TROLLOPE AND MARK TWAIN
UNAVAILINGLY SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT MUSTANG-RIDING.
Joaquin Miller in the Somerville (N. J.) Unionist.
Pardon one digression from New York, as I must say one word respecting a friend just departed - Anthony Trollope. A strong man was he, with a great, good human heart. A power has gone out from London. A grand, steady, and sterling nature, and honest in all he did and said. There is little of the flash and sensation order of things to fascinate and fill the journals today. And so it is this substantial pillar, which once bore more of London on its shoulders that most men know or London is willing to concede, has passed away and little is said. Strange he should have died so sudden and so soon, for physically he was the largest and most powerful of a large and powerful race of men. He always visited me on horseback in dense old London - the East side and most humble quarter o the city - and, mounted on a horse as large and powerful proportionately as himself, he was the marvel of the denizens as he slowly rode through the crowded and dingy streets. He was very partial to his saddle, and had spent years on horseback in Australia, where his sons, or most of them, are settled, and are now engaged in raising sheep far in the interior. He had rode all over south America and Mexico, and while, I think, he had little admiration for my writings, he liked my preference for the saddle, and we often rode together. He did not like my bid, showy Mexican saddle, however; and on my insisting on its superior advantages, he arranged that I should come to his country place, where he would furnish the horses and we could put the qualities of our respective saddles to the test.
I remember at a dinner at the Garrick Club, which he had given to Mark Twain and myself, he rode is favorite hobby, the saddle, almost to the verge of anger. You see Mark Twain was then lecturing, or about to lecture, on "Riding the Mustang." Trollope began to talk riding with the soup, and endeavored hard to draw the great humorist out and get the advantage of his long experience with the mustang in the far West. But Mark was silent and very thoughtful. He essayed once or twice to talk about Jerusalem, and even made some faint allusions to the old masters; he went off eloquently on the weather two or three times. But he left the discussion of the question entirely to Trollope and myself, greatly to the disappointment of the former.
After dinner as we sauntered back to Mark's hotel, (the Edwards's St. George's square,) where he was living in great state on the same floor with Disraeli. Mark pulled me up suddenly under a lamp post, and said in his dry, slow, and inimitable way: "Look here, old boy, now why didn't you help me out of that hoss business, eh?"
"Didn't know you wanted any help, Mark."
"Well, now, didn't you see me trying to talk about Jerusalem and the weather and the state of future punishments? Why, look here." And he pulled out of his vest pocket a sort dozen of little bits of pasteboard. "See them? Tickets for that riding-school in Queen street, down by Hyde Park. I bought a dozen of 'em the other day. Have 11 left. Take 'em; take 'em all. I'll never go back there as long as I live. I've used one. I got on one of the old mares there and she scraped me off, and I won't go back there no more.
"What!" said I, "don't you know how to ride?"
"Never was on a horse before, and never will be again. But, you see, as I am lecturing on how to ride a mustang, I thought I ought to know something about horses. But I know enough."
"But, said I, as we parted, "you don't mean to tell me you know nothing about horses?"
"Nothing, nothing at all, and don't want to. You see, I'm a steamboat man."
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