"No! very gently."
"Then just put your hand here," said he, passing his hand over my neck and shoulder; "he is as warm and damp as a horse just come up from grass. I advise you to look into your stable a little more. I hate to be suspicious, and, thank heaven, I have no cause to be, for I can trust my men, present or absent; but there are mean scoundrels, wicked enough to rob a dumb beast of his food; you must look into it." And turning to his man who had come to take me, "Give this horse a right good feed of bruised oats, and don't stint him."
"Dumb beasts!" yes, we are; but if I could have spoken, I could have told my master where his oats went to. My groom used to come every morning about six o'clock, and with him a little boy, who always had a covered basket with him. He used to go with his father into the harness room where the corn was kept, and I could see them when the door stood ajar, fill a little bag with oats out of the bin, and then he used to be off.
Five or six mornings after this, just as the boy had left the stable, the door was pushed open and a policeman walked in, holding the child tight by the arm; another policoman followed, and locked the door on the inside, saying, "Shew me the place where your father keeps his rabbits' food."
The boy looked very frightened and began to cry; but there was no escape, and he led the way to the cornbin. Here, the policeman found another empty bag like that which was found full of oats in the boy's basket.