but the sinners thought there was design in it, and singularly enough the parson's influence was greatly increased among this branch of his congregation."


A GENTLEMAN who had the credit of being a bit of a philosopher-was it Rousseau ?-expressed his opinion that the best rule for the composition of billets-doux, an art which appears so easy to every one, was "to begin without knowing exactly what you are going to say, and finish without knowing what you really have said." That is just our case.

It is rather interesting to run through the records of great people their whims, foibles and eccentricities-and note their habits, dress and conversation. It is certain that we can oftener define a man's character and disposition by the way he treats trifling affairs than by the manner in which he handles a big question. Whether they are authors, poets, military commanders, artists, or even kings and queens, there is exhibited such a variety of character, such quaint turns of manner, and so many little peculiarities that will always attract our fancy and serve to amuse us during a spare half hour.

In this age of Blue Ribbon and Temperance movement it is a curious fact to reflect on, that some of our best productions in English literature emanated from hard drinkers. It is a melancholy reflection, but it is a true one. Take the case of Dryden, Steele, Fielding, Burns and many more. We got nothing from them except as the outcome of a jolly good drinking "bout." Rabelais would point to his bottle and say, "Here is my source of inspiration; this is my cabalistic fountain, drinking I deliberate, deliberating I drink." Although poor Southey can hardly be included in this company, he had a sneaking kindness for hot rum punch, with just a soupçon of black currant jelly. Byron never could get along at any price without the stimulating aid of gin and water-gin, too!-of all the common Seven-Dials, coarse, besotting drinks. Even honest, simple-minded Glück, the famous composer, could only manage matters with a bottle of champagne beside him. Indeed (tell it not in Gath), all the great composers of his period attributed their success to the influence of great excitement. In the case of Glück, when he wanted to wind himself up to a certain pitch and rouse his imagination, he would trot himself out into a beautiful part of the country, settle himself down on some lovely lawn or meadow, order out a piano and a bottle of champagne, and then-surrounded by all the beauties of nature and the grandeur of the scenery-compose such marvellous works as "Alcestis" and "Iphigenia in Aulis." This should make the chief apostle of the "Liberty and Property Defence League," Lord Bramwell, chuckle, for in his clever pamphlet on

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