Trinket’s Colt by E. Somerville and Martin Ross
From “Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.”
It was petty sessions day in Skebawn, a cold, grey
day in February. A case of trespass had dragged its
burden of cross-summonses and cross-swearing far into
the afternoon, and when I left the bench my head was
singing from the bellowings of the attorneys, and the
smell of their clients was heavy upon my palate.
The streets still testified to the fact that it was market
day, and I evaded with difficulty the sinuous course
of carts full of soddenly screwed people, and steered
an equally devious one for myself among the groups
anchored round the doors of the public-houses.
Skebawn possesses, among its legion of public-houses,
one establishment which timorously, and almost imperceptibly,
proffers tea to the thirsty. I turned in there,
as was my custom on court days, and found the little
dingy den, known as the Ladies’ Coffee Room, in the
occupancy of my friend Mr. Florence McCarthy Knox,
who was drinking strong tea and eating buns with
serious simplicity. It was a first and quite unexpected
glimpse of that domesticity that has now become a marked
feature in his character.
“You’re the very man I wanted to see,” I said, as
I sat down beside him at the oilcloth covered table; “a
man I know in England who is not much of a judge of
character has asked me to buy him a four-year-old
down here, and as I should rather be stuck by a friend
than a dealer, I wish you’d take over the job.”
Flurry poured himself out another cup of tea, and
dropped three lumps of sugar into it in silence.
Finally he said, “There isn’t a four-year-old in this
country that I’d be seen dead with at a pig fair.”
This was discouraging, from the premier authority
on horseflesh in the district.
“But it isn’t six weeks since you told me you had the
finest filly in your stables that was ever foaled in the
County Cork,” I protested; “what’s wrong with her?”
“Oh, is it that filly?” said Mr. Knox, with a lenient
smile; “she’s gone these three weeks from me. I
swapped her and £6 for a three-year-old Ironmonger
colt, and after that I swapped the colt and £19 for that
Bandon horse I rode last week at your place, and after
that again I sold the Bandon horse for £75 to old Welply,
and I had to give him back a couple of sovereigns luck-money.
You see, I did pretty well with the filly after all.”
“Yes, yes—oh, rather,” I assented, as one dizzily
accepts the propositions of a bimetallist; “and you
don’t know of anything else——?”
The room in which we were seated was closed from
the shop by a door with a muslin-curtained window
in it; several of the panes were broken, and at this
juncture two voices, that had for some time carried on
a discussion, forced themselves upon our attention.
“Begging your pardon for contradicting you, ma’am,”
said the voice of Mrs. McDonald, proprietress of the
tea-shop, and a leading light in Skebawn Dissenting
circles, shrilly tremulous with indignation, “if the
servants I recommend you won’t stop with you, it’s no
fault of mine. If respectable young girls are set picking
grass out of your gravel, in place of their proper work,
certainly they will give warning!”
The voice that replied struck me as being a notable
one, well-bred and imperious.
“When I take a bare-footed slut out of a cabin, I
don’t expect her to dictate to me what her duties are!”
Flurry jerked up his chin in a noiseless laugh. “It’s
my grandmother!” he whispered. “I bet you Mrs.
McDonald don’t get much change out of her!”
“If I set her to clean the pig-sty I expect her to
obey me,” continued the voice in accents that would
have made me clean forty pig-stys had she desired me
to do so.
“Very well, ma’am,” retorted Mrs. McDonald, “if
that’s the way you treat your servants, you needn’t
come here again looking for them. I consider your
conduct is neither that of a lady nor a Christian!”
“Don’t you, indeed?” replied Flurry’s grandmother.
“Well, your opinion doesn’t greatly distress me, for,
to tell you the truth, I don’t think you’re much of a
“Didn’t I tell you she’d score?” murmured Flurry,
who was by this time applying his eye to the hole in
the muslin curtain. “She’s off,” he went on, returning
to his tea. “She’s a great character! She’s eighty-three,
if she’s a day, and she’s as sound on her legs
as a three-year-old! Did you see that old shandrydan
of hers in the street a while ago, and a fellow on the
box with a red beard on him like Robinson Crusoe?
That old mare that was on the near side, Trinket her name
is—is mighty near clean bred. I can tell you her foals
are worth a bit of money.”
