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Wesley and His Horses

Wednesday, 21.--In the following days I went on slowly, through Staffordshire and Cheshire to Manchester. In this journey, as well as in many others, I observed a mistake that almost universally prevails; I desire all travelers to take good notice of it, for it may save them both from trouble and danger. Nearly thirty years ago I was thinking, "How is it that no horse ever stumbles while I am reading?" (History, poetry, and philosophy I commonly read on horseback, having other employment at other times.) No account can possibly be given but this: because then I throw the reins on his neck. I then set myself to observe; and I aver, that in riding above a hundred thousand miles, I scarcely ever remember any horse (except, two, that would fall head over heels anyway) to fall or make a considerable stumble while I rode with a slack rein. To fancy, therefore, that a tight rein prevents stumbling is a capital blunder. I have repeated the trial more frequently than most men in the kingdom can do. A slack rein will prevent stumbling if anything will. But in some horses nothing can.

Wednesday, April 25.--Taking horse at five, we rode to Dunkeld, the first considerable town in the Highlands. We were agreeably surprised: a pleasanter situation cannot be easily imagined. Afterward we went some miles on a smooth, delightful road, hanging over the river Tay; and then went on, winding through the mountains, to the Castle of Blair. The mountains, for the next twenty miles, were much higher and covered with snow. In the evening we came to Dalwhinny, the dearest inn I have met with in North Britain. In the morning we were informed that so much snow had fallen in the night that we could get no farther. And indeed, three young women, attempting to cross the mountain to Blair, were swallowed up in the snow. However, we resolved, with God's help, to go as far as we could. But, about noon, we were at a full stop; the snow, driving together on the top of the mountain, had quite blocked up the road. We dismounted and, striking out of the road warily, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, with many stumbles but no hurt, we got on to Dalmagarry and before sunset to Inverness.

Friday, 27.--I breakfasted with the senior minister, Mr. McKenzie, a: pious and friendly man. At six in the evening I began preaching in the church and with very uncommon liberty of spirit. At seven in the morning I preached in the library, a large commodious room; but it would not contain the congregation; many were constrained to go away. Afterward I rode over to Fort George, a very regular fortification, capable of containing four thousand men. As I was just taking horse, the commanding officer sent word that I was welcome to preach. But it was a little too late: I had then but just time to ride back to Inverness.

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