TUFTS UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
3 9090 014 556 076
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^^iJBtwIer FaiiiMy Ubrary of Vete^
Cunmngfi School of Vetenoafy MecHcine at
200 Westboro Road
Worth Gfafton, MA 01636
RICHARD G. BADGER
THE GORPIAM PRESS
Second ediuon published for
THE VIRGINIA UNITED HUNTS
Copyright, 1912, by Richard G. Badger
All Rights Reserved
The stories and illustrations in this volume are used through
the courteous permission of the Metropolitan Maga-
zine, Munsey's Magazine, Pearson's Magazine and
The New York Herald
The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A.
To my Mother
1 The Marquis 11
2 Cleopatra 28
3 Hammersley's Pluck 48
4 The Brook 57
5 The Bishop of Barehester 84
6 Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired 98
7 When the Marquis Came Into His Own.. 115
8 Brutus: Cow Pony 132
9 "Those Who Ride Straight" 148
WHEN the Marquis was sixteen,
they "bhstered" him, "fired"
him, and then turned him out.
He was dead lame in his off fore-
leg; he would never gallop again, they said, but
that is not the end of the Marquis's life-story,
on the contrary, the crowning triumph of the
Marquis's existence was yet to come.
FuUerton, whose horse he was, did not remem-
ber exactly why he had called him the Marquis,
he said, unless it was because as a colt his arrogant
pride and his courage suggested that of the old
French aristocrats when they walked, smiling, to
the guillotine. Fullerton had said at the time that
if the Marquis ever broke his leg and had to be shot
he would limp out into the paddock, with his head
up, his nostrils dilated in that slightly contemp-
tuous air he always wore (for the Marquis was
descended from "Torchlights" on the male side),
and would take his medicine like a gentleman and
a sportsman. On his mother's side, there was
good standard-bred stock, bourgeois perhaps, but
honest straight through — and if the Marquis got
his small ears and snake-like head and neck from
his f ather,he got an extraordinary breadth of bone,
a pair of quarters that couldn't be matched in
Virginia, and some good hard common sense from
But the Marquis was sixteen years of age and
he had been blistered, fired and turned out to pas-
ture, which made the Marquis feel a good deal as
it would an old veteran, who was being pensioned
off at a soldier's home. The court that passed
sentence on him consisted of Fullerton himself,
which in itself was difficult for the Marquis to
overlook, and Taylor the best "vet" in the South .
The latter, squatting on his heels by the Mar-
quis's foreleg, ran his hand carefully and skillfully
over the tendon, then looked up at Fullerton and
shook his head.
"He'll never gallop again," he said slowly;
"he's been a great horse — but never again."
For a moment Fullerton looked away, out over
the broad sweeping stretches of green fields and
fences — big fences they were, too, and stone walls
with a rail or two laid across, that made a horse
pick up his feet well under him and do his level
best each time — and Fullerton was afraid to look
back again at the Marquis, who was playfully
nipping his arm with the special privilege of old
friendship. So Fullerton strode off to the house
without a word, and called for old black Ephram.
"Put the Marquis in the Spring Run pasture,"
he said more sharply to the old man than he had
ever spoken before. "He's done for," he added
over his shoulder, as he went up the steps into the
house. But the Marquis was not only hurt, but
angry, and while it was comparatively easy for
Ephram to lead the Marquis to the pasture — the
latter being willing, of course — it was quite a
different matter to keep him there, as will be readi-
ly seen later on. Fullerton did not depend entire-
ly upon his trades for fodder for his horses or meat
for himself, and so the "Spring Run" pasture, in
which the Marquis found himself, was surrounded
by a five-foot-six, white-washed board fence, that
so far had effectually imprisoned any of the young
horses usually turned out there. And, moreover,
everyone in the neighborhood, even the most
reckless ones, with the exception of one or two, in
their cups, had passed the pasture fence by, and
one of these — said old Ephram, who saw it — it
threw half-way across the field, when his horse
got too close under it as he jumped, and turned
completely over. The other horse, Ephram told
Fullerton "lep" it rather prettily, but his rider
being somewhat cooler once over and more pru-
dent, swore that he would stay there all night and
be d — , before he would ride out of Spring Run
pasture that night or any other. And it is true
that the jump out is peculiarly nasty, being soft
from where the brook overflows after a rain, and
down-hill with a two-foot drop for a landing.
The Marquis seemed rather depressed those
early fall days, and would stand in the corner of
the fence, rubbing the side of his neck now and
then, or gnawing off the top of the rail and if no
one was there and the old brood mare in the next
field with her silly stiff -legged foal was looking the
other way, he would pick up the off foreleg that
pained him and trembled a little. Then he would
hold it a few inches off the ground, four or five
minutes at a time, though, of course, the Marquis
really never admitted even to himself that there
was anything the matter, and pretended to believe
that Fullerton was an ingrate, and Taylor the
"vet" an unconscionable, crooked quack.
It had been warm during nearly all of October,
and the grass and the trees as green as they had
been the spring before, but as October passed and
November drew near, there came a chill into the
nights and the Marquis had begun to notice it —
the fresh crispness in the air, and the smell of the
early fall. He noticed the changed appearance of
the trees, the sudden splashes of red and gold on
the distant hills, and, whenever he got to thinking,
standing there hock deep in a carpet of crisp, dried
leaves, in the little gully beneath the old oak tree
^^ ^'- -.v*
THE MABQUIS WOULD SOMETIMES COMPLETELY IGNOBE HIM
near the spring, he kicked himself into a temper.
Fullerton occasionally came down there to lean
on the fence and have a chat with the Marquis,
but the Marquis was beginning to be much less
hurt, and a great deal more angry — for he could
stand quite a long time now on that condemned
foreleg without pain — and Fullerton often had his
trouble for nothing, since the Marquis sometimes
would completely ignore him and go to the oppo-
site end of the pasture with as much sang froid as
you please. The Marquis, you must remember
always, was born and bred a Torchlight, and
besides was half-brother to Prince Royal who,
as everyone knows, won the English Derby in
Then early one morning, quite far in the dis-
tance, he heard a familiar sound, and a little later
saw Fullerton ride down the driveway on his
latest three-year-old — a likely youngster, the
Marquis had to admit — though the blood surged
into his head and he kicked at the fence for an
hour, off and on,when he thought that probably
now this flea-bitten beast,with the long ewe neck,
would take his place, and then with Fullerton up
would show the county the way 'cross country,
when hounds were in full cry The familiar
sound the Marquis heard was the ta-ta-ta-a-a of
the master's horn, and it came softly and clearly
from over the hills far away, to a pair of small,
shapely, pointed ears, cocked attentively forward.
