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How The Old Horse Won The Bet

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'Twae on the fainous i rotting ground, The bctting meu gathered round 3 From f ar and noar ; the " cracks " wcre thero Wuose dceds the sporting prints declare ; ; The swift g. m., old h irara's nag, - The fleet s. h., Dan Pfoiffer's brag, With these a ibird - and wlio is ho r That stands beside nis font b. r. ? , Budd Doblo, whose catilrrhal nanic So filis the nanal trump of fame. f Thcre too stood many a noted steed - Of Messengcr and Morgan breed ; - Groen horres aleo, not a few- t Unknown as yet what thcy could do; And all the hacks that know 80 well The scourgings of the Sunday swell. Blue are the skies of opening tfay ; , The bordcring turf is green with May ; The sunshine's golden gleam is thrown [ On sorrel, chestnut, bay, and roan; T.he horees paw and prance and neigh, , FiUies and colts like ltittens play And dance and toss theirrippled manea Shining and soft as silken HftilM ; Wagons and gigs are ranged about, And fawhion flaunts her gay turnout; . Here stands- each youthful Jehu's dreain - The jointed tandem, tickliah team ! And therc in ampler breadth expand , The splcndors of the four-in-hand ; Ou faultless ties and glossy tiles , The lovely bonnets bcam their siniles (The style's the man, so books avow : The style's the wonian. anyhow) ; From flounces frothed with creamy lace Pceps out the pug-dog's sniutty face, Or spaniel rolls hiB liquid eyc, Or stares the wiry pet of Skye - O woman, in our hours of eP.sö So shy with us, so freo with these ! "Come on ! I'll bet you two to onc 111 make him do it!" " Will you ? Done !" What was it who was bound to do ? Idid not hear and can't teil you,- Pray listen till niy story's üirough. Scarce noticcd, back bclünd the rest, By cart and wagon rudely prest, ïlie parBon'B lean and bony bay Stood baruessed in his one-horse shav,- Lent to the eexton for the day. (A funeral- so the seston eaid J His mother's unole's wifo was dead), Like Laxaras bid to Dives' feast, So looked the poor f orlorn old bcast ; His coat was rough, his tail was bare, The gray was sprinkled in his hair ; Sportsmeu and jockeys knew hini not, And yet they say he once could trot Aniong the fleetest of the town, Till something cracked and broke him down, The steed'e, tbc statesinan's comïnon lotl " And are we then eo soon forgot?" Ah me ! I doubt if onc of you Has ever heard the name " Old BluPi Whose fame through all this regiou rttng In those old days vhen I vns young ! Briifg forth the horsc I" Alas ! he showed Not like the one Mazeppa rode ; Scant-maned. Bhtcrp-bucltedt and shaky-kneed, The wreek of wkat was once a eteed. Lips thin, eyes hollow, f.tiiT in joints; Vet not without his knowing pointe. The sexton, laughing in his sleeve Asif 't were all a malie-bclíevc, Led forth the horse, and as he laughed Unhitched the breeching from a shaft, Unclasped the ruety belt beneath, Drew forth the snaile from his teeth, Slipped otf his headstall, set him freo From etrap and rein- a sight to see ! So worn, so lean in every limb, It can't be they are saddling hita ! It is ! his back the pig-ekf n strides And fiaps his lank, rheumatic sides ; With looks of niingled scorn and inirth They buckle round the saddle girth ; With horsey wink and saucy toss A youngster throws his leg across, And so, his rider on his back, They lead him, limping to the track. Far up behiud the startin g-point, To limber out each stiffened joint. As through the jeering crowd he past, One pitiBg look old Hirani cast; " Go it, ye cripple, while ye can !" Cried out unfientünental Dan ; "A Fast-day dinner for the crows !' Budd Doble's scoffing ehout aroee. Slowly, as when the walking-beam First feels the galht ring hcad of stcam, With warning cough and threateniug wheeze The stiff old charger crooks his linees, At first with cautious Ftep setlate, Ab if he dragged a coach of state ; He's not a colt ; he knows full well That time is weight and sure to tel No horse so sturdy but he f ears % The handicap of twenty years. Ab through the throng on eittier hand The old horse nears the judges' stand, Beneath his jockey's feather-weight He warms a little to his eait, And now and then a step is tried That hints of something like a stride. " Go -Through his ear the summons stung As if a battle-trump had rung ; The slumbering instincts long unstirred Start at the old familiar word ; Itthrïlls like flame through every limb - whai mean his twenty years to him ? The Ravage blow his rider dealt Feil on his hollow flanks unfelt; The epur that pricked his staring hjde Uuheeded tore his bleeding side ; Alike to him are spur and rein, He steps a íivc-year-old again ! Before the quarter pole was past, Old Hiram said, " He's going fast." Long ere the quarter was a hall, The chuckling crowd had cf ased to laugh ; Tighter liie frightened jockey clung As in a mighty stride he swung, The gravel flying in his track, His neck stretched out, his ears laid back, His tail extended all the while Behind him liko a rat-tail file ! Off went a shoe, away it spun, hot like a bullet from a gun. The quaking jockey shapes a prayer From scraps of oaths ho used to swear ; He drops his whip, üe drops his rein, He elutehes ñercely for a mane ; He'll lose his hold - he sways and recls - Heil slide beneath those trampling heels ! The knees of many a horseman quake, The flowers on many a bonnet shake, And shouts arise from loft and right, "Stick on! Stick on!" "Hould tight! Hould tight!" " Cling rouud his neck and don't Iet go- That pace can't hold- there ! steady ! whoa !" But like the sable sed that bore The spectral lover oLenore, His nostrils snorting foam and fire, No stretch his bony limbs can tire ; And now the stand he rushes by, And " Stop him -stop him !" is the cry. Stand backl.he's only just begun - He's ha ving out three heuts in one ! " Don't rush in front ! ne'll emash your brains ; But follow up and grab the reins !" Old Hiram spoke. Dan Pfefifer heard, And sprang impatient at the word ; Budd Doble started on his bay, Old Uiram followed on his gray, And off they spring and rountt they go, The fast ones doing " all they know." Look ! twice they follow at his heels, Aa round the circling course he wheels, And whirls with hita that clinging boy Like Héctor round the walln ol Troy ; Ötill on, and on, the third time round ! They're tailing off ! they 're losing ground ! Budd Doble's nag begins to fail Dan Pf eiffer's sorrel whisks his tail ! And see ! in spite of whip and shout, Md Hiram's mare is giviDg out ! Now for the finish I at the turn, The old horse- all the rest astern- Domes Bwinging in with easy trot ; By Jove ! he's distanced all the lot ! That trot no mortal could explain ; 3ome said, ' Oíd Dutchman come again !" Sorae took his time-at least they tried, But what it was could none decide ; Dne said he couldn't undersíaud SVhat happened to his secón d hand ; 3ne said 2:10 ; that couldn't be - Vlore like two twenty-two or three ; Jld Hiram settled it at last ; 1 The time was two- too dee-vel-ish fastl'' The parson's horse had won the bet ; Et cost him something of a sweat ; Back in the one-horse shay he went ; Che parson wondered what it meant, Vnd murmurad, with a mild surprise # Vnd pleasant twinkle of the eyes, ' That funeral must have been a trick, )r corpses drive at double-quick ; ! shouldn't wonder, I declare, f Brother Murray made the prayer !" Lnd this is all I have to say lbout the parson'a poor old bay, Che samo that drew the one-horse shay. tf oral for which this tale is told ; t horse can trot, for all he's old.


Old News
Michigan Argus