FARMER THOROUGHGOOD AND HIS GRANDSON WILLIE. 195
" What is the lowest you will take for him ?" said the farmer as I came back.
" Five pounds, sir ; that was the lowest price my master set"
" 'Tis a speculation," said the old gentleman, shaking his head, but at the same time slowly drawing out his purse, " quite a speculation I Have you any more business here ?" he said, counting the sovereigns into his hand.
" No, sir; I can take him for you to the inn, if you please."
" Do so ; I am now going there."
They walked forward, and I was led behind. The boy could hardly control his delight, and the old gentleman seemed to enjoy his pleasure. I had a good feed at the inn, and was then gently ridden home by a servant of my new master's, and turned into a large meadow with a shed In one corner of it.
Mr. Thoroughgood, for that was the name of my benefactor, gave orders that I should have hay and oats every night and morning, and the run of the meadow during the day; and, " you, Willie," said he, " must take the oversight of him; I give him in charge to you."
The boy was proud of his charge, and undertook it in all seriousness. There was not a day when he did not pay me a visit; sometimes picking me out from among the other horses and giving me a bit of carrot, or something good, or sometimes standing by me while I ate my oats. He always came with kind words and caresses, and of course I grew very fond of him. He called me Old Crony; as I used to come to him in the field and follow him about. Sometimes he brought his grandfather, who always looked closely at my legs.
" This is our point, Willie," he would say ; " but he is improving so steadily that I think we shall see a change for the better in the spring."
The perfect rest, the good food, the soft turf and gentle exercise soon began to tell on my condition and my