The Marquis listened a moment, then threw up
his head with a snort, and with his tail held
straight out, went trotting across the field, lifting
his feet high and whinnying. His off foreleg was
as good as the near one now. He had known all
along it amounted to nothing. The Torchlights
were a little wild, perhaps, in their youth — one
might even be killed now and then — but they died
"sound," with their boots on as it were, not with
bowed tendons or splints or curbs, but game and
fighting to their glorious sporting end. So the
Marquis made a swift circle of the pasture until
he reached the upper end again, then he stood, his
shoulders against the fence, his head stretched
far out and trembling. With a sudden inspiration
up went his sleek fine-bred head in the air with a
squeal, and he wheeled directly about, galloped
back a dozen yards, then dug his hind hoofs into
the soft soil. His back roached, his quarters
swelled with muscles, and with three long strides
he reached the fence, another, and he rose into
the air, seemed to hang for a fleeting instant upon
the top rail, his two unshod hind hoofs just mak-
ing a light rat-tat as they hovered, then his fore-
legs shot out straight and he dropped down the
steep descent on the far side. Off he went, racing
down over the open meadow-land, and the Mar-
quis had proved the "vet" was wrong. The
tendon had been cruelly tested and had not been
found wanting at the crucial moment. But the
Marquis stopped at the top of the next hill; he
heard no longer the sound of the horn, for he was
to windward of it now and could neither hear nor
scent the direction.
That evening when Fullerton rode home,
covered with mud and happy, he saw the Marquis
as usual in the Spring Run pasture, but when he
called gaily to him, the Marquis did not stop nib-
bling at a particularly delicious tuft of grass,
which he pretended to have discovered, but
treated Fullerton with all the aristocratic scorn
which it is possible for one with such antecedents
as the Marquis to put into a single snub. Fuller-
ton seemed rather inclined to treat the matter
lightly — he had had a good day's hunting, and
they had "killed" over there, near the mill on the
Harris place; so he chuckled audibly at the superb,
studied indifference of the Marquis, and called
him old "bowed tendon." When Fullerton had
gone the Marquis stopped nibbling, sniffed dis-
gustedly and swished his tail in a burst of pent-up
anger. The Torchlights all had very bad tempers
when aroused, but it was usually soon over, and
the Marquis was truly devoted to Fullerton.
"We'll see," he thought, and bared his teeth,
which had grown long and showed his age quite
plainly. *'We'll see about that bowed tendon, and
you needn't laugh so heartily yourself, for your
seat isn't what it used to be, nor your hands so
light as they were when I was a likely three-year-
old, and your knees used to shut on the saddle
like the teeth of a steel trap, and the feel of the
bit in my mouth was as gentle and confident as — "
but the Marquis was no longer angry and was
thinking of old times, though he meant to get
even just the same. The Torchlights had never
let a slight like that pass, and the Marquis was
one of the best.
That evening when old Ephram went down to
the paddock to take up the Marquis for the night,
the latter pretended to be more sore than ever in
his off foreleg, and limped worse than Ephram,
himself crippled with rheumatism in the knees, so
that finally the old man stopped for a moment in
the road to rest him.
"Marquis," he said, "we sho'ly has see our day,"
then went on again shaking his head and mutter-
ing, but the Marquis only bit him smartly on the
shoulder for reply, and received a whack from
Ephram's stick in return.
All the following morning the Marquis watched
FuUerton, in the adjoining pasture, schooling
and showing his youngsters over a couple of made
jumps, to the stranger from the city, who had
come down into Virginia to buy, and didn't care a
rap for the price, if he could find what he wanted :
"A horse that could carry his weight (he rode at
a hundred and eighty), that could gallop, and jump
the side of a house if need be," was the way the
stranger, whose name was Williams, expressed it.
The next day was a hunting appointment, and
Fullerton was giving Williams his choice. Wil-
liams stood looking on indifferently; he had been
searching for what he wanted for a month, and
he knew a good horse when he saw one. At last
he called to Fullerton.
"That last one," he said, pointing to a short-
coupled, thoroughbred brown gelding, "looks as
if he had some bottom and might possibly stand
up under my weight. I'll hunt him to-morrow,
what do you say?" Fullerton nodded. The
Marquis looked away in disgust. He had known
that brown gelding from a foal, and he never had
shown any nerve, though he might possibly look
well to a plow.
The men passed quite near the Spring Run pas-
ture on their way back to the house, and Williams
stopped for a moment, leaning, arms on the gate.
"See here, Fullerton, you didn't show me that
one," he exclaimed, "now that's what I call a
horse — bone, power and courage. Just look at
his eye. I'll bet you anything you like he could
carry my weight." But Fullerton only laughed
and shook his head.
"He could have once, I dare say. In his day
he couldn't be beat over big or trappy country;
he's one of Torchlight's sons and a half-brother to
Prince Royal, you know ; but he's sixteen years old
and has bowed a tendon badly. He can't take a
step; he's dead lame."
And the Marquis gritted his teeth maliciously
and took several steps, dead lame. He had sud-
denly made up his mind. He watched the two
men down the road until they had entirely passed
from sight, then he swung lightly about and quick-
ly gathering his speed popped over the pasture
fence, and then back again. The tendon was as
good as ever, and the fence a mere bagatelle.
The next morning early as usual, old Ephram
led the Marquis down to the pasture and sent him
bucking and kicking into it with a hearty slap on
his quarter, then closed the gate upon him. There
was an air of suppressed excitement about the
Marquis this morning and every now and then he
would stand listening, his ears pointing attentively
forward, first toward the house and then toward
the broad sweeping country below and the distant
hills. At last he saw approaching, Fullerton in
pink, riding his flea-bitten gray and beside him
Williams on the thoroughbred brown gelding. At
the same instant came again that familiar sound,
which had become part of the Marquis's life, from
somewhere off in the distance — that single, repeat-
ed inspiring note of the horn — and he galloped
madly about in the pasture, stopping first here
and then there to listen, until he had caught the
direction. Then he stood quietly until Fullerton
and Williams had passed. He watched them walk
leisurely on, over the meadows below, opening
a gate now and again — then they, too, heard the
horn, and put their horses into a brisk canter
straight for the top of the hill.
