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one of them had got to come in first, their appearance
was creating an amount of interest quite dispropor-
tionate to their credentials as racehorses, and their
grooms and owners were fussing around them as if
they were running in the Grand National.

"I've told the boy that if he wins I'll give him the
horse" exclaimed an active little old gentleman with
a straggling grey moustache and a fawn-coloured
covert coat with large pearl buttons: his hands were
full of flat lead weights, which he kept doling out to an
elderly groom, who was inserting them in the leather
pouches of a cloth which was to go under the saddle,

"Yes, the old fellow's looking well, isn't he?" he
went on, dropping another lump of lead into the
groom's outstretched hand. "I don't think I've ever
seen him look fitter than he does to-day." He gazed
affectionately at the horse, a dark bay with undipped
legs and a short untidily trimmed tail.

People kept on coming up and greeting the affable
and excited owner with cordial civility and he made
the same remarks to each of them in turn. "Yes,
I've told the boy that if he wins I'll give him the horse—
are you quite sure those girths are all right, Dum-
brell?" (to the groom, who was continuing his prepar-
ations with stoical deliberation), "and *pon my word
I'm not at all sure he won't win—the old fellow's fit
to run for his life—never saw him look better—and I
know the boy'll ride him nicely—most promising boy
—capital eye for a country already—one of the keen-
est young chaps I've ever known."

"Well, Colonel, and how's the old horse?"
ejaculated an exuberant person in a staring check suit
and a protuberant canary-coloured waistcoat, ex-
tending an immense red hand toward the little man
—who dropped the lead weights in a fluster with