"Dumb beasts!" Yes, we are; but if I could have spoken I could have told my master where his oats went to. My groom used to come every morning about six o'clock, and with him a little boy, who always had a covered basket with him. He used to go with his father into the harness-room, where the corn was kept, and I could see them, when the door stood ajar, fill a little bag with oats out of the bin, and then he used to be off.
Five or six mornings after this, just as the boy had left the stable, the door was pushed open, and a policeman walked in, holding the child tight by the arm; another policeman followed, and locked the door on the inside, saying, "Show me the place where your father keeps his rabbits' food."
The boy looked very frightened and began to cry; but there was no escape, and he led the way to the corn-bin. Here the policeman found
another empty bag like that which was found full of oats in the boy's basket.
Filcher was cleaning my feet at the time, but they soon saw him, and though he blustered a good deal they walked him off to the "lock-up",
and his boy with him. I heard afterward that the boy was not held to be guilty, but the man was sentenced to prison for two months.
31 A Humbug
My master was not immediately suited, but in a few days my new groom came. He was a tall, good-looking fellow enough; but if ever there was a humbug in the shape of a groom Alfred Smirk was the man.
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