Even the fair Julia was partially included in this system; and, under the instructions of old Christy, has become one of the best horsewomen in the country. The Squire says it is better than all the cosmetics and sweeteners of the breath that ever were invented. He extols the horsemanship of the ladies in former times, when Queen Elizabeth would scarcely suffer the rain to stop her accustomed ride. “And then think,” he will say, “what nobler and sweeter beings it made them. What a difference must there be, both in mind and body, between a joyous, high-spirited dame of those days, glowing with health and exercise, freshened by every breeze that blows, seated loftily and gracefully on her saddle, with plume on head, and hawk on hand, and her descendant of the present day, the pale victim of routs and ball-rooms, sunk languidly in one corner of an enervating carriage.”
The Squire’s equestrian system has been attended with great success; for his sons, having passed through the whole course of instruction without breaking neck or limb, are now healthful, spirited, and active, and have the true Englishman’s love for a horse. If their manliness and frankness are praised in their father’s hearing, he quotes the old Persian maxim, and says, they have been taught “to ride, to shoot, and to speak the truth.”
It is true, the Oxonian has now and then practised the old gentleman’s doctrines a little in the extreme. He is a gay youngster, rather fonder of his horse than his book, with a little dash of the dandy; though the ladies all declare that he is “the flower of the flock.” The first year that he was sent to Oxford, he had a tutor appointed to overlook him, a dry chip of the university. When he returned home in the vacation, the Squire made many inquiries about how he liked his college, his studies, and his tutor.
“Oh, as to my tutor, sir, I’ve parted with him some time since.”
“You have! and, pray, why so?”
“Oh, sir, hunting was all the go at our college, and I was a little short of funds; so I discharged my tutor, and took a horse, you know.”
“Ah, I was not aware of that, Tom,” said the Squire, mildly.
When Tom returned to college, his allowance was doubled, that he might be enabled to keep both horse and tutor.
I will now begin to sigh, read poets,
look pale, go neatly, and be
most apparently in love.
I should not be surprised, if we should have another pair of turtles at the Hall; for Master Simon has informed me, in great confidence, that he suspects the general of some design upon the susceptible heart of Lady Lillycraft. I have, indeed, noticed a growing attention and courtesy in the veteran towards her ladyship; he softens very much in her company, sits by her at table, and entertains her with long stories about Seringapatam, and pleasant anecdotes of the Mulligatawney club. I have even seen him present her with a full-blown rose from the hot-house, in a style of the most captivating gallantry, and it was accepted with great suavity and graciousness; for her ladyship delights in receiving the homage and attention of the sex.