The Marquis could easily follow the bright pink
of Fullerton's coat and saw moving about here and
there on the crest of the hill beyond, silhouetted
against the gray sky, other bright spots of color —
the master and whips and a few of the field — al-
ready assembled, while an uneasy rabble of brown
and white leaped about on the ground. He waited
until they had passed over the crest of the hill,
then he whirled away from the fence a few strides,
and without effort jumped cleanly over. Now he
listened again for a moment, head erect and body
trembling with excitement. All was silence.
Then down the wind came a faint sound — hardly
distinguishable at first except to the veteran ear —
the low, undecided cries of a few hounds suddenly
come upon the scent, then all at once a deep
resonant throaty bay from twenty couples of
frenzied hounds that split the morning quietness
and waked the countryside for a mile around.
The Marquis did not hesitate now, but bounded
forward, down across the broad meadow-land,
his long, free, thoroughbred manner of going,
which he got from the Torchlight side, carrying
him gracefully, fast as the eye could follow.
Gates he took in his stride without slacking speed ;
now he reached the top of the hill and went spring-
ing down the other side, his legs moving under him
like the pistons of a finely turned machine. He
had seen them there below him — the pack some-
what straggling now, a few taking the lead, but
all in full cry — and following closely after, a dozen
men or so riding, as the Marquis would have
expressed it, *'Hell for leather." Banging down
the hill he went after them, never checking his
speed except at a stone wall perhaps, where, for a
moment, he gathered his strength beneath him,
before he cleared it swiftly and landed running on
the other side, well in hand.
A few minutes more and he had passed Williams
on the brown gelding, and ahead of him, he could
see, scattered over the field, Fullerton, urging his
flea-bitten gray, and perhaps a dozen others. The
Marquis had galloped a hundred yards past
Williams before anyone noticed him at all, then he
heard one man near him shouting, '* 'Ware horse;
someone's down — but he hasn't a stitch of
leather!" The Marquis increased his pace and
followed Fullerton so closely over a stiffish
post and rail that the latter turned in his
saddle and swore, but the words remained
half said; his lower jaw hung open, and
his eyes were round with wonder. The Marquis
was galloping beside him, head out-stretched and
eyes bright, half a dozen yards away without even
deigning a look; he meant to give Fullerton the
ride of his life, something to talk about for years
to come, and to make him moan in his sleep.
"Where'd that horse come from, Fullerton.^"
the master yelled back over his shoulder. "Isn't
that your old cripple; it looks like the Marquis
But Fullerton only swallowed hard and blinked
his astonished eyes in a dazed sort of way as if
he had suddenly seen a ghost.
WiUiams had recognized the Marquis too, and
was spurring on the brown gelding. "See here,
Fullerton," he called, "isn't that your old chest-
nut? I thought you said he was — " but Fullerton
only shook his h^^4 hopelessly and gesticulated
in the air^
They were riding hard, for the scent was breast
high and the music of the hounds was continuous
and beautiful to hear. A big stone wall lay before
them, but the Marquis remembered it was there
long before anyone else did. He saw the master
settle down in his saddle, steady his horse a bit,
then shake him up sharply with a dig of his long
hunting spurs. The Master was safely over and
away, when Fullerton cut loose the flea-bitten gray
who always rushed his jumps, and was bucking
and fighting to follow — but the Marquis was off
before and crossed them on the way. It was un-
sportsmanlike he knew, he had never tolerated it
himself from another, but everything was fair
today. He jumped it neatly, just resting his hind
hoofs for an instant on the rail on the top of the
wall, but the flea-bitten gray had swerved and
refused when the Marquis balked him and nearly
put Fullerton off, so that the latter finally had to
be given a lead over by the next man that came
along. The gray had soured and was acting in a
peculiarly nasty manner, but what seemed worse
to Fullerton was the way the others laughed.
The pace was a hot one — they had not checked
for an instant — and the fox was in plain sight
most of the time, running hard, pressed by the
foremost hounds. The Marquis was riding the
Master close, and the latter was yelling himself
hoarse,waving his crop, and trying to keep him off,
but this was the Marquis's day, and he hung the
Master up at the "in and out" at BUndman's
Lane, and left him swearing with rage while some-
one opened a gate, before they lost the hounds
completely. The fox was doubling back now and
Fullerton on the gray with Williams close behind
him had caught up again with the first flight and
the Marquis now in the lead. They came hammer-
ing down altogether, a steep plowed field on the
side of a hill, at a four-foot draw-bar and ditch at
the bottom, and the Marquis led the best man over
by a dozen lengths or more. He judged it, with
the experience of many years, to exactly the proper
instant, rose in the air, clearing the fence by the
eighth of an inch, just leaving the marks of his
hoofs on the farthermost side of the ditch. He
looked back as he galloped, to watch the gray
take it — a wild flying leap in the air, with no
proper finish at all ; and then came the brown geld-
ing, with no courage to try it, but forced under
whip and spur. He took it crazily, side-wise,
and landed hind legs in the ditch, then scrambled
out frightened half out of his wits. At the next
fence the Marquis increased his speed and rode
Fullerton off, and left him swearing and shaking
his fist, while Williams, who had seen it all, rocked
in his saddle with mirth.
"What'll you take for the Marquis?" he cried,
but Fullerton only beat the air with his arms and
made uninteUigible sounds. It was all clear open
country now before them, broad and rolling, with
only a patch of woods here and there. The pack
made the most of it and with a final spurt for the
next half mile near Blindman's Lane, a little above
where they had crossed it before, they chopped
their quarry in the open, when only the Marquis
Afterward both Fullerton and Williams rode
home past the Spring Run pasture, and found the
old Marquis there chewing a mouthful of cool mud.
Both men got off and tied their horses outside and
went in through the pasture gate, and Fullerton
called to the Marquis to come. Then the Mar-
quis made a circle of the pasture, proudly, disdain-
fully, but in the end he came quietly up and put
his nose into Fullerton's outstretched hand.
*T'll give you a thousand dollars .'or him,"
said Williams. 'T don't care if he's forty years old.
