During the leisure of Tuesday our friends regained their good humour, and on the Wednesday morning they again started for the hunting-field. Mrs. Carbuncle, who probably felt that she had behaved ill about the groom and in regard to Scotland, almost made an apology, and explained that a cold shower always did make her cross. “My dear Lady Eustace, I hope I wasn’t very savage.”
“My dear Mrs. Carbuncle, I hope I wasn’t very stupid,” said Lizzie with a smile.
“My dear Lady Eustace, and my dear Mrs. Carbuncle, and my dear Miss Roanoke, I hope I wasn’t very selfish,” said Lord George.
“I thought you were,” said Sir Griffin.
“Yes, Griff; and so were you; but I succeeded.”
“I am almost glad that I wasn’t of the party,” said Mr. Emilius, with that musical foreign tone of his. “Miss Macnulty and I did not quarrel; did we?”
“No, indeed,” said Miss Macnulty, who had liked the society of Mr. Emilius.
But on this morning there was an attraction for Lizzie which the Monday had wanted. She was to meet her cousin, Frank Greystock. The journey was long, and the horses had gone on over night. They went by railway to Kilmarnock, and there a carriage from the inn had been ordered to meet them. Lizzie, as she heard the order given, wondered whether she would have to pay for that, or whether Lord George and Sir Griffin would take so much off her shoulders. Young women generally pay for nothing; and it was very hard that she, who was quite a young woman, should have to pay for all. But she smiled, and accepted the proposition. “Oh, yes; of course a carriage at the station. It is so nice to have some one to think of things, like Lord George.” The carriage met them, and everything went prosperously. Almost the first person they saw was Frank Greystock, in a black coat indeed, but riding a superb gray horse, and looking quite as though he knew what he was about. He was introduced to Mrs. Carbuncle and Miss Roanoke and Sir Griffin. With Lord George he had some slight previous acquaintance.
“You’ve had no difficulty about a horse?” said Lizzie.
“Not the slightest. But I was in an awful fright this morning. I wrote to MacFarlane from London, and absolutely hadn’t a moment to go to his place yesterday or this morning. I was staying over at Glenshiels, and had not a moment to spare in catching the train. But I found a horse-box on, and a lad from MacFarlane’s just leaving as I came up.”
“Didn’t he send a boy down with the horse?” asked Lord George.
“I believe there is a boy, and the boy’ll be awfully bothered. I told them to book the horse for Kilmarnock.”
“They always do book for Kilmarnock for this meet,” said a gentleman who had made acquaintance with some of Lizzie’s party on the previous hunting-day; “but Stewarton is ever so much nearer.”
“So somebody told me in the carriage,” continued Frank, “and I contrived to get my box off at Stewarton. The guard was uncommon civil, and so was the porter. But I hadn’t a moment to look for the boy.”
“I always make my fellow stick to his horses,” said Sir Griffin.
“But you see, Sir Griffin, I haven’t got a fellow, and I’ve only hired a horse. But I shall hire a good many horses from Mr. MacFarlane if he’ll always put me up like this.”
“I’m so glad you’re here!” said Lizzie.
“So am I. I hunt about twice in three years, and no man likes it so much. I’ve still got to find out whether the beast can jump.”
“Any mortal thing alive, sir,” said one of those horsey-looking men who are to be found in all hunting-fields, who wear old brown breeches, old black coats, old hunting-caps, who ride screws, and never get thrown out.
“You know him, do you?” said Frank.
“I know him. I didn’t know as Muster MacFarlane owned him. No more he don’t,” said the horsey man, turning aside to one of his friends. “That’s Nappie’s horse, from Jamaica Street.”
“Not possible,” said the friend.
“You’ll tell me I don’t know my own horse next.”
“I don’t believe you ever owned one,” said the friend.