I had heard of old Mrs. Knox of Aussolas; indeed, I
had seldom dined out in the neighbourhood without
hearing some new story of her and her remarkable
ménage, but it had not yet been my privilege to meet
“Well, now,” went on Flurry, in his low voice, “I’ll
tell you a thing that’s just come into my head. My
grandmother promised me a foal of Trinket’s the day
I was one-and-twenty, and that’s five years ago, and deuce
a one I’ve got from her yet. You never were at
Aussolas? No, you were not. Well, I tell you the
place there is like a circus with horses. She has a couple
of score of them running wild in the woods, like deer.”
“Oh, come,” I said, “I’m a bit of a liar myself——”
“Well, she has a dozen of them, anyhow, rattling
good colts, too, some of them, but they might as well
be donkeys for all the good they are to me or any one.
It’s not once in three years she sells one, and there
she has them walking after her for bits of sugar, like a
lot of dirty lapdogs,” ended Flurry with disgust.
“Well, what’s your plan? Do you want me to make
her a bid for one of the lapdogs?”
“I was thinking,” replied Flurry, with great deliberation,
“that my birthday’s this week, and maybe I
could work a four-year-old colt of Trinket’s she has
out of her in honour of the occasion.”
“And sell your grandmother’s birthday present
“Just that, I suppose,” answered Flurry, with a
A few days afterwards a letter from Mr. Knox
informed me that he had “squared the old lady, and it
would be all right about the colt!” He further told
me that Mrs. Knox had been good enough to offer me,
with him, a day’s snipe shooting on the celebrated
Aussolas bogs, and he proposed to drive me there the
following Monday, if convenient, to shoot the Aussolas
snipe bog when they got the chance. Eight o’clock
on the following Monday morning saw Flurry, myself,
and a groom packed into a dog-cart, with portmanteaus,
gun-cases, and two rampant red setters.
It was a long drive, twelve miles at least, and a very
cold one. We passed through long tracts of pasture
country, filled for Flurry, with memories of runs, which
were recorded for me, fence by fence, in every one of
which the biggest dog-fox in the country had gone to
ground, with not two feet—measured accurately on the
handle of the whip—between him and the leading hound;
through bogs that imperceptibly melted into lakes,
and finally down and down into a valley, where the
fir-trees of Aussolas clustered darkly round a glittering
lake, and all but hid the grey roofs and pointed gables
of Aussolas Castle.
“There’s a nice stretch of a demesne for you,”
remarked Flurry, pointing downwards with the whip,
“and one little old woman holding it all in the heel of
her fist. Well able to hold it she is, too, and always
was, and she’ll live twenty years yet, if it’s only to
spite the whole lot of us, and when all’s said and done,
goodness knows how she’ll leave it!”
“It strikes me you were lucky to keep her up to her
promise about the colt,” said I.
Flurry administered a composing kick to the ceaseless
strivings of the red setters under the seat.
“I used to be rather a pet with her,” he said, after
a pause; “but mind you, I haven’t got him yet, and
if she gets any notion I want to sell him I’ll never get
him, so say nothing about the business to her.”
The tall gates of Aussolas shrieked on their hinges
as they admitted us, and shut with a clang behind us,
in the faces of an old mare and a couple of young horses,
who, foiled in their break for the excitements of the outer
world, turned and galloped defiantly on either side of
us. Flurry’s admirable cob hammered on, regardless
of all things save his duty.
“He’s the only one I have that I’d trust myself
here with,” said his master, flicking him approvingly
with the whip; “there are plenty of people afraid to come
here at all, and when my grandmother goes out driving,
she has a boy on the box with a basket full of stones to
peg at them. Talk of the dickens, here she is herself!”
A short, upright old woman was approaching, preceded
by a white woolly dog with sore eyes and a bark like
a tin trumpet; we both got out of the trap and advanced
to meet the Lady of the Manor.
I may summarise her attire by saying that she looked
as if she had robbed a scarecrow; her face was small
and incongruously refined, the skinny hand that she
extended to me had the grubby tan that bespoke the
professional gardener, and was decorated with a magnificent
diamond ring. On her head was a massive
purple velvet bonnet.
“I am very glad to meet you, Major Yeates,” she
said, with an old-fashioned precision of utterance;
“your grandfather was a dancing partner of mine in
old days at the Castle, when he was a handsome young
aide-de-camp there, and I was—you may judge for
yourself what I was.”
She ended with a startling little hoot of laughter,
and I was aware that she quite realised the world’s
opinion of her, and was indifferent to it.
