EVERYBODY who cares for the beautiful or the picturesque, whether or not he be touched by the true hippic passion, must take an interest in cart horses. They are attractive and pleasant to look upon merely as animals, quite apart from the fact that you can put bits in their mouths, and cause them to expend their strength at the will and in the service of man. The generic difference in this respect between cart horses and racers is well indicated by Mr. Hamerton.
“ The race horse,” he says, “has the charms of a tail coat, of a trained pear tree, of all such superfine results of human ingenuity, but he has lost the glory of nature. Look at his straight neck, at the way he holds his head, at his eager, anxious eye, often irritable and vicious ! Breeders for the turf have succeeded in substituting the straight line for the curve, as the dominant, expressional line, a sure and scientific manner of eradicating the elements of beauty. No real artist would ever paint race horses from choice. Good artists have occasionally painted them for money. The meagre limbs, straight lines, and shiny coat have slight charm for an artist, who generally chooses either what is beautiful or what is picturesque, and the race horse is neither picturesque nor beautiful.”
Certainly there is some exaggeration here. Many thoroughbred horses are good-tempered and affectionate, and not unduly nervous. In the recent Badminton volume on Driving, there is an account of a young thoroughbred mare, that, having never been in harness before, was attached one day to a dog-cart, and driven many miles up and down hill, without showing the least fear or resistance. A thoroughbred of this character commonly has large, luminous eyes, more beautiful than those possessed by any other dumb animal. The delicately cut ear, the round, thin, quivering nostril, and even the smooth and shining coat, — these, again, are surely forms of the beautiful, though not of the picturesque. It must be remembered, too, that among thoroughbred horses there is a great variety of structure and disposition. Many of them are comparatively short in leg, with round body and curved neck. Such was the old type of thoroughbred when the Arab blood from which the present race has chiefly been derived was “ closer up,” as horsemen say.
In the main, however, Mr. Hamerton’s remarks on this point are just, and the typical thoroughbred, especially the typical English thoroughbred, is the nervous, irritable, inartistic animal that he describes.
The cart horse, on the other hand, is a common and appropriate figure in painting.
Among the minor pictures by Turner that are hung in the National Gallery at London, not the least interesting is one which represents a stout gray farm or cart horse, taking his ease in the stable, and eating hay from a well-filled rack above his head. He stands in a wide stall, heaped up with yellow straw and flooded with sunshine, so that the scene is one of equine pleasure and repose, delightful to the human eye on that account, as well as for its harmonious and beautiful coloring.
There is another homespun incident which English artists are never tired of representing. It is that of a string of farm horses, their day’s work done and night approaching, that, with the harness still upon their backs, have been ridden or led to drink at a cool, elm-shaded stream, where they stand, fetlock-deep, some slowly and luxuriously slaking their thirst, while others gaze idly about, their heads half raised above the surface of the water. This is one of those familiar though foreign sights, as to which an agreeable confusion is apt to arise in the mind of an American; for he does not always clearly remember whether he has seen them in reality or in a picture, or read about them in a novel, the truth often being that his knowledge has been derived in each of these ways. Of all equine pictures, none, I suppose, is better known than Rosa Bonheur’s Horse Fair. Her noble Percherons, drawn with fond fidelity, are perhaps the most ideal representations of cart horses in the world, and yet no exaggeration of the reality.
Almost all the accessories of the cart horse, his trappings, the uses to which he is put, the place in which he is kept, the loads that he pulls, are picturesque. Most often one thinks of him as an agricultural character, a true son of the soil, encountered drawing slowly home a huge pile of hay, or found at the plough turning up long, glistening lines of rich earth. There is nothing spick and span about his stable, but, on the contrary, it is marked by picturesque disorder, — plenty of straw about, the stalls, mangers, and roof tinted a rich brown by the long lapse of time, cobwebs hanging luxuriantly overhead, deep mows of hay, and capacious grain-chests within easy reach to hold his provender.
Nor does the cart horse fail to harmonize with his surroundings in the city, where he receives more grain and more grooming than are obtainable on the farm. His shape, though still round, is here more elegant, his neck takes a prouder curve, and his coat becomes smooth and glossy: fit servant of commerce; solid and substantial as the Bank of England ; conscious of his strength, like a merchant of indisputable credit; able to transport the wealth of the Indies from wharves to warehouses, or to draw towering piles of wool from the railroad to the factory. Smaller animals may clatter over the massive pavements of the city, but the cart horse, with his slow, sure, majestic step and proudly bent head, is its proper denizen of the equine race.
