THE GROOM'S STORY

 

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

 

 

Reader 1

1.   Ten mile in twenty minutes! He done it, sir. That's true.

2.   The big bay horse in the further stall--the one what's next to you.

3.   I've seen some better horses; I've seldom seen a wuss,

4.   But he holds the blooming record, and that's good enough for us.

All

5.   We knew as it was in him. He's thoroughbred, three part,

6.   We bought him for to race him, but we found he had no heart;

7.   For he was sad and thoughtful, and amazing dignified,

8.   It seemed a kind of liberty to drive him or to ride;

Reader 2

9.   For he never seemed a-thinking of what he had to do.

10.              But his thoughts were set on higher things, admiring of the view.

11.              He looked a perfect picture, and a picture he would stay,

12.              He wouldn't even switch his tail to drive the flies away.

All

13.              And yet we knew 'twas in him; we knew as he could fly;

14.              But what we couldn't get at was how to make him try.

15.              We'd almost turned the job down, until at last one day,

16.              We got the last yard out of him in a most amazing way.

Reader 3

17.              It was all because of master; which master has the name

18.              Of a reg'lar true blue sportsman, and always acts the same;

19.              But we all have weaker moments, which master he had one,

20.              And he went and bought a motor-car when motor-cars begun.

 

21.              I saw it in the stable yard--it fairly turned me sick--

22.              A greasy, wheezy, engine as can neither buck nor kick.

23.              You've a screw to drive it forward, and a screw to make it stop,

24.              For it was foaled in a smithy stove and bred in a blacksmith's shop.

 

25.              It didn't want no stable, it didn't ask no groom,

26.              It didn't need no nothing but a bit of standing room.

27.              Just fill it up with gasoline and it would go all day,

28.              Which the same should be against the law if I could have my way.

All

29.              Well, master took his motor-car, and motored here and there,

30.              A frightening the horses and a poisoning the air.

31.              He wore a blooming yachting cap, but Lor!--what _did_ he know,

32.              Except that if you turn a screw the thing would stop or go?

 

33.              And then one day it wouldn't go. He screwed and screwed again,

34.              But something jammed, and there he stuck in the mud of a country

lane.

35.              It hurt his pride most cruel, but what was he to do?

36.              So at last he bade me fetch a horse to pull the motor through.

Reader 4

37.              This was the horse we fetched him; and, when we reached the car,

38.              We braced him tight and proper to the middle of the bar

39.              And buckled up his traces and lashed them to each side,

40.              While he held his head so haughtily and looked most dignified.

 

41.              Not bad tempered, mind you, but kind of pained and vexed,

42.              And he seemed to say, "Well, bli' me! what _will_ they ask me next?

43.              I've put up with some liberties, but this caps all by far,

44.              To be assistant engine to a smutty motor car!"

All

45.              Well, master, he was in the car, a-fiddling with the gear,

46.              And the horse was meditating, and I was standing near,

47.              When master he touched something--what it was we'll never know--

48.              But it sort of spurred the boiler up and made the engine go.

Reader 5

49.              "Hold hard, old gal!" says master, and "Gently then!" says I,

50.              But an engine won’t heed coaxing and it ain't no use to try;

51.              So first he pulled a lever, and then he turned a screw,

52.              But the thing kept crawling forward spite of all that he could do.

 

53.              And first it went quite slowly, and the horse went also slow,

54.              But he had to buck up faster when the wheels began to go;

55.              For the car kept crowding on him and butting him along,

56.              And in less than half a minute, sir, that horse was going strong.

All

57.              At first he walked quite dignified, and then he had to trot,

58.              And then he tried to canter when the pace became too hot.

59.              He looked his very haughtiest, as if he didn't mind,

60.              And all the time the motor-car was pushing from behind.

Reader 6

61.              Now, master lost his head when he found he couldn't stop,

62.              And he pulled a valve or something, and something else went pop,

63.              And something else went fizzywig, and in a flash or less

64.              That blessed car was going like a limited express.

Reader 7

65.              Master held the steering gear and kept the road all right,

66.              And away they whizzed and clattered--my word! it was a sight.

67.              He seemed the finest draught horse as ever lived by far,

68.              For all the country bumpkins thought 'twas him that pulled the car.

All

69.              He was stretching like a greyhound, he was going all he knew,

70.              But it bumped and shoved behind him, for all that he could do.

71.              It butted him and booted him and spanked him on ahead,

72.              Till he broke the ten-mile record, same as I already said.

Reader 8

73.              Ten mile in twenty minutes! He done it, sir. That's true.

74.              The only time we ever found what that there horse could do.

75.              Some say it wasn't hardly fair, and the papers made a fuss,

76.              But he broke the ten-mile record, and that's good enough for us.

Reader 9

77.              You see that horse's tail, sir? You don't? No more do we,

78.              Which really ain't surprising, for he has no tail to see;

79.              That engine wore it off him before master made it stop,

80.              And all the road was littered like a blooming barber shop.

All

81.              And master? Well, it cured him. He altered from that day

82.              And came back to his horses in the good old-fashioned way.

83.              And if you want to get the sack, the quickest way by far

84.              Is to hint as how you think he ought to keep a motorcar.