The longer I lived at Birtwick, the more proud and happy I felt at having such a place. Our master and mistress were respected and beloved by all who know them ; they were good and kind to everybody and everything; not only to men and women, but to horses and donkeys, dogs and cats, cattle and birds j there was no oppressed or ill-used creature that had not a friend in them, and their servants took the same tone. If any of the village children were known to treat any creature cruelly, they soon heard about it from the Hall.
The Squire and Farmer Grey had worked together, as they said, for more than twenty years to get check-reins on the cart-horses done away with, and in our parts you seldom saw them; and sometimes if mistress met a heavily-laden horse, with his head strained up, she would stop the carriage and get out, and reason with the driver in her sweet, serious voice, and try to show him how foolish and cuel it was.
I don't think any man could withstand our mistress. I wish all ladies were like her. Our master, too, used to come down very heavy sometimes. I remember he was riding me toward home one morning, when we saw a powerful man driving toward us in a light pony chaise, with a beautiful little bay pony, with slender legs and a high-bred, sensitive head and face. Just as he came to the park gates, the little thing turned toward them ; the man, without word or warning, wrenched the creature's head round with such force and suddenness that he nearly threw it on its haunches; recovering itself, it was going on, when he began to lash it furiously; the pony plunged forward, but the strong heavy hand held the (50)