Excerpt from "Hail and Farewell"

George Moore

and we passed into the stables, none of which had fallen. There was the box in which Croagh Patrick neighed when the boy bought his sieveful of corn. How he plumaged his muzzle into it! for he was a greedy feeder and ready to kick anyone that came near him till the last grain was licked up. In the next box I had seen Master George, one of the best horses of his year, only a few pounds behind Croagh Patrick at a mile and a half, and his superior at two miles, a terrible buck-jumper that would have dislodged any cowboy. The little ponies that these horsemen ride have not sufficient strength to throw them out of the high Mexican saddles, but Master George was sixteen hands and a half, and when his head disappeared between his legs it was not easy thing to keep on a six-pound saddle, and the tightest might have been flung out of it as I was three times one morning before breakfast, these falls irritating my father scarcely less than the long s's had done eight years before, compelling him to declare that no horse could unseat him. Joseph Applely smiled and went out of the room, and next morning my father was thrown in front of the house by the holly-trees, breaking his collar-bone, and the doctor had to be sent for. The Colonel started to enumerate: Wolf Dog, Anonymous, and the Corunna have dragged hay out of those very racks, he said; and the coach-house recalled the coach hung on leather straps, and the great phaeton, likewise on leather straps, which hardly ever went out - a museum piece it was - and the tiny phaeton in which our mother used to drive Primrose and Ivory, a beautiful pair of ponies.
The great fir at the back of the stable, in front of the hayrick, reminded me of the day that Joseph Applely took me out for a walk and taught me a little bore-lore. The nest he showed me at the end of the bough was a goldfinch's, and we explored the woods together, and far clearer than to-day is that fragrant morning by the hawthorn-tree all in flower, Joseph lifting me up to see into the blackbird's nest. And I remember his voice: You mustn't touch the eggs, Master George, or the bird will forsake her nest. But how will the bird know? Let's try. We must go back, Master George, and if we return at one we shall get home in time for dinner. Let's go a little farther, Joseph, and find some more nests, I cried, for it did not seem to me that I should ever want dinner again.
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