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a web of many textures

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Page 110


It is very amusing, during a trotting season, to observe
the horse-bent of conversation at the grounds,
and outside, among those, small and large, who are
interested in horses. It seems as if every man was
thinking horse, and by sympathy had become half horse.
Indeed, one might be excused for watching the mouths
of those speaking with the expectation of having them
neigh like horses, as those who come from sections
where lobsters are caught become so imbued with lobster
as to partake of the peculiarities of that excellent
fish. Passing round from group to group, it appears
like hearkening to the same conversation, divided into
sections. In each section the same matters are discussed:
horse genealogy, horse manners, horse points,
horse riding, and horse raising — the latter so frequently
that a general equine resurrection seems the main point
of horse belief. One would think, at such times, that
there was no other animal in the world than the horse,
and that the whole of human progression, with its
weight of moral and social interests, was to be helped
along on horseback, or upon a spider-web vehicle, weighing
but about seventy-five pounds. A man who cannot
talk horse, then and there, is floored — is nowhere — is
obsolete — is done up. Though he should speak with
the tongues of angels and of men and have no knowledge
of horse, he is as nothing. The merest tyro of
the curry-comb turns up his nose at him. It is well to
affect horse, at such times, though one may not know
the mane from the tail, or the snaffle from the side-saddle.
Some pursue this course, and win a great reputation
by listening and looking. Looking at a horse
appreciatingly and admiringly is about half equal to


Page 111
speaking about him, and some have by this course been
able to pass as respectably under the eyes of the initiate
as though they were born and educated in a stable.