Lands of the Slave and the Free eBook

Henry Murray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 564 pages of information about Lands of the Slave and the Free.

Then, followed the usual race-course accompaniments of cheers, squabbles, growling, laughing, betting, drinking, &c.  The public were not convinced.  Mac was still the favourite; the champion chaplet was not thus hastily to be plucked from his hitherto victorious brows.  Half an hour’s rest brought them again to the starting-post, where Mac repeated his old tactics, and with similar bad success.  Nothing could ruffle Tacony, or produce one false step:  he flew round the course, every stride like the ricochet of a 32lb. shot; his adversary broke-up again and again, losing both his temper and his place, and barely saved his distance, as the gallant Tacony—­his rider with a slack rein, and patting him on the neck—­reached the winning-post—­time, 2m. 25s.  The shouts were long and loud; such time had never been made before by fair trotting, and Tacony evidently could have done it in two, if not three seconds less.  The fastest pacing ever accomplished before was 2m. 13s., and the fastest trotting 2m. 26s.  The triumph was complete; Tacony nobly won the victorious garland; and as long as he and his rider go together, it will take, if not a rum ’un to look at, at all events a d——­l to go, ere he be forced to resign his championship.

The race over, waggons on two wheels and waggons on four wheels, with trotters in them capable of going the mile in from 2m. 40s. to 3m. 20s., began to shoot about in every direction, and your ears were assailed on all sides with “G’lang, g’lang!” and occasionally a frantic yell, to which some Jehu would give utterance by way of making some horse that was passing him “break-up.”  Thus ended the famous race between Mac and Tac, which, by the way, gave me an opportunity of having a little fun with some of my American friends, as I condoled with them on their champion being beaten by a British subject; for, strange to say, Tac is a Canadian horse.  I therefore of course expressed the charitable wish that an American horse might be found some day equal to the task of wearing the champion trotting crown(!)—­I beg pardon, not crown, but, I suppose, cap of liberty.  I need scarce say that it is not so much the horse as the perfect teaming that produces the result; and all Tac’s training is exclusively American, and received in a place not very far from Philadelphia, from which he gets his name.  A friend gave me a lift into Philadelphia, whence the iron horse speedily bore me to the great republican Babylon, New York.

CHAPTER XVI.

Home of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Having made the necessary preparations, I again put myself behind the boiling kettle, en route to the republican Athens.  The day was intensely hot; even the natives required the windows open, and the dust being very lively, we soon became as powdered as a party going down to the Derby in the ante-railway days.  My curiosity was excited on the way, by seeing a body of men looking like a regiment of fox-hunters—­all

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Lands of the Slave and the Free from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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