Our way to the bogs took us across Mrs. Knox’s
home farm, and through a large field in which several
young horses were grazing.
“There, now, that’s my fellow,” said Flurry, pointing
to a fine-looking colt, “the chestnut with the white
diamond on his forehead. He’ll run into three figures
before he’s done, but we’ll not tell that to the ould lady!”
The famous Aussolas bogs were as full of snipe as
usual, and a good deal fuller of water than any bogs I
had ever shot before. I was on my day, and Flurry was
not, and as he is ordinarily an infinitely better snipe
shot than I, I felt at peace with the world and all men
as we walked back, wet through, at five o’clock.
The sunset had waned and a big white moon was
making the eastern tower of Aussolas look like a thing
in a fairy tale or a play when we arrived at the hall door.
An individual, whom I recognised as the Robinson
Crusoe coachman, admitted us to a hall, the like of
which one does not often see. The walls were
panelled with dark oak up to the gallery that ran round
three sides of it, the balusters of the wide staircase were
heavily carved, and blackened portraits of Flurry’s
ancestors on the spindle side, stared sourly down on
their descendant as he tramped upstairs with the bog
mould on his hobnailed boots.
We had just changed into dry clothes when Robinson
Crusoe shoved his red beard round the corner of the
door, with the information that the mistress said we were
to stay for dinner. My heart sank. It was then barely
half-past five. I said something about having no
evening clothes, and having to get home early.
“Sure, the dinner’ll be in another half-hour,” said
Robinson Crusoe, joining hospitably in the conversation;
“and as for evening clothes—God bless ye!”
The door closed behind him.
“Never mind,” said Flurry, “I dare say you’ll be
glad enough to eat another dinner by the time you
get home,” he laughed. “Poor Slipper!” he added,
inconsequently, and only laughed again when I asked for
Old Mrs. Knox received us in the library, where she
was seated by a roaring turf fire, which lit the room a
good deal more effectively than the pair of candles
that stood beside her in tall silver candlesticks. Ceaseless
and implacable growls from under her chair indicated
the presence of the woolly dog. She talked with confounding
culture of the books that rose all round her
to the ceiling; her evening dress was accomplished
by means of an additional white shawl, rather dirtier
than its congeners; as I took her in to dinner she quoted
Virgil to me, and in the same breath screeched an
objurgation at a being whose matted head rose suddenly
into view from behind an ancient Chinese screen, as
I have seen the head of a Zulu woman peer over a bush.
Dinner was as incongruous as everything else.
Detestable soup in a splendid old silver tureen that was
nearly as dark in hue as Robinson Crusoe’s thumb;
a perfect salmon, perfectly cooked, on a chipped kitchen
dish; such cut glass as is not easy to find nowadays;
sherry that, as Flurry subsequently remarked, would
burn the shell off an egg; and a bottle of port, draped
in immemorial cobwebs, wan with age, and probably
priceless. Throughout the vicissitudes of the meal
Mrs. Knox’s conversation flowed on undismayed,
directed sometimes at me—she had installed me in the
position of friend of her youth, and talked to me as if
I were my own grandfather—sometimes at Crusoe,
with whom she had several heated arguments, and sometimes
she would make a statement of remarkable frankness
on the subject of her horse-farming affairs to Flurry,
who, very much on his best behaviour, agreed with
all she said, and risked no original remark. As I listened
to them both, I remembered with infinite amusement
how he had told me once that “a pet name she had
for him was ‘Tony Lumpkin,’ and no one but herself
knew what she meant by it.” It seemed strange that
she made no allusion to Trinket’s colt or to Flurry’s
birthday, but, mindful of my instructions, I held my
As, at about half-past eight, we drove away in the moonlight,
Flurry congratulated me solemnly on my success
with his grandmother. He was good enough to tell me
that she would marry me to-morrow if I asked her, and
he wished I would, even if it was only to see what a nice
grandson he’d be for me. A sympathetic giggle behind
me told me that Michael, on the back seat, had heard
and relished the jest.
We had left the gates of Aussolas about half-a-mile
behind, when, at the corner of a by-road, Flurry pulled
up. A short, squat figure arose from the black shadow
of a furze bush and came out into the moonlight,
swinging its arms like a cabman, and cursing audibly.
“Oh, murdher, oh, murdher, Misther Flurry!
