So Parson Froude had sworn to what he knew well was a lie."
Froude had a horse to sell, and one cold morning a gentleman named Houlditch, of Wellington, drove over in a gig from Tiverton to Knowstone, and requested to be shown the horse without delay. Froude, loud in protestations of hospitality, refused his request. "I dine at one o'clock, you've had a cold drive, and no man knows better than do I what them hills is like that you've come over. So, if you can put up with roast ribs of beef, sir, and a mouldy Stilton cheese to follow, us will top up with a drop of something hot, and then Jack Babbage, my huntsman, shall show 'ee the horse."
After hearing from Mr. Houlditch that he was looking for a hunter, they sat down together to dinner, and the parson firmly but politely pressed his ale upon the guest. This ale was of Froude's own brewing. When new it did not readily proclaim its potency, and the rector never gave warning nor spoke of its strength. It was excellent, soft as milk. The day had been cold, and the drive had been long.
When a strange and unaccustomed glare had come into Mr. Houlditch's eyes, Froude ordered Jack Babbage to bring out the horse, and giving his guest a hand to steady him, the two went into a field near the rectory. In this field some hurdles "feathered" with gorse bushes were set up, and Babbage, always shouting as he neared a jump, rode the horse repeatedly over the obstacles, and galloped him round. Then Froude invited Mr. Houlditch to try the horse himself, but he was too fuddled to mount, and he bought the beast for £50, a long price in those days, and was driven back by the post-boy to the "Angel" at Tiverton. The horse, at his charges, was sent to Wellington at once.A week later came a letter with the Wellington post-