Long-established and wealthy firms do not hesitate to borrow splendor from the excellence of their cart horses. Those of the London brewers especially — the twelve Beer Kings, as they used to be called — have a world-wide reputation. Formerly, each brewer had an equine color of his own; and they were “ as particular,” says a recent writer, ” about the colors and matchings of their dray horses as of their own four-in-hands, or the court chariot pairs of their titled wives. One was celebrated for a black, the original dray-horse color; another, for a brown, a roan, a gray, or chestnut team. But at present, such is the demand for horses of this class that they are compelled to be content with any color, and to moderate the old standard of height.” The brewers’ horses, it may be remarked parenthetically, are fond of beer, but they are allowed to have it only when recovering from illness ; at such times it is of service as a tonic. Horses generally take naturally to intoxicating liquors ; beer, spirits, and more frequently wine are often administered to trotters in a long-drawn contest, and with excellent results. Champagne and soda-water is the pleasant draught which one famous driver employs on these occasions.
The “ city horses ” of Boston, used to carry off ashes and garbage, have long enjoyed a high reputation for strength and beauty, and the excellent condition which they almost invariably show testifies to the horsemanship of the official, whoever he may be, having them in charge. There are also, in every city, many particular firms honorably distinguished by their excellent cart horses ; such, for example, as a noted patentmedicine house, whose stalwart four-inhands may be supposed to symbolize the strength of their drugs. Twenty years ago there was a cigar and candy peddler traversing the mountainous region in the northwestern part of Massachusetts, who had a large, gayly painted wagon, drawn by four stout, handsome gray horses, in which he took a proper pride ; but one night the whole establishment perished in the flames, the stable where the peddler put up having taken fire, and the team was never replaced.
There is an affinity between the lighter kinds of cart horse, many of whom, such as the Percheron, are very active, and the war horse. The famous Justin Morgan, of whom I have spoken in a former article, founder of the great road-horse family, was not only the best weight-puller of his time, besides being a fast runner, but, though a small animal, was also much in request at musters and other military occasions, on account of his superb carriage and commanding appearance. A horse of this kind, but weighing two or three hundred pounds more, would have made an ideal charger for a knight of the Middle Ages. The knight himself, his armor, and the armor worn by the horse were estimated at nearly or quite four hundred pounds. In fact, so heavy and cumbersome were the horseman’s accoutrements that two squires were often needed to exalt him to the saddle, and, once overthrown, it was difficult for him to rise without assistance. The suffocation of some hapless contestant who had the ill luck to fall upon his stomach was a not uncommon incident of a passage at arms. To carry a knight in full armor required a beast of great size and strength, and doubtless, like the modern fire-engine horse, he was most usefully employed at one of two gaits, a walk or a handgallop. The knight did not ride him, as a rule, except when some martial business was on hand. At other times, his squire bestrode the war horse, the knight himself traveling more quickly and comfortably upon his jennet.
By most of the authorities the ‘‘ great horse,” or war horse, of the Middle Ages is identified with the old black cart horse, or shire horse, of England. A recent work by Mr. Walter Gilbey is entitled The Old English War Horse or Shire Horse, thus assuming that they were one and the same ; and the late Mr. Walsh was also of this opinion, for he wrote as follows: “From time immemorial this country has possessed a heavy and comparatively misshapen animal, the more active of which [sic] were formerly used as chargers or pack-horses, while the others were devoted to the plough; ” and he gives the following unflattering account of him : “ In color almost invariably black, with a great fiddle-case in place of a head, and feet concealed in long masses of hair depending from misshapen legs, he united flat sides, upright shoulders, mean and narrow hips, and very drooping quarters.” Such was the shire horse, — so called because he was raised almost exclusively in the shires or midland counties. Shire horses are still bred, but they have been improved by crossing with Flemish stallions. The London dray horses are mainly shire horses, and since the shire horse is the only purely English cart horse, — that is, the only one of English origin and raised on English soil, — it is fashionable in England to speak of “ shire horses,” and never of “cart horses.” Nevertheless, when a society was formed in that country, some years ago, to improve the breed of agricultural horses “ not being Clydesdales or Suffolks,” the name “ English Cart Horse Society ” was taken. The fact is that hunters, coachers, and race horses are now raised more numerously than cart horses in the shires, and hence the term “ shire horse ” is inaccurate as well as somewhat vague. The old black cart horse, or shire horse, is now most nearly represented by the black horse of Lincolnshire.
