Explaining the points [short story by Jack Moses]

[Editor: This is a short story from Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse (1923) by Jack Moses.]

Explaining the points

It was the day following the Wattle Flat Exhibition. Wattle Flat had not yet got back to normal conditions, in fact, Wattle Flat was still talking and drinking Show.

The heart-burnings created by the various awards in the horse section were still warming to indignation and to-day, as the Judge had once again become a plain citizen, he was called upon to discuss the decisions of yesterday with all and sundry. He justified his actions in a dignified manner and over the second whisky he confided that he had nothing to gain in giving the award to the Grey over the Piebald.

“No, gentlemen, never shall gain be an inducement for me to do a base thing by horse or man.”

“That s all right, Boss,” remarked the little horsy man on the end of the horsehair couch, “but you were judgin’ the ponies yesterday, and last night you promised you’d point out the defects of the pony that didn’t win the prize.”

“I will not break me promise,” the Judge assured him.

“Well,” said the little horsy man, “I’ve got me pony outside now, and I want to know how the blazes it was that the prize-pony beat him.”

The Judge took his third course in liquid refreshment and turned to the little horsy man.

“Come on. Let’s have a look at this bit of horse-flesh of yours.”

Outside, the horse of dissension was tethered to the horserails, and the Judge looked him well over. His inspection was most minute. Then, turning to the little horsy man, he said: “The champion pony had a very sweet head, he had a mealy muzzle, a broad forehead, two fine large dark eyes, small pricking ears with clean legs.

At this point he paused, then looked again at the pony in front of him. “Your pony has a sour head, narrow forehead, piggy eyes, long coarse cars, and short fetlock. The winning pony showed a good chest and a fine fetlock; your horse has the same thickness all the way down; he has a short fetlock, and is a round-boned animal. The champion pony has a nice pointed wither, your pony’s wither is flat; the prize pony has a soft coat, which shows breeding; he’s better ribbed up than your pony; if yon took a piece of string and dropped a line from the round bone to the hoof, you’d find that the string would just touch the hock.”

“By cripes! you seem to know something of horses,” remarked the little horsy man.

“Well, I feel it my duty to explain as clearly as possible the conditions prevailing, which prompted me to discard your pony. Is there anything further I can tell you?”

“Struth! No,” replied the little horsy man; “but I suppose you’re not wantin’ to buy a pony. I wouldn’t mind selling this cove at a decent price. If I can’t perhaps there’ll be a chance of raffling him at a dinah a throw. So long; I reckon after hearing you I got hold of a rotten bit of horseflesh. Don’t seem to have one redeemin’ feature.”

As he rode his pony home no doubt his mental opinion of the Judge was not fit for publication.

Jack Moses, Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse, Sydney: Austral Publishing Co., 1923, pages 137-138

Editor’s notes:
dinah = a shilling (also spelt as “deiner” or “deener”)

Struth = an oath, a contraction of “God’s truth”, also rendered as “Gawstruth” or “Gorstruth”

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
me (my)

[Editor: “chanct” corrected to “chance”.]

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