Page:Black Beauty (1877).djvu/73

This page has been validated.

and he wants a man to work with him and get into his ways, who would be able, when the old man was pensioned off, to step into his place. He would have eighteen shillings a week at first, a stable suit, a driving suit, a bedroom over the coach-house, and a boy under him. Sir Clifford is a good master, and if you could get the place, it would be a good start for you. I don't want to part with you, and if you left us, I know John would lose his right hand."

"That I should, sir," said John, "but I would not stand in his light for the world."

"How old are you, James?" said master.

"Nineteen next May, sir."

"That's young; what do you think, John?"

"Well, sir, it is young: but he is as steady as a man, and is strong, and well grown, and though he has not had much experience in driving, he has a light firm hand, and a quick eye, and he is very careful, and I am quite sure no horse of his will be ruined for want of having his feet and shoes looked after."

"Your word will go the furthest, John," said the master, "for Sir Clifford adds in a postcript, 'If I could find a man trained by your John, I should like him better than any other;' so James, lad, think it over, talk to your mother at dinner time, and then let me know what you wish."

In a few days after this conversation, it was fully settled that James should go to Clifford Hall in a month or six weeks, as it suited his master, and in the mean time he was to get all the practice in driving that