He can jump the side of a house!" But Fullerton
"Two thousand," said Williams quickly without
a moment's hesitation, and glanced at the spot on
the Marquis's foreleg, where the firing had burned
the^hair off and left it bare. But to Fullerton's
everlasting credit, let it be said, for he had been
sorely tried that day, he replied quite firmly that
the Marquis was not for sale, and taking Williams
by the arm, led him off to the house.
The Marquis watched them until they were out
of sight, then he galloped the length of the pasture,
squealed, and rolled over five times, sprang up,
shook himself, and stood still, his head resting on
the gate, waiting for old Ephram.
RAWDON MERRYWEATHER is
one of those men that horses, dogs,
and children are always making a fuss
over. The one are continually lick-
ing his hands or the other sitting in his lap from
morning until night so that if one knows Merry-
weather as well as I do, there is nothing surprising
in coming suddenly upon him, as I often have,
sitting in the chair before the fire, with Gypsy
Maid and her latest litter of eight tiny fox hounds
yelping nearby, and reading aloud to somebody or
other's brood of six children, draped all over him
like presents on a Christmas tree. But the grown-
ups like him, too. The men worship him, and
their wives assume a motherly attitude and affect
to regard him as a brand to be plucked from the
Merryweather is tall, over six feet, with rather
stooping, remarkably broad shoulders and long,
thin riding legs, slightly bowed from years spent
in the saddle. He has a keen, aquiline face, his
skin weather-beaten to a red bronze and as tough
as leather. It is well known that he has only two
suits of clothes — a pair of riding breeches and a
coat, the cut of which is the envy of the county,
and evening clothes. And it must often happen
that when he takes one off, he puts the other on,
since he is in the saddle all day, and no one ever
stays up late enough to see him go to bed, or gets
up early enough to find him still asleep.
But what Merryweather lacks in the way of a
trousseau, he makes up in horseflesh; for in his
stable is a row of six stalls, correctly appointed
overhead with plaited straw and ribbon, and in
them stand six well-groomed blanketed hunters,
beginning at the left with the little thoroughbred
mare, Cleopatra, and ending on the right with the
big sixteen-hand chestnut steeple-chaser Assur-
ance, a half-brother to Fire-Alarm, that sensa-
tional jumper which had such great success in
England two years ago.
When Merryweather and I graduated, he
bought a small farm, several good horses, and took
up fox-hunting where he left off before he went to
college; while I, on the contrary, studied law,
married, and after a number of years of hard work
acquired a small practice which begins at last to
pay. The point I wish to make clear is, that
Merryweather, when he asked me to visit him for
fox-hunting, was as hard and strong as a ten-pen-
ny nail, while I was as soft and flabby as could be
after years of desk work and quick lunches.
Rawdon wrote me that the hunting was fine
this fall; and as he had not seen me for a year, he
wished that I would come up some Friday, spend
Saturday and Sunday, and go out with the Pick-
erel Hounds. Why they were called Pickerel
Hounds no one knows, not even Rawdon, who is
the moving spirit in the county; but Pickerel
Hounds, I assure you, can run as fast and give
as much tongue as any other, so that if they know
they are called Pickerel it does not seem to depress
them in the least.
I had not been very well of late, and so Raw-
don's invitation seemed the very thing, and I went,
Priscilla, that's my wife, and Bill, that's my eldest,
he's six, and little Marjory, all kissed me; and
Priscilla looked so worried and kept saying so often
"Do be careful, John," that the children, taking
the cue from her, lisped "Poor Daddy" until I felt
half dead already, and for a moment thought of
telegraphing Rawdon "Too sick to come; writing,"
but put the thought away as unworthy of me.
It was late and quite dark when I reached Den-
von, and the little station seemed to threaten me
gloomily. But as I stepped off the train Rawdon
rushed forward and in a moment was cracking my
knuckles together in his great hand, in that enthu-
siastic but painful way he has, and already I began
to feel like a different man.
"Here, John," said he, **give me your bag and
I'll chuck it under the seat," and he tossed it
easily into the back of the big wheeled yellow
break-cart. Then he sprang up into the cart and
held up the robe for me, until I had it tucked in
well around me. He picked up the reins and laid
the lash playfully across our steed's quarters.
Afterwards, when the din had ceased and I could
hear what he was saying, Rawdon told me the
horse's name was Cricket, as though that explained
why he should try to kick the dashboard out of the
cart six times in quick succession the moment he
felt the whip. Cricket, Rawdon said, was feeling
good. What Cricket needed, I thought, was an
A No. 1 attack of my indigestion and he would
make a well-broken, respectable horse that one
needn't be ashamed of. But I let it pass. There
was no use being fussy, and, after all, Rawdon
might really like Cricket; there is no accounting
for tastes. Rawdon must have seen the express-
ion of my face, or noticed the way I held on to the
side of the cart, for he roared with laughter in his
big, hearty way.
"That's nothing," he said at last, "wait until
you see Cleopatra to-morrow, when first she hears
the hounds or the horn. She makes Cricket look
like tiddly winks compared to football, but you'll
like her; she's a little bundle of nerves and courage.
I ride her on a snaffle, though she does take hold
somewhat at first — and you'd think she meant to
bolt, but it's all just her play, you know." I
didn't speak for a minute. It was the appro-
priate moment for some dare-devil hon mot, I knew,
but somehow I couldn't seem to do it, and I
swallowed hard instead. I was to ride Cleopatra.
Rawdon had just said so; and Cleopatra made
Cricket look like tiddlywinks compared to football,
was a bundle of nerves and courage, and usually
bolted at first, and Rawdon rode her on a s i iffle
bit. I tried to remember where I had put my
life-insurance policy and couldn't, but I hoped
Priscilla would be able to find it. At any rate
the will made her executrix.
We were driving at a rattling pace, the cart
swaying from side to side, the Cricket's iron-shod
hoofs banging on the hard macadam road. The
lamps on either side of the cart, turned high, cast
a bright reflection upon the stiff whitewashed
fences at the sides of the road, and the moon, half
full overhead, shone feebly over fields beyond,
crossed here and there in the distance by a hedge
or a fence, as the case might be.
"Stiff country?" I hazarded, at last as debon-
airly as I could.
Rawdon smiled at me fondly.