One hesitates to conclude that the beautiful, high-mettled charger of the Middle Ages, as he has been described by poets and romancers, was really a dull, ugly beast, with “misshapen legs,” and having “a great fiddle-case in place of a head.” Was it such a steed that carried the Disinherited Knight in his encounter with Brian de Bois Guilbert ? Sir Waiter Scott relates that “the trumpets had no sooner given the signal than the champions vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning, and closed in the centre of the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt; ” and the charger of the Disinherited Knight is described as “ wheeling with the agility of a hawk upon the wing.” It is possible that the English shire horse, or war horse, was improved by crosses of Arab blood, for Arab horses might have been brought into England at the time of the Crusades. Isaac of York, it will be remembered, supplied Ivanhoe with the horse and armor which he used when he overthrew Brian de Bois Guilbert, and awarded the crown of beauty to Rowena; and the thrifty Jew exclaimed to Rebecca, as they gazed upon the conflict, “ Ah, the good horse that was brought all the long way from Barbary, he takes no more care of him than if he were a wild ass’s colt! ”
In this, however, Isaac of York must have been misreported by Sir Walter. No Barbary horse or Eastern horse of any description was ever big or strong enough to carry a knight in armor, although, as I have suggested, it is possible that the native horse of England obtained some beauty, grace, and agility by an infusion of Eastern blood.
Mr. Gilbey, so far as I know, is the only writer who has endeavored to prove, though others have asserted, the identity of the war horse of the Middle Ages with the old black cart horse of England, and he relies almost entirely upon the evidence of coins and other graven representations. But in such figures much must be allowed for the taste or caprice of the artist, and I suspect that Mr. Gilbey’s series of coins might be impugned by others. For the period beginning about A. D. 1500 he shows the famous white horse of Albert Dürer, that has indeed the characteristics of a cart horse. But in the College of Arms there is preserved an illustrated roll, known as Tournament Roll, commemorating a grand tournament which took place at Westminster, February 12, A. D. 1510, in honor of Queen Katharine; and the war horse represented by this roll is a much finer beast than Albert Dürer’s. He has a beautifully curved neck, a small, well-shaped head, and no long hairs at the fetlock joints. This picture may of course be idealized, but it is as good historical evidence as the coins produced by Mr. Gilbey. The whole matter is one of not very profitable conjecture, but it is worth remembering that the Middle Ages, during which the “ great horse ” was in daily use, constituted a long period, and it is hardly credible that in this time a true war horse should not have been developed, more active, spirited, and beautiful than the shire horse. One writer, indeed, of a date as early as the sixteenth century, speaks of his high action, —which would be natural in such an animal as I have imagined, but which was never seen in the shire horses.
But, however this may be, the shire horse is a beast of great antiquity, though much improved during the past two centuries. In fact, there are some living members of the breed whose pedigrees can be traced back for at least one hundred and fifty years, and this is more than can be said of any other existing cart-horse family. One reason for the improvement is a mechanical discovery as to the muscular action of the cart horse. It used to be thought that he did his work by perpetually tumbling against his collar, as it were, thus bringing his weight to bear, and consequently that his fore quarters ought to be as heavy as possible ; it was no harm if his shoulder bone were straight, and as for his hind quarters, it did not matter much what they were. But this notion has been exploded, and it is now perceived that a cart horse pulls by muscle rather than by weight, and more by the muscles of his hind quarters and legs than by those of his fore quarters. The structure of a cart horse should therefore bear a general resemblance to that of a racer or trotter, except that his legs should be shorter, his shoulder a little less oblique, and his rump not higher than the withers. The Saturday Review once made some excellent observations on this subject, as follows: “ There are many points, indeed, which good horses of nearly all breeds share in common. For instance, the following descriptions, taken at random from different newspapers: he is ‘ thick, level, and strong ; ’ he ‘ stands on short, wellformed limbs, and, like several good horses, he sports curls of hair on his fetlocks ; ’ ‘ he is of good substance, deepbodied, and set off by those powerful yet sloping shoulders,’ etc.; ‘ he has also a deep body, with great muscular development in his rump, quarters, thighs, and gaskins,’ — although they might equally apply to certain cart horses, were one and all written of race horses. . . . An excellent judge, again, once wrote that horses ‘ with strong backs and loins, wide hips, and great muscular quarters, with sound and well-shaped hocks, generally win,’ — not prizes at agricultural shows, as cart stallions, but races at Ascot. " Another English breed of cart horses, or, in this case, more properly farm horses, was the Suffolk Punch, which once became almost extinct, but has lately been revived in a somewhat different form. These were sorrel horses, smaller and more active than the shire horse, and noted for their docility. They stood low in front, and were disfigured by very upright shoulders ; but they were round and stout, and had good heads. Readers of Sandford and Merton will recall the delight of Harry when his father, Farmer Sandford, received the present of a span of Suffolk Punches from Mr. Merton, progenitor of the wicked but repentant Tommy. Harry rushes into the house to announce the arrival of two strange and beautiful horses, whereupon, says the tale, the elder Sandford, who, in all other respects, is represented as a sedate and even phlegmatic person, “started up, overset the liquor and the table, and, making a hasty apology to Mr. Merton, ran out to see these wonderful animals. Presently he returned in equal admiration with his son. ‘ Master Merton,’ said he, ‘I did not think you had been so good a judge of a horse. I suppose they are a new purchase which you want to have my opinion upon, and I can assure you they are the true Suffolk sorrels, the first breed of working horses in the kingdom ; and these are some of the best of their kind.’ ” Being undeceived, he at first refused the gift, but was finally persuaded to accept it, to the great content of both Harry and Tommy.