Lizzie was in truth delighted to have her cousin beside her. He had, at any rate, forgiven what she had said to him at his last visit, or he would not have been there. And then, too, there was a feeling of reality in her connection with him, which was sadly wanting to her, unreal as she was herself, in her acquaintance with the other people around her. And on this occasion three or four people spoke or bowed to her, who had only stared at her before; and the huntsman took off his cap, and hoped that he would do something better for her than on the previous Monday. And the huntsman was very courteous also to Miss Roanoke, expressing the same hope, cap in hand, and smiling graciously. A huntsman at the beginning of any day or at the end of a good day is so different from a huntsman at the end of a bad day! A huntsman often has a very bad time out hunting, and it is sometimes a marvel that he does not take the advice which Job got from his wife. But now all things were smiling, and it was soon known that his lordship intended to draw Craigattan Gorse. Now in those parts there is no surer find, and no better chance of a run, than Craigattan Gorse affords.
“There is one thing I want to ask, Mr. Greystock,” said Lord George, in Lizzie’s hearing.”
“You shall ask two,” said Frank.
“Who is to coach Lady Eustace today, you or I?”
“Oh, do let me have somebody to coach me,” said Lizzie.
“For devotion in coachmanship,” said Frank —“devotion, that is, to my cousin — I defy the world. In point of skill I yield to Lord George.”
“My pretensions are precisely the same,” said Lord George. “I glow with devotion; my skill is naught.”
“I like you best, Lord George,” said Lizzie, laughing.
“That settles the question,” said Lord George.
“Altogether,” said Frank, taking off his hat.
“I mean as a coach,” said Lizzie.
“I quite understand the extent of the preference,” said Lord George. Lizzie was delighted, and thought the game was worth the candle. The noble master had told her that they were sure of a run from Craigattan, and she wasn’t in the least tired, and they were not called upon to stand still in a big wood, and it didn’t rain, and, in every respect, the day was very different from Monday. Mounted on a bright-skinned, lively steed, with her cousin on one side and Lord George de Bruce Carruthers on the other, with all the hunting world of her own county civil around her, and a fox just found in Craigattan Gorse, what could the heart of woman desire more? This was to live. There was, however, just enough of fear to make the blood run quickly to her heart.
“We’ll be away at once now,” said Lord George with utmost earnestness; “follow me close, but not too close. When the men see that I am giving you a lead, they won’t come between. If you hang back, I’ll not go ahead. Just check your horse as he comes to his fences, and, if you can, see me over before you go at them. Now then, down the hill; there’s a gate at the corner, and a bridge over the water. We couldn’t be better. By George! there they are, all together. If they don’t pull him down in the first two minutes, we shall have a run.”
Lizzie understood most of it, more at least than would nine out of ten young women who had never ridden a hunt before. She was to go wherever Lord George led her, and she was to ride upon his heels. So much at least she understood, and so much she was resolved to do. That dread about her front teeth which had perplexed her on Monday was altogether gone now. She would ride as fast as Lucinda Roanoke. That was her prevailing idea. Lucinda, with Mrs. Carbuncle, Sir Griffin, and the ladies’ groom, was at the other side of the covert. Frank had been with his cousin and Lord George, but had crept down the hill while the hounds were in the gorse. A man who likes hunting, but hunts only once a year, is desirous of doing the best he can with his day. When the hounds came out and crossed the brook at the end of the gorse, perhaps he was a little too forward. But, indeed, the state of affairs did not leave much time for waiting, or for the etiquette of the hunting-field. Along the opposite margin of the brook there ran a low paling, which made the water a rather nasty thing to face. A circuit of thirty or forty yards gave the easy riding of a little bridge, and to that all the crowd hurried. But one or two men with good eyes, and hearts as good, had seen the leading hounds across the brook turning up the hill away from the bridge, and knew that two most necessary minutes might be lost in the crowd. Frank did as they did, having seen nothing of any hounds, but with instinctive knowledge that they were men likely to be right in a hunting-field. “If that ain’t Nappie’s horse, I’ll eat him,” said one of the leading men to the other, as all the three were breasting the hill together. Frank only knew that he had been carried over water and timber without a mistake, and felt a glow of gratitude toward Mr. MacFarlane. Up the hill they went, and, not waiting to inquire into the circumstances of a little gate, jumped a four-foot wall and were away. “How the mischief did he get atop of Nappie’s horse?” said the horsey man to his friend.
