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|There is more than one way to lame a horse...
Written by Tarn
(3/4/2011 9:55 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I do not understand what you mean by [this], penned by Stephanie
While Mrs Elton boasts of the great speed of her horses, it is the Westons that seem to be a horse down.
Mrs Weston walks to Donwell, "seemed to have walked there on purpose to be tired, and sit all the time"(42) with Mr Woodhouse. And maybe she would rather do that than alert Mr Woodhouse to the ease with which a horse could be lamed by a thoughtless young person that allowed a heated horse to stand in the mud of a cool stream, drinking to its full and gorging itself on a sudden bounty of clover.
While the source of all my veterinary knowledge (Mr Delabere Blaine's Domestic Treatise on the Diseases of Horses and Dogs, published 1803) lists muscle strain and shoulder injuries first among the causes of lameness in horses (I am guessing, because most horses were worked in harnesses that attach to the load at the shoulder) there are other things that lame a horse - and two of these, founder and mud fever, are serious complaints that take more than a few days rest to recover from. There are still more causes of lameness, but the Westons would not be suddenly surprised by arthritis, for instance, and a horse lame from a farriers neglect would be like Harriet's sharks and mermaids - of no use to my schemes at all.
At Donwell, Mrs Weston is not in the best spirits, uneasy at Frank's absence and "wishing that he would part with his black mare." If she had completely lost confidence in Frank's horsemanship, but did not wish to jeopardize Emma's excursion to Box Hill, or distress Mr Woodhouse, this might be as much of complaint as Mrs Weston cares to express.
At the end of the day, there is "a short final arrangement for the next day's scheme", and I am wondering if it is that Mr Weston and his son will ride out on horseback.
"Emma and Harriet went together; Miss Bates and her niece, with the Eltons; the gentlemen on horseback. Mrs Weston remained with Mr Woodhouse."(43)
The Eltons think nothing of loading their coach, and while they might be beastly enough to do that to a horse they have already lamed, if Emma went in the Woodhouse's carriage with James, and Mrs Weston walked to Hartfield to keep Mr Woodhouse company, and Frank rode the black mare (assuming that he had ridden from Richmond to Randalls on her the day before), the Westons could quietly conceal any shortage of horses for their carriage - and any odd circumstances that caused it.
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