“You didn’t buy of Sam Nichols, did you?”
“No; his horse did not suit me.”
“You haven’t any other in your eye, have you?” asked Mr. Holden.
“Then, hadn’t you better look at mine again?” he said, persuasively.
“It would be of no use.”
“If the price is any objection,” said Abner, insinuatingly, “I don’t know but I might say a leetle less, though the animal’s wuth more’n I ask for it.”
“It isn’t the price that stands in the way, Mr. Holden.”
“What is it, then? Sam Nichols hain’t been slandering me, I hope. If he has, I’ll be even with him.”
“Spare your anger against Sam Nichols. He said nothing against you; though I believe you warned me against him.”
“Yes, I did. I felt it my duty to caution you, so you might not be overreached by him.”
“You prefer to overreach me yourself,” said the other, quietly.
Abner started, and changed color.
“What do you mean?” he said. “Who told you I wanted to overreach you?”
“Why, this is the way the matter stands. I asked you for a good family horse, such as my wife might drive with safety. Didn’t you understand me so?”
“And you tried to sell me an ill-tempered brute, blind of one eye, for an extortionate price. Can you deny it?”
“Somebody’s been telling you a pack of lies,” said Abner, hoarsely.
“I don’t think they are lies. I have every reason to think they are true. By the way, what is the animal’s name?”
“Spitfire,” said Abner, rather reluctantly.
“A good name for a family horse,” said the stranger, sarcastically.
“Where did you learn all this?” demanded Abner. “Who’s been slandering the horse?”
“I got my information at your place, from one who ought to know.”
A light dawned upon Abner Holden’s mind.
“Herbert told him,” muttered Abner to himself. “That cursed boy has spoiled my bargain, and he shall smart for it.”
In a furious rage, he retraced his steps homeward, breathing threats of vengeance dire against our hero.
Abner Holden’s disappointment was excessive at the sudden falling through of his horse trade, and his feeling of anger against Herbert for his agency in the matter was in proportion to his disappointment. His chief thought, as he hurried home from the tavern, was that he would make the boy smart for his interference.
“I’ll give him a good flogging,” muttered Abner to himself, and he felt that this would be some slight compensation for the injury and slight loss which Herbert had caused him to sustain.
“I’ll teach him to spoil my bargains,” he said, while his face wore an expression decidedly ugly. “I reckon he won’t do it a second time.”