“We’re about right for it now,” said the huntsman, as he came up alongside of Frank. He had crossed the bridge, but had been the first across it, and knew how to get over his ground quickly. On they went, the horsey man leading on his thoroughbred screw, the huntsman second, and Frank third. The pace had already been too good for the other horsey man.
When Lord George and Lizzie had mounted the hill, there was a rush of horses at the little gate. As they topped the hill Lucinda and Mrs. Carbuncle were jumping the wall. Lord George looked back and asked a question without a word. Lizzie answered it as mutely, Jump it! She was already a little short of breath, but she was ready to jump anything that Lucinda Roanoke had jumped. Over went Lord George, and she followed him almost without losing the stride of her horse. Surely in all the world there was nothing equal to this. There was a large grass field before them, and for a moment she came up alongside of Lord George. “Just steady him before he leaps,” said Lord George. She nodded her assent, and smiled her gratitude. She had plenty of breath for riding, but none for speaking. They were now very near to Lucinda, and Sir Griffin, and Mrs. Carbuncle. “The pace is too good for Mrs. Carbuncle’s horse,” said Lord George. Oh, if she could only pass them, and get up to those men whom she saw before her! She knew that one of them was her cousin Frank. She had no wish to pass them, but she did wish that he should see her. In the next fence Lord George spied a rail, which he thought safer than a blind hedge, and he made for it. His horse took it well, and so did Lizzie’s; but Lizzie jumped it a little too near him, as he had paused an instant to look at the ground.
“Indeed, I won’t do it again,” she said, collecting all her breath for an apology.
“You are going admirably,” he said, “and your horse is worth double the money.” She was so glad now that he had not spared for price in mounting her! Looking to the right, she could see that Mrs. Carbuncle had only just floundered through the hedge. Lucinda was still ahead, but Sir Griffin was falling behind, as though divided in duty between the niece and the aunt. Then they passed through a gate, and Lord George stayed his horse to hold it for her. She tried to thank him but he stopped her. “Don’t mind talking, but come along, and take it easy.” She smiled again, and he told himself that she was wondrous pretty. And then her pluck was so good! And then she had four thousand a year! “Now for the gap; don’t be in a hurry. You first, and I’ll follow you to keep off these two men. Keep to the left, where the other horses have been.” On they went, and Lizzie was in heaven. She could not quite understand her feelings, because it had come to that with her that to save her life she could not have spoken a word. And yet she was not only happy but comfortable. The leaping was delightful, and her horse galloped with her as though his pleasure was as great as her own. She thought that she was getting nearer to Lucinda. For her, in her heart, Lucinda was the quarry. If she could only pass Lucinda! That there were any hounds she had altogether forgotten. She only knew that two or three men were leading the way, of whom her cousin Frank was one, that Lucinda Roanoke was following them closely, and that she was gaining upon Lucinda Roanoke. She knew she was gaining a little, because she could see now how well and squarely Lucinda sat upon her horse. As for herself, she feared that she was rolling; but she need not have feared. She was so small, and lithe, and light, that her body adapted itself naturally to the pace of her horse. Lucinda was of a different build, and it behooved her to make for herself a perfect seat. “We must have the wall,” said Lord George, who was again at her side for a moment. She would have “had” a castle wall, moat included, turrets and all, if he would only have shown her the way. The huntsman and Frank had taken the wall. The horsey man’s bit of blood, knowing his own powers to an inch, had declined — not roughly, with a sudden stop and a jerk, but with a swerve to the left which the horsey man at once understood. What the brute lacked in jumping he could make up in pace, and the horsey man was along the wall and over a broken bank at the head of it, with the loss of not more than a minute. Lucinda’s horse, following the ill example, balked the jump. She turned him round with a savage gleam in her eye which Lizzie was just near enough to see, struck him rapidly over the shoulders with her whip, and the animal flew with her into the next field. “Oh, if I could do it like that,” thought Lizzie. But in that very minute she was doing it, not only as well but better. Not following Lord George, but close at his side, the little animal changed his pace, trotted for a yard or two, hopped up as though the wall were nothing, knocked off a top stone with his hind feet, and dropped on the ground so softly that Lizzie hardly believed that she had gone over the big obstruction that had cost Lucinda such an effort. Lucinda’s horse came down on all four legs, with a grunt and a groan, and she knew that she had bustled him. At that moment Lucinda was very full of wrath against the horsey man with the screw who had been in her way. “He touched it,” gasped Lizzie, thinking that her horse had disgraced himself.