"Good old sport," he said enthusiastically,
slapping me on the back. "Fancy your asking
for stiff country, after all these years out of the
saddle. Just like you were in the old days;
couldn't get 'em big enough, eh ! Stiff country —
well, I guess — there's nothing stiffer this side of
Ireland. Why, there was an Englishman out with
the pack last week that said he had never seen its
equal, that every fence looked as if it had been
built by a carpenter, and we were down near
Bremen then. To-morrow we are going to hunt
the Midvale country." I didn't have to ask Raw-
don what he meant by that. That fanatical fire,
I knew so well of years ago, was burning in his
eyes, and I had inside information, so to speak,
that in the Midvale country a nice, well-meaning,
four-foot post and rail was as a drop of water in
the desert. Another quarter of a mile and we
turned in at a gate and Rawdon sent the Cricket
at a gallop up the driveway to the stable where two
grooms with lanterns touched their forelocks in
respectful silence and fell upon the Cricket and
the break-cart with feverish haste.
In the end stall, Cleopatra, rudely awakened,
put her head up over the side of the stall, rolled a
red eye at me wildly, and bit at the horse next her,
who returned the compliment gallantly. Rawdon
laughed and nodded his head at me over his
"That's Cleopatra; she'll give you a good ride
all right. All you have to do is to sit tight the
first couple of fields and put her at the biggest
panels you see. After that, if she doesn't get
away with you, she will settle down and a lady
could ride her."
I think the stable must have been warm after
the drive in the cold night air, for I felt quite dizzy
for a moment and took a swallow of water out of
the spigot where the horses drank. How much
nicer I thought it would be to have some-one else
ride Cleopatra the first couple li fields over the
biggest panels, and then get on her after she had
settled down. I laughinglj^ suggested the idea to
Rawdon, but I must have done the laugh too well,
for he took it as a joke and chuckled for several
The horse Merryweather meant to ride was a
big, fatherly looking animal covered with brown
fur that made him look about twice as large as he
really was, and really more like some prehistoric
animal than a horse; but Rawdon said he was a
splendid jumper, over fifteen years old, and had
never been down in his life.
I waxed honestly enthusiastic when I heard this,
and Rawdon seemed pleased and said he would
have been glad to have let me ride him, but the
only other horse up to his, Rawdon's, weight had
developed a splint — and besides Cleopatra was a
more brilliant performer. I knew what that
meant — a brilliant performer. It meant that
Cleopatra, when she saw the first fence, would dig
her hind hoofs into the soil, throw up her head with
a snort, and when she got well going, about a mile
a minute, would take off anywhere from twenty to
forty feet in front of the fence, and if you came
down again together, everybody turned in the
saddle and congratulated you, and thanked heaven
it was you and not they. I had once ridden a
brilliant performer years ago, and for one reason
or another I would have preferred not to ride any
more geniuses of the horse world.
Rawdon's house is a stone's throw from the
stable, and as we stepped upon the porch, pande-
monium broke forth from within.
"Burglars wouldn't have much chance around
here, would they, John?" Rawdon said, looking
back at me as he put his key in the door.
"Sure they'll know you?" I jested carelessly.
"Oh, they'll know me all right; but John, I want
to tell you, don't pat Roysterer until he's got to
know you a few minutes. He's overzealous, you
know, about guarding the place, and doesn't make
Personally I had never meant to pat Roysterer
at all, after the sound of his voice, until I had
known him quite a good deal more than a few
minutes; and so when the door was pushed open
and Roysterer, followed by six couples of assorted
canines, all sprang upon Rawdon with loving cries,
then suddenly saw me, I felt a strange feeling of
diffidence about accepting Rawdon's hospitable
wave of invitation to enter. Roysterer, being the
largest and in a sense the leader of the others,
seemed particularly upset and conscious of his
position, and stared at me so long with his back
roached and teeth bared that I felt quite uncom-
fortable until Rawdon gave him a sound kick,
which, being a kind of passport for me, we went in
without further annoyance. I felt quite import-
ant for a while after that; and later on I could see
that Roysterer really would have liked to lick my
hand. It was like being passed through the fire-
lines by the chief of police, after some surly police-
man had pushed you in the shirt front with a fat,
It was already morning before Rawdon and I
stopped talking; and the last thing I remember
after Rawdon showed me my room, was his telling
me he would call me in the morning, and the next
thing, just after I had gotten the covers really
tight around me was his calling me. When I first
heard someone knocking on my door I only dozed
on happily, but as I grew a little more and more
awake, something seemed to weigh upon my mind
and depress me; and it was not until Rawdon
stood in the door, crop and lash in hand, that I
began to realize it was Cleopatra. It was only
a few minutes now before I had to ride Cleopatra.
They say condemned men, on the morning of their
execution, often eat a hearty breakfast. It is true ;
I did. I felt I should need it.
The sky was slightly cloudy, and while the wind
blew gently out of the south, there was an early
morning crispness to it that put the horses on
edge; and as the grooms led our mounts up from
the stable, it was really more than one man should
have been asked to do, to take Cleopatra all by
himself. Sometimes Cleopatra lifted her head,
and when she did so the groom went with her.
There was no effort on her part. She was very
graceful and pretty about it. She merely lifted
her head and the groom went up in the air; then
she would try to kick Granny, the other horse,
with her heels. We watched them as they
approached, Rawdon with pride in his eyes. As
for me, I can't say pride exactly expressed my
emotions; but then, of course, they weren't my
horses. I was only going to ride one of them.
"Feeling pretty good, aren't they'?" said Raw-
don. "Perfectly devilish," I thought, but I said
nothing. There did not seem to be any necessity,
the thing was so obvious. Rawdon kept Cleopat-
ra from sitting down when I got on her, while the
groom swung to her head, so that for the time be-
ing I felt comparatively safe, and anchored like a
ship in harbor, but it was only the calm before the
"All ready?" Rawdon asked, smiling at me
I gritted my teeth, took a firmer hold on my
reins and nodded. The groom made a broad
jump to one side that would have got him his "H"
at college, Rawdon sidestepped a quick up-cut
from her heels, and Cleopatra and I were alone.
Never before in my life have I felt so much the
want of a chaperone. But the worst was nearly
over for the time being, and after a few buck
jumps and a little pitching which carried us down
the driveway and out into the road, she stood
quite still and waited for Rawdon and his big
brown gelding to come ambling along.