The stanchness of the Suffolk Punches was proverbial, and they would have been called in the language of the modern sale stable “dead-down, true pullers.” This quality was often displayed at pulling matches, where the competing teams would fall upon their knees at a given signal (the ground being strewed with straw or sand), and in that position move a great weight. The only account I have ever seen of the origin of this breed states that it was formed by crossing Norman stallions with the Suffolk cart mare.
Perhaps the most popular breed of cart horses now used in England is the Clydesdale. This, as the name implies, is a Scotch family, but its origin is obscure, though tradition ascribes it to a cross made by an unascertained Duke of Hamilton between the draught mares of the country and some Dutch stallions. Clydesdales, with the exception of the Percherons, have more “ quality ” — that is, finer characteristics and a better bred appearance — than any other cart horses. Their coat is more silky, their ears are smaller, their heads and necks more beautiful, and the whole body is more finely turned. Their faults are a tendency to be too long in the leg, somewhat light-waisted, and, occasionally, a little hot in temper. Their color is bay, brown, or black. Some of these horses are very beautiful, and very large also. In Cassell’s Book of the Horse, there is an excellent colored illustration of Prince Albert, a magnificent Clydesdale stallion, standing seventeen hands high.
The only peer of the Clydesdale is the Percheron. This horse, as everybody knows, is usually gray in color, though sometimes black, and, but less frequently, chestnut or bay. The Percheron stands on somewhat shorter legs than the Clydesdale, and is more compactly built, his head and ears being as fine as, and commonly even smaller than, those of his rival. He carries a long, thick mane, but wears less hair than the latter on his fetlock joints. In England hairy fetlocks are considered a mark of beauty ; but they retain both dirt and moisture, and consequently, unless carefully cleaned, produce “ scratches.”
Nothing is certainly known as to the origin of the Percheron, though some writers assert that he is descended in part, at least, from Arab stock. There is no positive proof of this, and the assumption rests chiefly upon an undoubted resemblance between the Arab and the Percheron, notwithstanding the great difference between them in size and weight. The Percheron has the same intelligent and gentle disposition as the Arab, and, like him, a compact body, an arched neck, large eyes, and a tail well set on. There seems also to be a tendency in the breed to revert to a smaller type ; some very fine Percheron stallions stand no more than 15 hands high, and the best of them rarely exceed 16½, or at the most 16¾. This tendency would indicate a derivation from smaller ancestors ; and it makes the Percheron a better cross than the Clydesdale, when the object is to obtain a road horse or a light cart horse. The Percheron’s trot also is faster than that of the Clydesdale, which constitutes another reason for his superiority in this direction. The Clydesdale, on the other hand, being a more rapid walker than the Percheron, and being unlikely to breed smaller animals than himself, makes the better cross when the object is to produce a heavy cart horse.
Many stories are told of feats performed by Percherons. A pair of them, it is said, once took an omnibus around a mile-track in four minutes.
M. du Hays, equerry to Napoleon III., relates some astonishing performances in France by Percherons, of which the following is the most remarkable: “In 1845, a gray mare accomplished this match : harnessed to a traveling-tilbury, she started from Bernay at the same time as the mail-carrier from Rouen to Bordeaux, and arrived before it at Alenҫon ; having made fifty-five and three fifths miles, over a hilly and difficult road, in four hours and twenty-four minutes.”