“He’s worth his weight in gold,” said Lord George. “Come along. There’s a brook with a ford. Morgan is in it.” Morgan was the huntsman. “Don’t let them get before you.” Oh, no. She would let no one get before her. She did her very best, and just got her horse’s nose on the broken track leading down into the brook before Lucinda.
“Pretty good, isn’t it?” said Lucinda. Lizzie smiled sweetly. She could smile, though she could not speak.
“Only they do balk one so at one’s fences,” said Lucinda. The horsey man had all but regained his place, and was immediately behind Lucinda, within hearing, as Lucinda knew.
On the further side of the field, beyond the brook, there was a little spinny, and for half a minute the hounds came to a check. “Give ’em time, sir, give ’em time,” said Morgan to Frank, speaking in full good humour, with no touch of Monday’s savagery. “Wind him, Bolton; Beaver’s got it. Very good thing, my lady, isn’t it? Now, Carstairs, if you’re a — going to ‘unt the fox you’d better ‘unt him.” Carstairs was the horsey man, and one with whom Morgan very often quarrelled. “That’s it, my hearties,” and Morgan was across a broken wall in a moment, after the leading hounds.
“Are we to go on?” said Lizzie, who feared much that Lucinda would get ahead of her. There was a matter of three dozen horsemen up now, and, as far as Lizzie saw, the whole thing might have to be done again. In hunting, to have ridden is the pleasure; and not simply to have ridden well, but to have ridden better than others.
“I call it very awkward ground,” said Mrs. Carbuncle, coming up. “It can’t be compared to the Baron’s country.”
“Stone walls four feet and a half high, and well built, are awkward,” said the noble master.
But the hounds were away again, and Lizzie had got across the gap before Lucinda, who, indeed, made way for her hostess with a haughty politeness which was not lost upon Lizzie. Lizzie could not stop to beg pardon, but she would remember to do it in her prettiest way on their journey home. They were now on a track of open country, and the pace was quicker even than before. The same three men were still leading, Morgan, Greystock, and Carstairs. Carstairs had slightly the best of it; and of course Morgan swore afterwards that he was among the hounds the whole run. “The scent was that good there wasn’t no putting of ’em off; no thanks to him,” said Morgan. “I ‘ate to see ’em galloping, galloping, galloping, with no more eye to the ‘ounds than a pig. Any idiot can gallop if he’s got it under ’im.” All which only signified that Jack Morgan didn’t like to see any of his field before him. There was need, indeed, now for galloping, and it may be doubted whether Morgan himself was not doing his best. There were about five or six in the second fight, and among these Lord George and Lizzie were well placed. But Lucinda had pressed again ahead.
“Miss Roanoke had better have a care or she’ll blow her horse,” Lord George said. Lizzie didn’t mind what happened to Miss Roanoke’s horse so that it could be made to go a little slower and fall behind. But Lucinda still pressed on, and her animal went with a longer stride than Lizzie’s horse.
