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A Horse's Letter., Bruce Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 780, 25 February 1876
A Horse's Letter.
(From the ' Christian Age'.) The following is from the pen of the Rev. De Witt Talinage, D.D, My dear gentlemen and ladiep, — I am aware that this is the first time a horee has ever taken upon himself to address any member of the human family. True, a second cousin of our household once addressed Balaam, but hie voice for public speaking was ao poo? that he got uamercifully whacked, and never tried it again. We have endured in silence all the oatrages of many thousands of yearp, but feel it now time to make remonstrance. Recent attentions have made us aware of our worth. During the epizootic epidemic, we had at our stables innumerable calls frpin doctors, and judges, and clergymen. Everybody asked about our health. Q-roorosmen bathed our throats, and eat up with us nighta, and furnished us with pocket-handkerchiefs. For the first time in years we had quiet Sundays. We overheard a conversation that made us think that the commerce and the fashion of the world waited the news from the stable. Telegraphs announced our condition across the land arid under the sea, and we came to believe that this world was originally made for the horse, and man for his groom. But things are going back again where they were. Yesterday I was driven fifteen miles, jerked in the mouth, struck on the back, watered when 1 was too warm, and instead of the six quarts of oats that my driver ordered for me, I got two. Last week X waa driven to a wedding, a.nd heard
music, and quick feet, and laughter, that made tae chandeliers rattle, while I stood imblanfceted in the cold. Sometimes the doctor hires me, and I stand at twenty doors waiting for invalids to rehearse all their paias. Then the minister hires me, and I have to stay till Mrs Tittle-Tattle has time to tell the dominie all the disagreeable things of the parish. The other night, after our owner had gone home, and the ostlers were asleep, we held an indignation meeting in our livery-stable. " Old Sorrel " presided, and there was a long line of vice-presi-dents and secretaries, mottled bays, and dappled grays, and chestnuts, and Shetland, and Arabian ponies. " Charlie," one of the old inhabitants of the stable, began a speech, amid great stamping on the part of the audience. But he soon broke down for lack of wind. For five years he had been suffering with the "heaves." Then " Pompey," a venerable nag, took his place, and though he had nothing to say, he held out hia spavined leg, which dramatic posture excited the utmost euLliuaiasm of the audience. "Fanny Shetland," the property of a lady, tried to damage the meeting by saying that horses had no wrongs. She said, : " Just look at my embroidered blanket. I never go out when the weather is bad. Everybody who comes near pats mfe on the shoulder. "What can be more beautiful than going out In a sunshiny afternoon to make an excursion through the park, amid the clatter of the hoofs of the stallions ? 1 walk, or ; pace, or canter^ or gallop, as I choose. Think of the beautiful i life we lead, with the prospect, .after our easy work is done, of going up and joining Elijah's horses of fire." " Next I took the floor, and said that! was born in a warm, snug Pennsylvania barn ; was^ on my father's side, descended from Bucephalus ; on my mother's side, from a steed that Queen Elizabeth rode in a steeple-chase. My youth was passed in clover pastures, and under trusses of sweet-smelling hay. I flung my heels in glee at the farmer when he came to catch me. But on a dark day I was overdriven, i and my joints stiffened, and my fortunes went down, and my whole family was sold. My brother, with head down and sprung in the knees, pulls the street-car. My sister makes her living on the towpath, hearing the canal boys swear. My aunt died of the epizootic. My uncle — blind, and afflicted, with the bota, the ring-bone, and the spring-halt —wanders about the common, trying to persuade someone to shoot him. And here I stand, old and sick, to cry out against the wrongs of horses — the saddles that gall, the spurs that prick, the snaffles that pinch, the loads that kill. At this, a vicious-looking nag, with mane half pulled out, and a "watch-eye," and feet " interfering," and a tail from which had been subtracted enough hair to make six " waterfalls," squealed out the suggestion that it was time for a rebellion, and she moved that we take the field, and that all those that could kick should kick, and that all those that could bite should bite, and that all those who could bolt should bolt, and all those who could run away should run away ; and that thus we fill the land with broken waggons, and smashed heads, and teach our oppressors that the day of retribution has come, and that our down-trodden race will no more be trifled with. When this resolution was put to the vote, not one said "Aye," but all cried " Nay ! nay !" and for the space of half an hour kept on neighing. Instead of this harsh measure, it was voted that, by the hand of Henry Bergh, President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, I whould write this letter of remonstrance. My dear gentlemen and ladies, remember that we, like yourselves, have moods, and cannot always be frisky and cheerful. You do not slap your grandmother in the face because, this morning, she does not feel so well as usual : why then do you slash us ? Before you pound us, ask whether we have been up late the night before, or had our meals at irregular hour?, or whether our spirits have been depressed by being kicked by a drunken ostler. We have only about ten or twelve years in which to enjoy ourselves, and then we go out to be shot into nothingness. Take care of us while you may. Job's horse was " clothed with thunder," but all we ask is a plain blanket. When we are sick, put us in a horscpital. Do ( not strike us when we stumble or scare. Suppose you were in the harness and I were in the waggon, I had the whip and you the traces, what an ardent advocate you would be for kindness to the irrational creation ! Do not let the blacksmith, drive the nail into the quick when he shoes me, or burn my fetlocks with a hot file. Do not mistake the " dead-eye" that nature put on- my foreleg for a wart to be exterminated. Do not cut off my tail short iu fly-time. Keep the North wiud out of our Btables. Care for us at some other time than during the epizoptics, so that we may see your kindness is not selfish. My dear friends, our interests are mutual. I am a silent partner in your business. Under my sound hoof is the diamond of national prosperity. Beyond rny nostril the world's progress may not go. With thrift-, and wealth, and comfort, I daily race neck and neck. Be kind to me, if you want me to be useful [to you. And near be the day when the red horse of war shall be hocked and impotent, and the pule horse of death . shall be hurled back' on his haunches, but the white horse of peace, ,and joy, and triumph sbal) pass on, its rider with face like the sun, all nations following I Your most obedient, servant, ChaioiEl Bucephalus.
A Horse's Letter., Bruce Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 780, 25 February 1876
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