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THE HORSE. “Hast thou given the horse strength ? Hast thou clothed his neck with
thunderJob xxxix. 19-24. The Horse is universally allowed to be the most noble, beautiful, and useful of the four-footed animals that God has put in subjection to mankind. “The noble largeness of his form, the glossy smoothness of his skin, and the exact symmetry of his shape, have taught us to regard him as the first and most perfectly formed." Though less sagacious than the elephant or the dog, he possesses very much of that quality, especially when properly trained. There is a difference, too, in the disposition of horses, as of human beings; but they are generally generous, mild, and affectionate in return for good treatment; and so docile, that a "little child may lead them.” How kind is the Creator to subject, so completely, so strong and courageous an animal to our dominion.
It is not easy to ascertain the country from which the horse originally came; but Arabia and Persia appear to have the fairest claim, as it is there found in its wild state in the greatest perfection. Numerous herds of horses are seen wild among the Tartars. They are very small, but remarkably fleet, and capable of eluding their most vigilant pursuers. It is said that these will not admit a tame horse into their society, but instantly surround him and compel his retreat; while those of South America, which are found in herds of ten thousand together, use all their efforts to seduce the domestic horse, and frequently with success, to the loss of
Egypt, from an early period, as you may gather from the scriptures, was famous for its horses. The Israelitish rulers were forbidden to multiply their horses, or go to Egypt for that purpose; but that command was not strictly obeyed; for Solomon carried on a trade with Egypt in horses. He bad fourteen hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; and he is noticed as giving for an Egyptian horse a hundred and fifty shekels of silver, that is, about seventeen pounds a vast sum in those days.
It does not appear to have been the practice of the ancients to shoe their horses, as is now done. Hence the strength and solidity of its hoof was of so much importance, and one of the first qualities of a
horse. A writer, in an account of Morocco, says, that the Arabs have an adage, that "if a cavalcade be passing through a stony country, the grey horses will break the stones with their feet.” This opinion appears to be founded on experience; for in the stony districts of the east, a much greater proportion of grey horses are found than of any other colour. “ Their feet are so hard,” says the same writer, " that I have known them travel a two days' journey through the stony defiles of Atlas, without shoes, over roads full of loose broken stones and basaltic rocks."
Many heathen nations have dedicated horses to the sun, which they worshipped as a deity, and represented as riding in a chariot drawn by the most beautiful and swiftest horses in the world. The Jews, in their idolatrous age, had fallen into this sin; and their kings are said to have given horses to the sun. These good Josiah removed, and abolished the idolatrous practice.
For size and beauty, the English horses are now become superior to those of every other part of the world; travelling at a greater speed, bearing greater fatigue, and performing greater feats of strength than those of any other age or nation. An ordinary racer is said to be able to go at the rate of a mile in two minutes. One, of the name of “Childers," is reported to have frequently gone at the rate of nearly a mile in a minute, and to have run round the course at Newmarket, which is nearly four miles, in six minutes and forty seconds.
Any lengthened description of an animal so well known in this country, would be in a measure superfluous. Though the inventions and improvements, in the way of steam engines, have lessened, exceedingly, the value of horses, for the purposes of travelling, and the conveyance of goods, as well as for the manufacturing of them, still for agricultural and many other purposes, they render most essential service, which all the inventions of the world will never entirely supersede.
OUR VISIT TO THE ISLE OF MAN.
A TRIP INLAND. We have taken you with us on our voyage round this snug little island, and now we shall ask you to take a trip with us through it to see some of its most remarkable places.
Our party consisted of about twelve. We engaged one of those open large cars, of which we told you before, drawn by two horses, with a man to drive us who knew all the places we wished to visit.
We started about nine o'clock. The morning promised a fine day, and we were all cheerful and happy. If you will turn to the map and look for “Douglas," and then from the dots upwards, you will see a road marked leading to “Onchan"- that was the way we went.
Passing first along the road which runs by the shore, we climbed the high hill beyond, and when we reached the top, we turned to have a new view of the beautiful bay beneath. At “Onchan" we pulled up to step into a lovely nursery of plants and flowers, laid out in a very tasty style, with lawns, and flower-beds, and arbours, and sbrubberies, and hot-houses,
into which, through the kindness of the proprietor, the public have free admittance.
Mounting our carriage we again drove off for “Laxey," of which, especially its famous large water-wheel, we had heard much-for the wheel, they said, was one of the largest, if not the largest, in the world ! As we descended towards the village, which is deep in the glen or valley beneath, we drove along the edge of the cliff, with the wide open sea to our right; and it was truly a glorious scene on that fine morning.
Down and down we went at a brisk pace, until we reached the Inn. Here we alighted, and after partaking a little refreshment, we set out for the famous water-wheel. But here I must stop to say that the rocks on the sides of this glen yield some valuable ores, especially silver and lead, and hundreds of hands are engaged in securing them. I should not have space to tell you all we saw bere; but it reminded us of what we had read about the Californian and Australian gold mines! only instead of, as there, all being a scene of dirt and confusion, everything here was in neat and perfect order. The washing, rincing, and sifting operations, were all admirable.
Having gone through the works and noticed the operations, we then walked up the glen to see the wheel, and when we reached it and stood and looked up at its vast dimensions we were truly surprised. The Manx people may well boast of such a monument of engineering skill and power. It was not a shabby brown dirty-looking thing, like the great wheel of some old water-mill, but a beautiful object, painted red and black, and supported by stone masonry of architectural