They now crossed a road, descending a hill, and were again in a close country. A few low hedges seemed as nothing to Lizzie. She could see her cousin gallop over them ahead of her, as though they were nothing; and her own horse, as he came to them, seemed to do exactly the same. On a sudden they found themselves abreast with the huntsman.
“There’s a biggish brook below there, my lord,” said he. Lizzie was charmed to hear it. Hitherto she had jumped all the big things so easily, that it was a pleasure to hear of them.
“How are we to manage it?” asked Lord George.
“It is ridable, my lord; but there’s a place about half a mile down. Let’s see how’ll they head. Drat it, my lord, they’ve turned up, and we must have it or go back to the road.” Morgan hurried on, showing that he meant to “have” it, as did also Lucinda.
“Shall we go to the road?” said Lord George.
“No, no!” said Lizzie.
Lord George looked at her and at her horse, and then galloped after the huntsman and Lucinda. The horsey man with the well-bred screw was first over the brook. The little animal could take almost any amount of water, and his rider knew the spot. “He’ll do it like a bird,” he had said to Greystock, and Greystock had followed him. Mr. MacFarlane’s hired horse did do it like a bird.
“I know him, sir,” said Carstairs. “Mr. Nappie gave £250 for him down in Northamptonshire last February; bought him of Mr. Percival. You know Mr. Percival, sir?” Frank knew neither Mr. Percival nor Mr. Nappie, and at this moment cared nothing for either of them. To him, at this moment, Mr. MacFarlane, of Buchanan Street, Glasgow, was the best friend he ever had.
Morgan, knowing well the horse he rode, dropped him into the brook, floundered and half swam through the mud and water, and scrambled out safely on the other side. “He wouldn’t have jumped it with me, if I’d asked him ever so,” he said afterwards. Lucinda rode at it, straight as an arrow, but her brute came to a dead balk, and, but that she sat well, would have thrown her into the stream. Lord George let Lizzie take the leap before he took it, knowing that, if there were misfortune, he might so best render help. To Lizzie it seemed as though the river were the blackest, and the deepest, and the broadest that ever ran. For a moment her heart quailed; but it was but for a moment. She shut her eyes, and gave the little horse his head. For a moment she thought that she was in the water. Her horse was almost upright on the bank, with his hind feet down among the broken ground, and she was clinging to his neck. But she was light, and the beast made good his footing, and then she knew that she had done it. In that moment of the scramble her heart had been so near her mouth that she was almost choked. When she looked round Lord George was already by her side.
“You hardly gave him powder enough,” he said, “but still he did it beautifully. Good heavens! Miss Roanoke is in the river.” Lizzie looked back, and there, in truth, was Lucinda struggling with her horse in the water. They paused a moment, and then there were three or four men assisting her. “Come on,” said Lord George. “There are plenty to take her out, and we couldn’t get to her if we stayed.”
“I ought to stop,” said Lizzie.
“You couldn’t get back if you gave your eyes for it,” said Lord George. “She’s all right.” So instigated, Lizzie followed her leader up the hill, and in a minute was close upon Morgan’s heels.
The worst of doing a big thing out hunting is the fact that in nine cases out of ten they who don’t do it are as well off as they who do. If there were any penalty for riding round, or any mark given to those who had ridden straight, so that justice might in some sort be done, it would perhaps be better. When you have nearly broken your neck to get to hounds, or made your horse exert himself beyond his proper power, and then find yourself, within three minutes, overtaking the hindmost ruck of horsemen on a road because of some iniquitous turn that the fox had taken, the feeling is not pleasant. And some man who has not ridden at all, who never did ride at all, will ask you where you have been; and his smile will give you the lie in your teeth, if you make any attempt to explain the facts. Let it be sufficient for you at such a moment to feel that you are not ashamed of yourself. Self-respect will support a man even in such misery as this.
