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I had forgotten that number-cloths existed, so that
was news to me. " These Steeplechases are held subject to
National Hunt Rules as to corrupt and fraudulent practices"
A moment's reflection convinced me that I need not
worry about that admonition; it was sufficiently
obvious that I had a clean sheet under National Hunt
Rules, though it flattered me to feel that I was at last
within their jurisdiction.

After these preliminaries I looked inside the card,
at the entries. Good heavens, there were fourteen in
my race! Several of the names I didn't know.
Captain Silcock's "Crumpet95. Mr. F. Duckwith's
"Grasshopper35. Those must be the soldiers who
hunted from Downfield. Mr. G. Bagwell's "Kil-
grubbin III". That might be—yes, of course, it was
—the fat little man on the weedy chestnut, who was
always refusing small timber out hunting. Not much
danger from him as long as I kept well out of his way
at the first fence; and probably he, and several of the
others, wouldn't go to the post after all. My own
name looked nice.

A blue-jowled man in a yellow waistcoat hurried in,
exclaiming, "Can anybody lend me a weight-cloth?55
I glanced at my bag and resolved that notliing would
induce me to lend him mine (which had yet to receive
its baptismal instalment of sweat). Several riders
were now preparing for the first race, but no one took
any notice of me until ginger-haired Roger Pomfret
came in. He had been inspecting the fences, and he
wiped his fleshy red face with his sleeve as he sat down
and started rummaging in his bag. Tentatively I
asked him what he thought of the course. I was quite
glad to see someone I knew, though I'd have pre-
ferred to see someone else. He chucked me a surly
nod, which he supplemented with—"Course? I