Another case vouched for by M. du Hays is thus reported : “ A gray mare, seven years old, in 1864, harnessed to a tilbury, traveled fifty-eight miles and back on two consecutive days, going at a trot and without being touched by the whip. The following time was made : the first day, the distance was trotted in four hours, one minute, and thirtyfive seconds ; the second day, in four hours, one minute, and thirty seconds. The last thirteen and three quarters miles were made in one hour, although at about the forty-first mile the mare was obliged to pass her stable to finish the distance.”
The finest Percheron that I ever saw was a coal-black stallion, not of great size, high-headed, compactly built, with flowing mane and tail. This fellow had short, quick, smooth action, exactly like that of the Morgan roadster family, and he was said — doubtless truly — to be capable of trotting ten miles an hour with ease. The resemblance between the Morgan and the Arabian horse has often been remarked upon, and it was honestly come by, for the English thoroughbred horse that sired the original Justin Morgan was of Arab descent. In shape, also, as well as in action, there is again a resemblance between the Morgans and the Percherons ; and so, on the whole, it seems not unreasonable to infer that the New England roadster and the French cart horse have a common origin, both being descended, not wholly, but largely, from the “ primitive horse,” as the Arab is sometimes called.
No other breed, except possibly English half-bred animals, equals the Percheron in ability to draw a considerable burden at a fast pace. The post and diligence horses formerly used in France were Percherons. From Boulogne to Paris the pace was ten miles an hour, although the road was paved all the way. The harness and reins were of rope, and the hostlers in charge of the big gray horses that did the work were women. These animals, before being put to, or after they had been taken out, would often engage in a fight in the inn-yard, biting and kicking each other viciously ; and on these occasions the woman-hostler, who was quite equal to the emergency, would quickly appear upon the scene, and, with a few well-directed kicks from her wooden sabots, put an end to the combat. The gray stallions that have for many years drawn the omnibuses of Paris were always of Percheron, or of the kindred Norman stock.
It has frequently occurred to me that a family of superior road, and perhaps coach, horses might be developed by crossing the Percheron with the original Arab breed. Horses thus bred could not fail to be sound, tough, gentle, and, I should think, handsome. Certainly, if the Percheron is really derived from the Arab, such a cross would give size to the latter without introducing any element so foreign as to result in a hybrid, heterogeneous sort of animal. The cross between the thoroughbred and the cart horse does not usually turn out well ; occasionally, to be sure, the produce preserves the strength and size of one family with the action and courage of the other, some noted hunters having been bred in this way. More often, however, the half-bred horse of this description is a slab-sided, nerveless beast, of little good for any purpose. But between the Percheron and the Arab there is an affinity sufficient to prevent such a result from their union. In one instance, at least, this has been tried, Mr, Parker, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, having bred a colt by the Jennifer Arabian, out of Rosa Bonheur, an imported Percheron mare. The horse thus bred is described as “a wiry, handsome colt, who was sold to go to Oregon, where he proved a valuable sire.”
Large numbers of Clydesdales, and Percherons in still greater abundance, have been imported to this country, but, unfortunately, the demand, especially at the West, has been for very big horses. The consequence is that the Percheron family has been corrupted on its native soil, Flemish and other inferior blood being introduced, in order to get the immense size which was wanted for the foreign, and particularly for the American market. Many of the Percherons exhibited and winning prizes at our horse shows are of this type, — huge, overgrown, lethargic creatures, ungainly, slow, and wanting in endurance. The smaller horses of both the Clydesdale and Percheron breeds, the latter especially, are almost invariably the better. M. du Hays gives the height of the true Percheron stallion as ranging from 14¾ to 16 hands, but the height of Percheron and so-called Percheron stallions imported to this country varies from 15½ to 17 hands. In weight they vary from 1400 to 2200 pounds; the average being about 1700. The mares average about 1550 pounds in weight, and range from 15 to 16¾ hands in height.1 The size and weight of the Clydesdale importations are about the same, whereas, if the best and purest of both breeds were imported, the Percherons would be the smaller. Fashion and caprice, instead of knowledge and judgment, are apt to determine the characteristics even of a cart horse. In the West, as I have indicated, elephantine animals are preferred; and in New York the favorite type of cart horse is a big, rangy, high-standing beast. In Boston, on the other hand, shorter-legged, broadchested, round - bodied, short-backed, quick - moving horses are sought for; and this type is undoubtedly move efficient and lasting, besides being, as I think, a great deal more picturesque.