The fox on this occasion, having crossed the river, had not left its bank, but had turned from his course up the stream, so that the leading spirits who had followed the hounds over the water came upon a crowd of riders on the road in a space something short of a mile. Mrs. Carbuncle, among others, was there, and had heard of Lucinda’s mishap. She said a word to Lord George in anger, and Lord George answered her. “We were over the river before it happened, and if we had given our eyes we couldn’t have got to her. Don’t you make a fool of yourself!” The last words were spoken in a whisper, but Lizzie’s sharp ears caught them.
“I was obliged to do what I was told,” said Lizzie apologetically.
“It will be all right, dear Lady Eustace. Sir Griffin is with her. I am so glad you are going so well.”
They were off again now, and the stupid fox absolutely went back across the river. But, whether on one side or on the other, his struggle for life was now in vain. Two years of happy, free existence amid the wilds of Craigattan had been allowed him. Twice previously had he been “found,” and the kindly storm or not less beneficent brightness of the sun had enabled him to baffle his pursuers. Now there had come one glorious day, and the common lot of mortals must be his. A little spurt there was, back towards his own home, just enough to give something of selectness to the few who saw him fall, and then he fell. Among the few were Frank and Lord George and our Lizzie. Morgan was there, of course, and one of his whips. Of Ayrshire folk, perhaps five or six, and among them our friend Mr. Carstairs. They had run him down close to the outbuildings of a farmyard, and they broke him up in the home paddock.
“What do you think of hunting?” said Frank to his cousin.
“My cousin went pretty well, I think,” he said to Lord George.
“Like a celestial bird of paradise. No one ever went better — or I believe so well. You’ve been carried rather nicely yourself.”
“Indeed I have,” said Frank, patting his still palpitating horse, “and he’s not to say tired now.”
“You’ve taken it pretty well out of him, sir,” said Carstairs. “There was a little bit of hill that told when we got over the brook. I know’d you’d find he’d jump a bit.”
“I wonder whether he’s to be bought?” asked Frank in his enthusiasm.
“I don’t know the horse that isn’t,” said Mr. Carstairs, “so long as you don’t stand at the figure.”
They were collected on the farm road, and now, as they were speaking, there was a commotion among the horses. A man driving a little buggy was forcing his way along the road, and there was a sound of voices, as though the man in the buggy were angry. And he was angry. Frank, who was on foot by his horse’s head, could see that the man was dressed for hunting, with a bright red coat and a flat hat, and that he was driving the pony with a hunting-whip. The man was talking as he approached, but what he said did not much matter to Frank, till his new friend, Mr. Carstairs, whispered a word in his ear. “It’s Nappie, by Gum!” Then there crept across Frank’s mind an idea that there might be trouble coming.
“There he is,” said Nappie, bringing his pony to a dead stop with a chuck, and jumping out of the buggy. “I say you, sir; you’ve stole my ‘orse.” Frank said not a word, but stood his ground with his hand on the nag’s bridle. “You’ve stole my ‘orse; you’ve stole him off the rail. And you’ve been a-riding him all day. Yes, you ‘ave. Did ever anybody see the like of this? Why, the poor beast can a’most stand.”
“I got him from Mr. MacFarlane.”
“MacFarlane be blowed. You didn’t do nothing of the kind. You stole him off the rail at Stewarton. Yes, you did; and him booked to Kilmarnock. Where’s a police? Who’s to stand the like o’ this? I say, my lord, just look at this.” A crowd had now been formed round poor Frank, and the master had come up. Mr. Nappie was a Huddersfield man, who had come to Glasgow in the course of the last winter, and whose popularity in the hunting-field was not as yet quite so great as perhaps it might have been.
“There’s been a mistake, I suppose,” said the master.