What kept ye at all? ‘Twould perish the crows to
be waiting here the way I am these two hours—”
“Ah, shut your mouth, Slipper!” said Flurry, who,
to my surprise, had turned back the rug and was taking
off his driving coat, “I couldn’t help it. Come on,
Yeates, we’ve got to get out here.”
“What for?” I asked, in not unnatural bewilderment.
“It’s all right. I’ll tell you as we go along,” replied
my companion, who was already turning to follow
Slipper up the by-road. “Take the trap on, Michael,
and wait at the River’s Cross.” He waited for me to
come up with him, and then put his hand on my arm.
“You see, Major, this is the way it is. My grandmother’s
given me that colt right enough, but if I waited for her
to send him over to me I’d never see a hair of his tail.
So I just thought that as we were over here we might as
well take him back with us, and maybe you’ll give us
a help with him; he’ll not be altogether too handy
for a first go off.”
I was staggered. An infant in arms could scarcely
have failed to discern the fishiness of the transaction,
and I begged Mr. Knox not to put himself to this trouble
on my account, as I had no doubt I could find a horse
for my friend elsewhere. Mr. Knox assured me that
it was no trouble at all, quite the contrary, and that,
since his grandmother had given him the colt, he saw
no reason why he should not take him when he wanted
him; also, that if I didn’t want him he’d be glad enough
to keep him himself; and, finally, that I wasn’t the
chap to go back on a friend, but I was welcome to drive
back to Shreelane with Michael this minute, if I
Of course, I yielded in the end. I told Flurry I
should lose my job over the business, and he said I
could then marry his grandmother, and the discussion
was abruptly closed by the necessity of following Slipper
over a locked five-barred gate.
Our pioneer took us over about half-a-mile of country,
knocking down stone gaps where practicable, and
scrambling over tall banks in the deceptive moonlight.
We found ourselves at length in a field with a shed
in one corner of it; in a dim group of farm buildings;
a little way off a light was shining.
“Wait here,” said Flurry to me in a whisper; “the
less noise the better. It’s an open shed, and we’ll just
slip in and coax him out.”
Slipper unwound from his waist a halter, and my
colleagues glided like spectres into the shadow of the
shed, leaving me to meditate on my duties as Resident
Magistrate, and on the questions that would be asked
in the House by our local member when Slipper had
given away the adventure in his cups.
In less than a minute three shadows emerged from the
shed, where two had gone in. They had got the colt.
“He came out as quiet as a calf when he winded the
sugar,” said Flurry; “it was well for me I filled my
pockets from grandmamma’s sugar basin.”
He and Slipper had a rope from each side of the colt’s
head; they took him quickly across a field towards a
gate. The colt stepped daintily between them over the
moonlit grass; he snorted occasionally, but appeared
on the whole amenable.
The trouble began later, and was due, as trouble often
is, to the beguilements of a short cut. Against the
maturer judgment of Slipper, Flurry insisted on following
a route that he assured us he knew as well as his own
pocket, and the consequence was, that in about five
minutes I found myself standing on top of a bank
hanging on to a rope, on the other end of which the colt
dangled and danced, while Flurry, with the other rope,
lay prone in the ditch, and Slipper administered to the
bewildered colt’s hindquarters such chastisement as
could be ventured on.
I have no space to narrate in detail the atrocious
difficulties and disasters of the short cut. How the colt
set to work to buck, and went away across a field,
dragging the faithful Slipper, literally ventre-à-terre,
after him, while I picked myself in ignominy out of a
briar patch, and Flurry cursed himself black in the face.
How we were attacked by ferocious cur dogs and I lost
my eyeglass; and how, as we neared the river’s Cross,
Flurry espied the police patrol on the road, and we all
hid behind a rick of turf, while I realised in fulness
what an exceptional ass I was, to have been beguiled
into an enterprise that involved hiding with Slipper
from the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Let it suffice to say that Trinket’s infernal offspring
was finally handed over on the highroad to Michael
and Slipper, and Flurry drove me home in a state of
mental and physical overthrow.
I saw nothing of my friend Mr. Knox for the next
couple of days, by the end of which time I had worked
up a high polish on my misgivings, and had determined
to tell him that under no circumstances would I have
anything to say to his grandmother’s birthday present.
It was like my usual luck that, instead of writing
a note to this effect, I thought it would be good for
my liver to walk across the hills to Tory Cottage and tell
Flurry so in person.
