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2006-08-09 15:38

  Jefferson's  favorite exercise was riding.He was a judge ofa horse,and rode a very good one.One day,during his presi-dential term,he was riding somewhere in the neighborhood ofWashington,when there came up a crossroad a well-known jockeyand dealer in horse-flesh,whose name we will call Jones.

  He did not know the President,but his professional eye wascaught,in a moment,by the noble steed he rode.Coming upwith an imprudent boldness characteristic of the man,heaccosted the rider,and forthwith began talking in the slang ofhis trade,about the horse,his points,his age,and his value,and expressed a readiness to'swap’ horses.

  Mr.Jefferson gave him brief replies,and civilly declinedall offers of exchange.The fellow offered boots,and pressed andincreased his bids,as the closer he looked at the stranger'ssteed,the better he liked him.

  All his offers were refused with a coolness that nettled him.He then became rude,but his vulgarity made as little impressionas his money,for Jefferson had the most perfect command of histemper,and no man could put him in a passion.

  The jockey wanted him to show the animal's gait,andurged him to trot with him for a wager.But all in vain.

  At length,seeing that the stranger was no customer,andutterly impracticable,he raised his whip and struck Mr.Jefferson's horse across the flank,setting him off in a suddengallop,which would have brought a less accomplished rider tothe ground.At the same time he put spurs to his own beast,hoping for a race.

  Jefferson kept his seat,reined in his restive steed,and putan equally effective rein upon his own temper.

  The jockey wondered;but impudently turned it off with alaugh,and still keeping by the side of his new acquaintance,began talking politics.Being a staunch Federalist,he com-menced to launch out against Jefferson and the policy of hisadministration.Jefferson took his part in the conversation,andurged some things in reply.

  Meanwhile they had ridden into the city,and were makingtheir way along Pennsylvania Avenue.At length they came op-posite the gate of the presidential mansion.

  Here Mr.Jefferson reined up,and courteously invited theman to enter.

  The jockey raised his eye-brows,and asked:“Why,do youlive here?”

  “Yes,”was the simple reply.

  “Why,stranger,what the deuce might be your name?”

  “My name is Thomas Jefferson.”

  Even the jockey's brass turned pale then.Putting spurs tohis nag,he exclaimed:“And my name is Richard Jones,and I'mok!”Saying that,he dashed up the avenue at double quick time,while the President looked after him with a smile,and then rodeinto the gate.















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