Consider this story a little “cow blip” on your screen. From time to time I include a brief cow-related story, so that I don’t disappoint those who visit this blog thinking it is about bovine creatures. This is the last one for this year.
The Tuesday, August 21, 1866 edition of the Weekly Union (Manchester, New Hampshire) newspaper on page 2 offered this cow story, entitled, “A Backward Cow Ride.” The story begins: “During the revolutionary war, when a corps of the American army was encamped near the borough of Elizabethtown, N.J., an officer, who, by the way, was more of a devotee of Venus than of Mars, paid his addresses to a lady of distinction, whom he was in the habit of visiting nightly, in the cultivation of the kindly feelings which love so cordially inspires. On a discovery of the repeated absence of the officer, and of the place where interviews with his dulcinea were had, some waggish friends resolved to play off a handsome trick at his expense which should deter him from a repetition of his amorous visits.“
The officer, it appears, rode a very small horse of the pony kind, which he left untied with the bridle reins over his neck, near the door, in order to mount and ride off without delay, when the business of courting and kissing was over; and the horse always remained until backed by his owner, without attempting to change his position. On a certain dark and gloomy night, when the officer had, as usual, gone to pay his devotions to the object of his dearest affections, and was enjoying the approving smiles of the fair one, his wagging companions went privately to the door of the house where the officer was, took his bridle and saddle from the horse, which they sent away, placed the bridle on the tail, the saddle on the back, and the crupper over the horns of a quiet old cow who stood peaceable chewing her cud near the spot. Immediately thereafter, they retired some distance from the house, and separating, raised the loud cry of alarm, that the enemy had landed and were marching into the village.
Our hero, on hearing this, took counsel from his feats, and snatching a hasty kiss, he shot out the door with the velocity of a musket ball, and mounted into the saddle, with his back toward the head of the cow, and plunging his sharp spurs keenly into her sides, caused her to bawl out with excessive pain, and she darted in her best gallop towards the camp. The officer still plying his spurs with all his wine on board–finding himself hurried rapidly backwards, maugre of all his efforts to advance; and hearing the repeated bawlings of the tortured beast, imagined that he was being carried off by magic, and roaring out most lustily that the devil had got him–was thus carried into the very center of the camp.
The sentinels, hearing the noise, discharged their pieces and fled; alarm guns were fired–the drum beat to arms, the officers left their quarters and cried, turn out! with all the strength of their lungs. The soldiers started from their sleep as if a ghost had haunted their dreams, and the whole body running half naked in gallant dishabille, prepared to repel the terrible invader. When lo! the ludicrous sight soon presented itself to their eyes, of the gallant officer, mounted on a cow, with his face toward her tail–her tongue hanging out–her sides gory with the gouging of the spurs, and he himself almost deprived of reason, and half petrified with horror. A loud roar of laughter broke from the assembled band, at the rider and his steed–the whole crops gave him three times three hearty cheers as he bolted into the camp.
He was carried to his quarters in triumph, there to dream of lovers’ metamorphoses, backward rides, sternway advances, and alarm of invasion, and thereby to garnish his mind with materials for writing a splendid treatise on the novel adventures of a cow story.