It was a bright, blustery morning, after a muggy
day. The feeling of spring was in the air, the daffodils
were already in bud, and crocuses showed purple in
the grass on either side of the avenue. It was only a
couple of miles to Tory Cottage, by the way across
the hills; I walked fast, and it was barely twelve o’clock
when I saw its pink walls and clumps of evergreens
below me. As I looked down at it, the chiming of
Flurry’s hounds in the kennels came to me on the wind;
I stood still to listen, and could almost have sworn
that I was hearing the clash of Magdalen bells, hard
at work on May morning.
The path that I was following led downwards through
a larch plantation to Flurry’s back gate. Hot wafts
from some hideous cauldron at the other side of a wall
apprised me of the vicinity of the kennels and their
cuisine, and the fir-trees round were hung with gruesome
and unknown joints. I thanked heaven that I was not
a master of hounds, and passed on as quickly as might
be to the hall door.
I rang two or three times without response; then the
door opened a couple of inches, and was instantly
slammed in my face. I heard the hurried paddling of
bare feet on oilcloth, and a voice, “Hurry, Bridgie,
hurry! There’s quality at the door!”
Bridgie, holding a dirty cap on with one hand,
presently arrived and informed me that she believed
that Mr. Knox was out about the place. She seemed
perturbed, and she cast scared glances down the drive
while speaking to me.
I knew enough of Flurry’s habits to shape a tolerably
direct course for his whereabouts. He was, as I had
expected, in the training paddock, a field behind the
stable-yard, in which he had put up practice jumps for
his horses. It was a good-sized field with clumps of
furze in it, and Flurry was standing near one of these
with his hands in his pockets, singularly unoccupied.
I supposed that he was prospecting for a place to put
up another jump. He did not see me coming, and turned
with a start as I spoke to him. There was a queer
expression of mingled guilt and what I can only describe
as divilment in his grey eyes as he greeted me. In my
dealings with Flurry Knox, I have since formed
the habit of sitting tight, in a general way, when I see
“Well, who’s coming next, I wonder!” he said,
as he shook hands with me; “it’s not ten minutes
since I had two of your d——d peelers here searching
the whole place for my grandmother’s colt!”
“What!” I exclaimed, feeling cold all down my
back; “do you mean the police have got hold of it?”
“They haven’t got hold of the colt, anyway,” said
Flurry, looking sideways at me from under the peak of his
cap, with the glint of the sun in his eye. “I got word
in time before they came.”
“What do you mean?” I demanded; “where is
he? For Heaven’s sake don’t tell me you’ve sent the
brute over to my place!”
“It’s a good job for you I didn’t,” replied Flurry,
“as the police are on their way to Shreelane this
minute to consult you about it. You!” He gave
utterance to one of his short, diabolical fits of laughter.
“He’s where they’ll not find him, anyhow. Ho!
ho! It’s the funniest hand I ever played!”
“Oh, yes, it’s devilish funny, I’ve no doubt,” I
retorted, beginning to lose my temper, as is the manner
of many people when they are frightened; “but, I
give you fair warning that if Mrs. Knox asks me any
questions about it, I shall tell her the whole story.”
“All right,” responded Flurry; “and when you do,
don’t forget to tell her how you flogged the colt out on
to the road over her own bound’s ditch.”
“Very well,” I said, hotly, “I may as well go home
and send in my papers. They’ll break me over
“Ah, hold on, Major,” said Flurry, soothingly,
“it’ll be all right. No one knows anything. It’s only
on spec’ the old lady sent the Bobbies here. If you’ll
keep quiet it’ll all blow over.”
“I don’t care,” I said, struggling hopelessly in the
toils; “if I meet your grandmother, and she asks me
about it, I shall tell her all I know.”
“Please God you’ll not meet her! After all, it’s not
once in a blue moon that she——” began Flurry. Even
as he said the words his face changed. “Holy fly!”
he ejaculated, “isn’t that her dog coming into the field?
Look at her bonnet over the wall! Hide, hide, for your
life!” He caught me by the shoulder and shoved me
down among the furze bushes before I realised what
“Get in there! I’ll talk to her.”
I may as well confess that at the mere sight of Mrs.
Knox’s purple bonnet my heart had turned to water.
In that moment I knew what it would be like to tell her
how I, having eaten her salmon, and capped her quotations,
and drunk her best port, had gone forth and helped
to steal her horse. I abandoned my dignity, my sense
of honour; I took the furze prickles to my breast and
wallowed in them.
