FARMER THOROUGHGOOD AND HIS GRANDSON WILLIE. 198
winded, some old, and some that I am sure it would have been merciful to shoot.
The buyers, and sellers too, many of them, looked not much better off than the poor beasts they were bargaining about. There were poor old men trying to get a horse or pony for a few pounds, that might drag about some little wood or coal cart. There were poor men trying to sell a worn-out beast for two or three pounds, rather than have the greater loss of killing him. Some of them looked as if poverty and hard times had hardened them all over; but there were others that I would have willingly used the last of my strength in serving; poor and shabby, but kind and humane, with voices that I could trust. There was one tottering old man that took a great fancy to me, and I to him, but I was not strong enough—it was an anxious time ! Coming from the better part of the fair, I noticed a man who looked like a gentleman farmer, with a young boy by his side; he had a broad back and round shoulders, a kind, ruddy face, and he wore a broad-brimmed hat. When he came up to me and my companions he stood still and gave a pitiful look round upon us. I saw his eye rest on me; I had still a good mane and tail, which did something for my appearance. I I pricked my ears and looked at him.
" There's a horse," said Willie, " that has known better days."
" Poor old fellow !" said the boy ;tl do you think, grandpapa, he was ever a carriage horse?"
"Oh, yes! my boy," said the farmer, coming closer, " he might have been anything when he was young; look at his nostrils and his ears, the shape of his neck and shoulder; there's a deal of breeding about that horse." He put out his hand and gave me a kind pat on the neck. I put out my nose in answer to his kindness; the boy stroked my face.
" Poor old fellow I see, grandpapa, how well he under-