Most of the cart horses used in this country are raised at the West, though many also come from Pennsylvania. It is doubtful if they could be bred with profit in New England, but perhaps it would be profitable for farmers at the East to buy Percheron, or half - bred Percheron, or Clydesdale colts at the age of two or three, work them moderately, and sell them again at the age of five or six. Under this system, the horses would come to the market in much harder, better condition than the corn-fed animals of the West, and consequently would bring a better price. Upon the farm, the colt would be able to perform enough labor to pay his way; and the difference between his value at three and his value at six years of age would be clear profit. It is in this manner that Percherons are brought up ; the farmers who buy them from the breeders, farmers also, working them moderately until they are of an age to be sold. The enormous shire horses, that are used in London as dray horses, receive their education in the same way. “ The traveler,” says an English writer, “has probably wondered to see four of these enormous animals in a line before a plough, on no very heavy soil, and where two lighter horses would have been quite sufficient. The farmer is training them for their future destiny; and he does right in not requiring the exertion of all their strength, for their bones are not yet perfectly formed nor their joints knit, and were he to urge them too severely he would probably injure and deform them. By the gentle and constant exercise of the plough he is preparing them for that continued and equable pull at the collar which is afterwards so necessary.”
In England it is customary to use heavy shire horses on the farm, and they are of an almost incredible slowness ; so slow are they, in fact, that William Day 2 seems almost to be justified in his assertion that agriculture in England might be revolutionized simply by increasing the efficiency of the farm horse. In that country, a team of horses and a man are considered to have done a fair day’s work if they have ploughed three quarters of an acre, and more than this is seldom, if ever, accomplished. In the United States, on the other hand, the ordinary stint is about an acre and a half: just double what it is in England. Day estimates that in drawing a load of a ton the English farm horse walks at the rate of one mile and a half an hour, whereas a coach horse, in a fast coach, drawing exactly the same weight (but not covering more than nine miles in a day), travels at the rate of eleven miles an hour. A more exact comparison can be made with van or furniture-wagon horses. Four of these will travel twentythree miles in a day, hauling six tons, at the rate of three miles per hour: just double the speed of the farm horse, that draws one ton instead of a ton and a half, which would be the share of a van horse in a team, and goes fourteen miles instead of twenty-three. In ploughing, the cart or shire horse walks even slower, doing but one and one fourth miles in the hour, and this although the draught is estimated at only three and three fourths hundredweight. “ Is it any wonder, then,” exclaims the writer whom I have just mentioned, “that we should so often see the poor creatures with staring coats and shivering with cold when dawdling along against this weighty draught, or that the ploughman, wrapped up in a top-coat that might resist the rigors of a Siberian winter, creeps after them, as frigid and benumbed an object as the animals themselves ! ” He also tells the following incident, vouching for its truth :
“ A farmer who lived at Longstock, near Stockbridge, many years ago, was one day walking about his farm with a facetious friend. They noticed a plough, with horses and man, in the middle of a field, and the friend suggested that it was standing still. The farmer declared it was moving, and a dispute arose and ran high between them as to which was the case. To settle the question, they hit upon the expedient of getting a foldshore, and set it up in a line with the horses’ heads and some conspicuous object beyond. But the ploughman now observed them, and, suspecting what they were about, became troubled in conscience, and whipped up his horses, which then quickened their pace, so that the fact that they were really moving became obvious : and,” says the writer, “ we may see examples of the same sluggishness every day of our lives.”
In the United States, in the eastern part at least, the farm horse can hardly be called a cart horse, for he is comparatively light in build. It is in the city that we find the cart horse in his noblest form and highest condition, and there he will doubtless continue, until the warehouses crumble to dust and grass grows in the highway. The car horse is fast disappearing; and every lover of dumb animals will rejoice that this is so, for the electric current that invisibly and noiselessly takes his place has no capacity for suffering. The heaving flanks, the tortured mouth, the nervous eye, of the car horse; the excruciating sound of his iron-shod hoofs slipping and clashing over the pavement in a vain attempt to start a heavy load, — these will soon be things of the past; and the animal that was but one of a thousand, that never received a kind word or a caress, that sweated and strained and wore himself out in the service of a heartless and impersonal master, will have been released by Science. He will soon become but a memory in those very streets where the cart horse, more fortunate and more lovable animal, seems destined to walk for centuries yet in proud security.
H. C. Merwin.