12& BLA CK BE A UTY.
" I don't know what is the matter with this horse; he goes very fumble-footed. I am sometimes afraid he will stumble."
"Yes, sir," said Alfred, "I have noticed the same my≠self, when I have exercised him."
Now the fact was that he hardly ever did exercise me, and when the master was busy I often stood for days together without stretching my legs at all, and yet being fed just as high as if I were at hard work. This often disordered my health, and made me sometimes heavy and dull, but more often rest≠less and feverish. He never gave me a meal of green food or a bran mash, which would have cooled me, for he was altogether as ignorant as he was conceited; and then, in≠stead of exercise or change of food, I had to take horse-balls and draughts; which besides the nuisance of having them poured down my throat, used to make me feel ill and uncomfortable.
One day my feet were so tender that, trotting over some fresh stones with my master on my back, I made two such serious stumbles that, as he came down Lansdown into the city, he stopped at the farrier's, and asked him to see what was the matter with me. The man took up my feet one by one and examined them; then standing up and dusting his hands one against the other, he saidó
" Your horse has got the ' thrush,' and badly, too; his feet are very tender; it is fortunate that he has not been down. I wonder your groom has not seen to it before. This is the sort of thing we find in foul stables, where the litter is never properly cleaned out. If you will send him here to-morrow I will attend to the hoof, and I will direct your man how to apply the liniment which I will give him."
The next day I had my feet thoroughly cleansed and stuffed with tow soaked in some strong lotion; and a very unpleasant business it was.
The farrier ordered all the litter to be taken out of my