"She's always fresh like that in the morning,"
he called, "but she'll settle down, never fear. It's
just her play, you know." I looked at Rawdon.
There was no doubt about it; the man was quite
serious and believed what he said. I made up my
mind then and there that when an honorable
opportunity presented itself I should roll off and
let Cleopatra find another Antony.
It was some three or four miles to where the
hounds met, and as we were in plenty of time we
took it leisurely. Rawdon was very thoughtful
about describing the country, and I remember in
particular his pointing out the place where poor so
and so broke his leg — or his neck, I forget which
now, but I know it impressed me at the time.
It was as likely a place to break a leg or a neck as
I have ever seen — an unpleasant drop into a road-
way, over a fence and a four-foot ditch. I made
a mental note of the spot, which was near a farm-
house, and I felt that I should recognize it again
The next moment Rawdon was alongside
presenting me to a very pretty woman who rode
a gray horse.
"Miss Smithson," he began. "Whoa! John,
I say, can't you keep Cleopatra's head up? she'll
kick in another second. Miss Smithson (behave,
will you?), may I present Mr. — Walk now, you
son of Satan ! (Both spurs and a yank at the bit.)
There now, be quiet. I beg your pardon, Miss
Smithson, something seems to have got into
Granny this morning. This is Mr. Ralston.
Where are you, John, anyhow? Oh, there you
are! Look sharp; keep her head up. Miss
Smithson, Mr. Ralston." It was done. Miss
Smithson and I knew each other. She reached
her hand quite graciously across Rawdon's horse,
who was between us, but as Cleopatra seemed to
frown upon the idea, and edged farther and far-
ther away, the pleasure had to be deferred to
We had stopped now on the edge of some woods,
and with a wave of his hand the huntsman cast
the pack into the heart of it, while some twenty
or thirty of us waited, chatting together in low
tones. One man had plaited his horse's tail with
red ribbon. It was rather fetching, I thought, and
I moved over closer in order to see how it was
done; and I made a resolution that if ever I owned
a hunter I would plait its tail in red ribbon. I
must have been quite close when the beast kicked
me, for he caught my boot squarely with both
hoofs, and then squealed in a perfectly disgusting
manner. The man turned in his saddle to see
what he had hit, he must have been quite used to
it I think; and I imagined he was going to apolo-
gize for owning such a vindictive animal, but he
only frowned at me and muttered something
under his breath. Rawdon rode up then and told
me to keep away, as the ribbon in the horse's tail
meant that he was a kicker and I have no reason to
doubt him. A few minutes later I had quite for-
gotten the incident, but it seems Cleopatra hadn't,
and once when the kicker passed in front of us, she
laid her ears back, stretched out her neck and
fastened her teeth in the other's nose. Aiter that
I had a different feeling toward Cleopatra. There
was something so finished about the way she
avenged me that I felt I could better trust myself
in her hands, if only she did not bolt those first
The hounds were whimpering in the woods now,
and occasionally some old veteran would give a
few staccato notes and arouse the rest of the pack
for a short interval; but there did not seem to be
any likelihood of their going away at once.
I began to examine the country around me.
Suddenly I realized that we had come in through
a gate that had been shut behind us, into a field
entirely surrounded by fences. At first blush
there is nothing startling about that; fields often
have fences around them but there are fences
and fences, and you can imagine what this
one was like when I tell you that I decided
on the closed gate as the least reckless means of
egress. Miss Smithson's gray was a quiet,
dignified animal with a docked tail and a pompous
manner of putting down its front feet, and as I
soon discovered that Cleopatra appeared to be on
good terms with it, since they rubbed the tops of
their heads against each other's necks, I felt en-
couraged to speak to Miss Smithson herself.
"How do you like Cleopatra?" she asked me
with a smile that disclosed some very pretty white
teeth, and then not waiting for me to answer:
"She's quite a handful, you know. Mr. Merry-
weather said he wouldn't let many people ride
her but you. You must ride very well, don't
I swallowed hard. I never enjoyed a compli-
"Miss Smithson, are you going to jump that?"
I asked, pointing to the spite fence which someone
must have built to cut off his neighbor's view.
"Of course," she said. "It's the only way out."
And then she began to laugh, and her blue eyes
"Oh, I know, you're feeling rocky, everyone
does now and then," and she handed me a flask
about as big as a silver dollar. I had just time to
return it to her and take up my lines when there
was a series of hysterical cries from the woods.
Suddenly the pack seemed to have lost its mind,
and someone standing up in his stirrups and point-
ing toward the valley, over the highest part of
the fence, began to shout, "Gone away!"
It had been my intention, as I have said before,
to jump the gate, which I calculated was several
millimetres lower than the fence, but as that now
lay in one direction and Cleopatra was galloping
as fast as I have ever thought it possible for any-
thing to gallop in the other, I gave up the idea
Just before I had gone to bed the night before,
I remember Rawdon standing in the doorway,
lamp in hand, saying, ''Cleopatra likes to go at her
jumps pretty fast, so don't check her. Let her go,
but stop her when you're over or you never will."
That was one of the things I had on my mind
most of the morning; but just because she had a
reputation for rushing her jumps seemed to me no
reason why she should act as if she had been sub-
sidized to carry the mails. I do not mind saying
I shut my eyes, and did not open them until I
struck the other side. Afterwards Rawdon, who
followed me over on Granny, said he had never
seen Cleopatra give such a brilliant performance.
I rather imagined she had; it felt that way, but,
of course, I had my eyes shut and can't be certain.
The hounds in the field beyond were giving
tongue at a great rate, for the frost was just com-
ing out of the ground and the scent lay strong and
certain. Cleopatra had her head in the air, and as I
held back on the bit I could feel her breath coming
sharply through widened thoroughbred nostrils,
and feel her short-coupled back bucking under me
as she fought for her head. Beyond, the pink
coats of the huntsman and the master went
bobbing on down the gradual slope of the valley,
straight as the crow flies, over fence, stone wall
It was quite apparent to me by now that Cleo-
patra had bolted. It was not to be doubted. She
had gone three fields and as many fences, and, if
anything, had increased her speed. But what
worried me most was the extraordinary manner in
which everything hurt so. There wasn't a place
anywhere from my head to my feet, which I could
honestly have made affidavit to, that was less
sore than the other. In a way I daresay, it took
my mind off other things and worked to my ad-
vantage, for I quite forgot Cleopatra and busied
myself finding a place in the saddle that did not
rub. Then suddenly I saw the huntsman go
down hard, over a stiff four-bar post and rail into
a roadway, and in a moment the master followed
him, and his horse turned turtle in the air. For
some reason or other it did not impress me, and as
Cleopatra and I galloped at it quite alone, I could
not help but feel a kind of admiration for myself.
