128 BLACK BEAUTY.
paces. It was wonderful what a difference there was in the way these things were done. Some did it in a rough, off-hand way, as if one was only a piece of wood; while others would move their hands gently over one's body, with a pat now and then, as much as to say, " By your leave." Of course I judged a good deal of the buyers by their manners to myself.
There was one man, I thought, if he would buy me I should be happy. He was not a gentleman, nor yet one of the loud, flashy sort that called themselves so. He was rather a small man, but well made, and quick in all his motions. I knew in a moment, by the way he handled me, that he was used to horses; he spoke gently, and his gray eye had a kindly, cheery look in it. It may seem strange to say—but it is true all the same—that the clean, fresh smell there was about him made me take to him : no smell of old beer and tobacco, which I hated, but a fresh smell, as if he had come out of a hayloft. He offered twenty-three pounds for me; but that was refused, and he walked away. I looked after him, but he was gone, and a very hard-looking, loud-voiced man came. I was dreadfully afraid he would have me, but he walked off. One or two more came who did not mean business. Then the hard-faced man came back again and offered twenty-three pounds. A very close bargain was being driven, for my salesman began to think he should not get all he asked, and must come down ; but just then the gray-eyed man came back again. I could not help reaching out my head toward him. He stroked my face kindly.
" Well, old chap," he said, " I think we should suit each other. I'll give twenty-four for him."
" Say twenty-five, and you shall have him."
" Twenty-four ten," said my friend, in a very decided tone, " and not another sixpence—yes, or no ?"
" Done," said the salesman; " and you may depend upon it there's a monstrous deal of quality in that horse,