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An eminent Scotch lawyer, having cause to visit London, decided to perform
the journey on horseback in preference to posting, for this was before the
days of railways. He therefore purchased a horse before starting, and on
his arrival at the metropolis, following the usual custom, disposed of his
nag, deciding to purchase another for the return journey. When he had
completed his business, and had decided to set out for home, he went to
Smithfield to purchase a horse. About dusk, a handsome horse was offered
to him at so cheap a rate, that he was led to suspect the animal to be
unsound; but as he could discover no blemish he became the purchaser. Next
morning he set out on his journey; his horse had excellent paces, and the
first few miles, while the road was well frequented, our traveller spent
in congratulating himself on his good fortune. On Finchley Common the
traveller met a clergyman driving a one-horse chaise. There was nobody
within sight, and the horse by his manoeuvre plainly intimated what had
been the profession of his former master. Instead of passing the chaise,
he laid his counter close up to it, and stopped it, having no doubt that
his rider would embrace so fair an opportunity of exercising his vocation.
The clergyman, under the same mistake, produced his purse unasked, and
assured the inoffensive and surprised horseman that it was unnecessary to
draw his pistol. The traveller rallied his horse, with apologies to the
gentleman, whom he had unwillingly affrighted, and pursued his journey.
The horse next made the same suspicious approach to a coach, from the
windows of which a blunderbuss was levelled, with denunciations of death
and destruction to the rider, who was innocent of all offence in deed or
word. In short, after his life had been once or twice endangered by the
suspicions to which his horse's conduct gave rise, and his liberty as
often threatened by peace officers, who were disposed to apprehend him as
a notorious highwayman, he found himself obliged to part with the animal
for a mere trifle, and to purchase at a dearer rate a horse of less
external figure and action, but of better moral habits.





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