It was superb. The master said so that evening,
for he was the only one near enough to see it except
the huntsman, and he was chasing his horse.
Cleopatra rose at it like some beautiful bird about
to take flight, and we cleared the fence and a good-
sized ditch without a qualm.
The master, who was trying to mount, shouted
for me to go on with the hounds, which was entire-
ly unnecessary, as Cleopatra had caught the direc-
tion by the sound and was galloping as only a
thoroughbred can. I had given up hope long ago,
and as I had been prepared to die for some time
past, there did not seem anything in particular
to do but wait.
Once I looked behind me and saw only long
stretches of fields and fences, but not a soul in
sight. Then suddenly the hounds turned sharply
in at somebody's farmyard and surged over the
gate, and chopped their quarry there. Cleopatra
surged also. It never occurred to me to try to
stop her. She took one last delightful soar, and
we sank gracefully but happily into a ton of hay.
I got off, that is, rather, Cleopatra got off me,
and I stood up. All around me seemed to reign
peace and contentment. Everything seemed con-
tented; the hounds were calmly licking their chops,
Cleopatra was breathing heavily but happily in my
ear; and I — I stretched my legs and found myself
alive. It was enough.
When the others came cantering along a few
minutes later, I called to them and Rawdon got off
and tried to open the gate. I noticed that his
chin barely rested on the top of it.
"John," he called, "how do you open this gate?
"You don't; you come over it."
Rawdon's expression was worth much to see
then, and the glances of the others quite repaid me.
"Here's the brush," I said in my best manner
holding up as much of it as I had been able to save.
"Quite a hot scent?"
"Well, I'll be d — " said Rawdon, and looked at
The journey home was something of a triumph
for me, and Cleopatra, having done her worst
trotted along verj^ demurely with the others.
"That was a very nasty place where the hunts-
man and the master came down," said Rawdon;
"I didn't think Cleopatra had it in her. It's
where Smith broke his leg. You remember I
showed it to you on the way over."
"The place where Smith — "and then I stopped.
"What's wrong? feeling a little worn? you look
pale," Rawdon inquired solicitously.
"Oh, no," I replied, "not a bit of it."
"Glad to hear it," he went on, relieved.
"Thought it might have been too much for you
after you had not ridden for so many years.
You rode like a veteran."
''Whenever I hear the hounds, you know, my
blood gets up and I can't get enough," I repHed
loftily. **Royal sport, wasn't it?"
"You bet. Cleopatra's a great mare. I knew
she'd give you a good ride," Rawdon said.
"The greatest ever," I answered.
"You can ride her next time."
"Don't mention it," I returned absent-mind-
Rawdon looked surprised. "Anyhow," he said,
"I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. You know, I
thought you might be a bit shaky at first. Any
I laughed heartily at the idea.
"Not with Cleopatra," I replied fatuously.
"By Jove, that's so," cried Rawdon, pleased.
"She's a little ball of fire, Cleopatra is, a little ball
And I think he struck it just right. Cleopatra
is a little ball of fire.
THE cup stands over the fireplace in the
hbrary, between the regimental colors.
Its history is tradition now and every
subaltern learns it by heart before he
has been in the regiment a week. It is part of his
education. I knew the story well as they tell it,
for Hammersley and I were brother oflScers, but
the real facts of the case I learned only a year ago
The hunting season was open and I had already
missed several good * 'kills" for want of a proper
mount, so it happened that I was in the Midland
country looking about for a horse or two that
could jump, when one day I heard of a dealer not
far from where I was stopping. His place was a
rather dilapidated, unpromising one, and I ap-
proached it with some misgivings that my time
had been wasted, but there was a pleasant sur-
prise for me when the "Midget" was led out.
Never have I seen a finer animal — nearly seven-
teen hands, an eye full of courage, and a thorough-
bred from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail.
A little old bow-legged groom held the bridle with
both hands, while he rattled the bit to keep him
quiet and talked to him in a low voice. I knew
at a glance the horse would suit and I was deter-
mined to have him if he could jump and the price
was at all reasonable, so I asked them to put some-
one up and show me what he could do. A five-
foot hedge, with a ditch before it, stood a hundred
yards away, and the dealer, calling to one of his
boys, told him to take the horse over it.
In the meantime I observed the old groom
gazing at me curiously; suddenly a gleam of
recognition crossed his face and he touched his
hat deferentially. "Mr. Cyril, sir.f^" It was
Hammersley's old stud groom and trainer, his
hair whitened by the years and somewhat gone
down in the world since his master's death, but the
same "Judson" whom I had known when Ham-
mersley was alive, and I wrung his hand like
that of an old friend.
The next instant Judson was plucking my arm
and pointing at the Midget excitedly; "There 'e
goes, Mr. Cyril, 'e will fly it like a bird; 'e cawn't
be matched in the kingdom. There, sir, what
d' I say, like a bird, no stopping and losing 'is
stride, just keeps on going clean and strong. Ah,
sir, 'e takes me back a bit," and the old man's
eyes glistened. *"E's such another as 'im his
lordship won the Queen's Cup with in — . Same
manner o' going — and 'is 'ead, sir! Why, me as
raised 'em both couldn't tell 'em apart. But
the Midget's got a good disposition, and the other
got 'is from 'ell. You were in the colonies, weren't
you, sir? So you cawn't remember, as I do, the
crowd, the whole regiment there and 'arf the
aristocracy of H'england looking on. It seems
like yesterday, and it's ten years a week from
to-morrow, when I leads out Black Douglas, 'im
kicking and trying 'is best to eat my harm off, with
'is lordship sitting there in the saddle so pale and
**Ah, sir, it's so long ago now, and both 'is
lordship and Master Harry are dead, that I don't
believe as 'ow 'e'd mind me telling the truth
of it, if you care to 'ear, sir. As you know, 'is
lordship was always the 'ead of the house, even
when the old earl was alive. 'E was the one who
kept things going and took all the blame for 'is
brother. Master Harry was the worry of 'is
life, being always in trouble, when if it wasn't
debts, it was women. 'Is lordship loved 'im better
than anything in the world, and many's the time,
'e 'as come to me and said, 'Judson,' says 'e, *sell
Sandhurst or Rosemead,' or some other fine *orse
we 'ad in those days, and well I knows the money
is to pay Master Harry's debts again.
