THE FIRE. 65
" Ah I poor gentleman ; I read all about it in the paper at the time; a fine horse killed, too, wasn't there?"
" Yes," said James, " he was a splendid creature, brother to this one, and just like him."
"Pity! pity!" said the old man; "'twas a bad place to leap, if I remember; a thin fence at top, a steep bank down to the stream, wasn't it? no chance for a horse to Bee where he is going. Now, I am for bold riding as much as any man, but still there are some leaps that only a very knowing old huntsman has any right to take;9 a mail's life and a horse's life are worth more than a fox's tail; at least I should say they ought to be."
During this time the other man had finished Ginger and had brought our corn, and James and the old man left the stable together.
Later on in the evening a traveller's horse was brought in by the second ostler, and while he was cleaning him a young man with a pipe in his mouth lounged into the stable to gossip.
"I say, Towler," said the ostler, "just run up the ladder into the loft and put some hay down into this horse's rack, will you? only, lay down your pipe."
''All right," said the other, and went up through the trap-door, and I heard him step across the floor overhead and put down the hay. James came in to look at us the last thing, and then the door was locked.
I cannot say how long I had slept, nor what time in the night it was, but I woke up very uncomfortable, though I hardly knew why. I got up; the air seemed all thick