my back; he saw it in a minute and went for another, which fitted nicely. He rode me first slowly, then a trot, then a canter, and when we were on the common he gave me a light touch with his whip, and we had a splendid gallop.
" Ho, ho! my boy," he said, as he pulled me up, " you would like to follow the hounds, I think."
We came back through the park and met the Squire and Mrs. Gordon walking; they stopped and John jumped off.
" Well, John, how does he go?"
" First-rate, sir," answered John; " he is as fleet as a deer, and has a line spirit, too; but the lightest touch of the rein will guide him. Down at the end of the common we met one of those travelling carts hung all over with baskets, rugs, and such like; you know, sir, many horses will not pass those carts quietly; he just took a good look at it, and then went on as quiet and pleasant as could be. They were shooting rabbits near the High-wood, and a gun went off close by; he pulled up a little and looked, but did not stir a step to right or left. I just held the rein steady and did not hurry him, and it's my opinion he has not been frightened or ill-used while he was young."
" That's well," said the Squire; " I will try him myself to-morrow."
The next day I was brought up for my master. I remembered my mother's counsel and my good old master's, and I tried to do exactly what he wanted me to do. I found he was a very good rider, and thoughtful for his horse, too. When he came home, the lady was at the hall-door as he rode up.
" Well, my dear," she said, "how do you like him?"
" He is exactly what John said,'' he replied; " a pleas-anter creature I never wish to mount. What shall we call him?"
"Would you like ' Ebony?' " said she; " he is as black as ebony."