“Mistake, my lord! Take a man’s ‘orse off the rail at Stewarton, and him booked for Kilmarnock, and ride him to a standstill! It’s no mistake at all. It’s ‘orse-nobbling; that’s what it is. Is there any police here, sir?” This he said, turning round to a farmer. The farmer didn’t deign any reply. “Perhaps you’ll tell me your name, sir? if you’ve got a name. No gen’leman ever took a gen’leman’s ‘orse off the rail like that.”
“Oh, Frank, do come away,” said Lizzie who was standing by.
“We shall be all right in two minutes,” said Frank.
“No we sha’n’t,” said Mr. Nappie, “nor yet in two hours. I’ve asked what’s your name?”
“My name is — Greystock.”
“Greystockings,” said Mr. Nappie more angrily than ever. “I don’t believe in no such name. Where do you live?” Then somebody whispered a word to him. “Member of Parliament — is he? I don’t care a ——. A member of Parliament isn’t to steal my ‘orse off the rail, and him booked to Kilmarnock. Now, my lord, what’d you do if you was served like that?” This was another appeal to the noble master.
“I should express a hope that my horse had carried the gentleman as he liked to be carried,” said the master.
“And he has — carried me remarkably well,” said Frank; whereupon there was a loud laugh among the crowd.
“I wish he’d broken the infernal neck of you, you scoundrel, you; that’s what I do,” said Mr. Nappie. “There was my man, and my ‘orse, and myself, all booked from Glasgow to Kilmarnock; and when I got there what did the guard say to me? why, just that a man in a black coat had taken my horse off at Stewarton; and now I’ve been driving all about the country in that gig there for three hours!” When Mr. Nappie had got so far as this in his explanation he was almost in tears. “I’ll make ’im pay, that I will. Take your hand off my horse’s bridle, sir. Is there any gentleman here as would like to give two hundred and eighty guineas for a horse, and then have him rid to a standstill by a fellow like that down from London? If you’re in Parliament, why don’t you stick to Parliament? I don’t suppose he’s worth fifty pound this moment.”
Frank had all the while been endeavouring to explain the accident; how he had ordered a horse from Mr. MacFarlane, and the rest of it — as the reader will understand; but quite in vain. Mr. Nappie in his wrath would not hear a word. But now that he spoke about money Frank thought that he saw an opening.
“Mr. Nappie,” he said, “I’ll buy the horse for the price you gave for him.”
“I’ll see you — extremely well — first,” said Mr. Nappie.
The horse had now been surrendered to Mr. Nappie, and Frank suggested that he might as well return to Kilmarnock in the gig, and pay for the hire of it. But Mr. Nappie would not allow him to set a foot upon the gig. “It’s my gig for the day,” said he, “and you don’t touch it. You shall foot it all the way back to Kilmarnock, Mr. Greystockings.” But Mr. Nappie, in making this threat, forgot that there were gentlemen there with second horses. Frank was soon mounted on one belonging to Lord George, and Lord George’s servant, at the corner of the farm-yard, got into the buggy, and was driven back to Kilmarnock by the man who had accompanied poor Mr. Nappie in their morning’s hunt on wheels after the hounds.
“Upon my word, I was very sorry,” said Frank as he rode back with his friends to Kilmarnock; “and when I first really understood what had happened, I would have done anything. But what could I say? It was impossible not to laugh, he was so unreasonable.”
“I should have put my whip over his shoulder,” said a stout farmer, meaning to be civil to Frank Greystock.
“Not after using it so often over his horse,” said Lord George.
“I never had to touch him once,” said Frank.
“And are you to have it all for nothing?” asked the thoughtful Lizzie.
“He’ll send a bill in, you’ll find,” said a bystander.
“Not he,” said Lord George. “His grievance is worth more to him than his money.”
No bill did come to Frank, and he got his mount for nothing. When Mr. MacFarlane was applied to, he declared that no letter ordering a horse had been delivered in his establishment. From that day to this Mr. Nappie’s gray horse has had a great character in Ayrshire; but all the world there says that its owner never rides him as Frank Greystock rode him that day.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:55