88 BLACK BEAUTY.
"Well," said John, "I don't belie* i there is a better pair of horses in the country, and rig it grieved I am to part with them, but they are not alike. The black one has the most perfect temper I ever knew; I suppose he has never known a hard word or blow since he was foaled, and all his pleasure seems to be to do what you wish; but the chestnut, I fancy, must have had bad treatment; we heard as much from the dealer. She came to us snappish and suspicious, but when she found what sort of place ours was, it all went off by degrees; for three years I have never seen the smallest sign of temper, and if she is well treated there is not a better, more willing animal than she is. But she has naturally a more irritable constitution than the black horse; flies tease her more; anything wrong in the harness frets her more, and if she were ill-used or unfairly treated she would not be unlikely to give tit for tat. You know that many high-mettled horses will do so."
" Of course," said York, " I quite understand ; but you know it is not easy in stables like these to have all the grooms just what they should be. I do my best, and there I must leave it. I'll remember what you have said about the mare."
They were going out of the stable, when John stopped, and said, " I had better mention that we have never used the check-rein with either of them ; the black horse never had one on, and the dealer said it was the gag-bit that spoiled the other's temper."
" Well," said York, " if they come here they must wear the check-rein. I prefer a loose rein myself, and his lordship is always very reasonable about horses; but my lady—thaVs another thing; she will have style, and if her carriage-horses are not reined up tight she wouldn't look at them. I always stand out against the gag-bit, and shall do so, but it must be tight up when my lady rides !"
" I am very sorry for it, very sorry," said John; " but 1 must go now, or I shall lose the train."