Mrs. Knox had advanced with vengeful speed;
already she was in high altercation with Flurry at no
great distance from where I lay; varying sounds of
battle reached me, and I gathered that Flurry was not—to
put it mildly—shrinking from that economy of truth
that the situation required.
“Is it that curby, long-backed brute? You promised
him to me long ago, but I wouldn’t be bothered with
The old lady uttered a laugh of shrill derision. “Is
it likely I’d promise you my best colt? And still more,
is it likely that you’d refuse him if I did?”
“Very well, ma’am,” Flurry’s voice was admirably
indignant. “Then I suppose I’m a liar and a thief.”
“I’d be more obliged to you for the information
if I hadn’t known it before,” responded his grandmother
with lightning speed; “if you swore to me on a stack
of Bibles you knew nothing about my colt I wouldn’t
believe you! I shall go straight to Major Yeates and
ask his advice. I believe him to be a gentleman, in
spite of the company he keeps!”
I writhed deeper into the furze bushes, and thereby
discovered a sandy rabbit run, along which I crawled,
with my cap well over my eyes, and the furze needles
stabbing me through my stockings. The ground shelved
a little, promising profounder concealment, but the
bushes were very thick, and I had hold of the bare stem
of one to help my progress. It lifted out of the ground
in my hand, revealing a freshly-cut stump. Something
snorted, not a yard away; I glared through the opening,
and was confronted by the long, horrified face of Mrs.
Knox’s colt, mysteriously on a level with my own.
Even without the white diamond on his forehead
I should have divined the truth; but how in the name
of wonder had Flurry persuaded him to couch like a
woodcock in the heart of a furze brake? For a minute
I lay as still as death for fear of frightening him, while
the voices of Flurry and his grandmother raged on
alarmingly close to me. The colt snorted, and blew
long breaths through his wide nostrils, but he did not
move. I crawled an inch or two nearer, and after a
few seconds of cautious peering I grasped the position.
They had buried him!
A small sandpit among the furze had been utilised as
a grave; they had filled him in up to his withers with
sand, and a few furze bushes, artistically disposed
round the pit had done the rest. As the depth of
Flurry’s guile was revealed, laughter came upon me like
a flood; I gurgled and shook apoplectically, and the
colt gazed at me with serious surprise, until a sudden
outburst of barking close to my elbow administered a
fresh shock to my tottering nerves.
Mrs. Knox’s woolly dog had tracked me into the
furze, and was now baying the colt and me with mingled
terror and indignation. I addressed him in a whisper,
with perfidious endearments, advancing a crafty hand
towards him the while, made a snatch for the back of
his neck, missed it badly, and got him by the ragged
fleece of his hind-quarters as he tried to flee. If I had
flayed him alive he could hardly have uttered a more
deafening series of yells, but, like a fool, instead of
letting him go, I dragged him towards me, and tried
to stifle the noise by holding his muzzle. The tussle
lasted engrossingly for a few seconds, and then the
climax of the nightmare arrived.
Mrs. Knox’s voice, close behind me, said, “Let go
my dog this instant, sir! Who are you——”
Her voice faded away, and I knew that she also had
seen the colt’s head.
I positively felt sorry for her. At her age there was
no knowing what effect the shock might have on her.
I scrambled to my feet and confronted her.
“Major Yeates!” she said. There was a deathly
pause. “Will you kindly tell me,” said Mrs. Knox,
slowly, “am I in Bedlam, or are you? And what is
She pointed to the colt, and the unfortunate animal,
recognising the voice of his mistress, uttered a hoarse
and lamentable whinny. Mrs. Knox felt around her
for support, found only furze prickles, gazed speechlessly
at me, and then, to her eternal honour, fell into
wild cackles of laughter.
So, I may say, did Flurry and I. I embarked on my
explanation and broke down. Flurry followed suit
and broke down, too. Overwhelming laughter held us
all three, disintegrating our very souls. Mrs. Knox
pulled herself together first.
“I acquit you, Major Yeates, I acquit you, though
appearances are against you. It’s clear enough to me
you’ve fallen among thieves.” She stopped and glowered
at Flurry. Her purple bonnet was over one eye. “I’ll
thank you, sir,” she said, “to dig out that horse before
I leave this place. And when you’ve dug him out you
may keep him. I’ll be no receiver of stolen goods!”
She broke off and shook her fist at him. “Upon my
conscience, Tony, I’d give a guinea to have thought
of it myself!”