I acceded with pleasure to this proposition: I was fond of exercise, and Clerval had always been my favourite companion in the ramble of this nature that I had taken among the scenes of my native country.
At other times he repeated my favourite poems, or drew me out into arguments, which he supported with great ingenuity.
The IVs of Towcester favourites broken down by race type since 2003 make for interesting reading.
In fact, just 11 of the last 62 favourites in Towcester bumpers have won, while fairly recently (between the middle of November 2006 and the middle of November 2008) the track went just over two years without a success for a bumper favourite.
It is Towcester's character that has made the course a graveyard for favourites.
It can also be a daunting place for horses without course experience, which could go some way to explaining why so many bumper favourites have flopped.
To put these Towcester figures into some context, let's now widen the net by looking at the IVs for favourites in these three race types at each of the British tracks since 2003.
Starting with bumpers, it is interesting to note that the bigger IVs seem to be from the favourites that raced at fast and flat tracks.
In IV terms, Towcester favourites in bumpers have the second poorest record for this race type and it's possible to draw some similarities between most courses where favourites in bumpers seem have frequently failed to justify their lofty market position.
Based on these findings it seems that as a general rule of thumb bumper favourites are more likely to be underrated in the market on flat and fast tracks, while these relatively inexperienced horses have often made poor value favourites in races at undulating and testing courses.
It is still early days for Ffos Las but backers of favourites in hurdles there, excluding yesterday, since it opened are doing well as jollies have won half (11 out of 22, 50 per cent strike-rate) of these races, and the IV of 1.
FFOS LAS'S configuration was modelled on the flat and galloping track at Newbury which has earned a reputation down the years as being one of the fairest courses in Britain, so it's interesting to see Newbury's favourites ranking in fourth place in the hurdles division with an IV of 1.
Sandwiched between Ffos Las and Newbury in the performance of favourites in hurdles standings are Haydock and Doncaster, which means the top four are all fair and galloping tracks.
The tracks where favourites have the worst five IVs in hurdles races are frankly a mixed bag.
Aintree is among the five because of the indifferent record of favourites in hurdles at the Grand National meeting.