"And then you know, sir, as how arfter 'e comes
back from India, he begins to sicken with that
damn heathen fever — asking your pardon for the
word, sir. 'E never was the same again and 'e got
worse and worse. All the time the estate was
going to ruin and Master Harry worrying the life
out of 'im, though meaning no harm, 'e worship-
ping 'is lordship.
"It was one night, or nearer morning, the wind
howling and beating the rain against the windows
fit to smash them in, that I 'ears someone moving
about below in the stable. I jumps out o* bed
and calls, 'Who's there .^' 'Judson,' someone says,
and I knows 'is voice; * Judson,' 'e says, 'come
down,' and I goes down. There 'e is, standing
with 'is back to me, 'is legs spread apart and
covered with mud from head to foot. He 'ad
rode over from quarters, a fair twenty miles, as
you know, and 'is 'orse more dead than alive.
'Judson,' 'e says, never turning around, when 'e
'ears me behind 'im, but staring at Black Douglas,
'this horse comes of good blood, 'is great grandsire
won a Grand National.' 'Yes, sir,' says I. Don't
interrupt,' says 'e, that being 'is way, and me as
'adn't seen 'im since 'e come home; but Lord, sir,
'e 'd ha' give 'is right 'and for me and I knowed it.
Then 'e goes on, still staring at Black Douglas:
"Judson, I want this horse fit to run in the
"Queen's," two weeks from today. The entry
must be in day after tomorrow. Attend to it.
I ride 'im myself.' Then 'e has a fit of shivering,
and I blessed near dies of fright when 'e turns
around and I see 'is face, so changed it is.
*'The next day 'e sends for me. I finds 'is
lordship and Master Harry together, and Master
Harry looking very sad and dejected. 'Judson,'
says 'is lordship, T owe £5,000 that must be paid
a month from to-day' — and right well I knows
who owes it — 'sell everything in the stable, get
the best odds you can, and lay all on Black Doug-
las to win. I'll lay what I 'ave, myself,' says 'e.
Then 'e comes over and put 'is 'and on my shoulder
*Judson,' says 'e, *it's the family honor, that's all.'
" 'Yes, sir,' says I, and goes outside and flings
my cap in the air, for see what it means — 'is
lordship's colors to run again, as once couldn't
be beat, and me to train the greatest three-year-
old in H'england!
"Well, the colt did fine and showed better form
every day, fast on the flat, strong at 'is jumps and
liked it. But 'is lordship, 'e went the other way,
from bad to worse. So a week before the race
they puts 'im to bed and 'arf the regiment with
a month's pay backing 'im, too. And no other
Hammer sieves Pluck
man in the kingdom could ha' rode Black Douglas
four mile 'cross country, the brute 'e was, the
*'The odds were ten to one the day of the race,
Black Douglas being a dark 'un and none taking
the trouble to look up 'is pedigree. I was stand-
ing in 'is stall giving 'im a last rub-down with a
handful of straw, and keeping my eye on 'im to
see 'e didn't kick my brains out, when in walks 'is
lordship, dressed to ride, leanin' on Master Harry.
" 'Well, Judson,' e' says, 'all ready?'
" 'All ready, your lordship,' says I. 'And are
you going to ride?' I asks, seeing 'im there so
faint and pale. 'Who else?' says 'e, sharp like;
but that was always 'is way — few words.
"W^hen the bugle sounded I give 'is lordship a
leg up and leads 'em out on the course. Black
Douglas was fighting ugly, for the crowds and the
band set 'im crazy.
"The grand stands and paddock were jammed,
and as we went by,the Guards give us three cheers.
I tell you that made me feel proud. There were
fifteen other starters, all good 'uns, too, but none
of 'em looked like Black Douglas as I'd raised
from a foal, and none of the gentlemen sat a
horse like my lord.
"The music and the cheers from the Guards
still rang in my ears, when down went the flag
and they were hoff. There was no keeping back
with Black Douglas. When the flag fell 'e bolted
and at the first jump he was a good 'arf dozen
lengths in the lead. The pace 'e was going was
awful; I shut my eyes and prayed, and when I
opened 'em again, he was safe over and leading,
with the field pressing 'im hard.
"Ah, but the way my lord rode was a picture;
never a move did he make! He glued his knees
to the saddle and gave the colt's head free play.
The crowd was yelling itself hoarse, and Black
Douglas still in the front, going strong; 'is lord-
ship quiet and cool. Twice they'd been around,
them always leading, when the favorite began to
draw on. It was just before the water jump, and
I see 'is lordship take one look back when 'e
heard the sound of the other. The favorite's
nose reached the leg of 'is boot, then 'is lordship
leaned forward on Black Douglas' neck and I see
the flash of the sun on 'is whip as it rose and fell
three times. They took the water together, the
grand stand rose as one man and a great shout
went up as they cleared it. But the blood in 'em
tells every time and the sting of the whip drove
Black Douglas mad.
'*One more jump, then 'arf a mile to the finish;
the crowd barely breathed as it watched. The
two were running side by side, and as they came
to the hedge I gritted my teeth while my eyes
burned in their sockets. They were over, and the
field was left far behind. Then my lord started
in to ride, and such a finish was never seen. The
favorite was forcing 'im hard and both were at
whip and spur. Neck and neck they came down
the stretch. I couldn't see which was leading;
'twas 'orrible not to know.
"Then I see Black Douglas make one last effort
a 'undred yards from the wire, and with the crowd
screaming and surging over the course, 'e wins by
"I can see 'im now, 'is lordship drooping on
Black Douglas' neck as 'e rides 'im back and
weighs in. Then the Guards, Tommies and all,
rushes over and carries 'im hoff on their shoulders,
'e sitting there smiling a little, white as a sheet,
'olding the big silver cup with both 'ands. Then
me and Master Harry, 'im with the tears running
down his cheeks, leads Black Douglas back to the
"We win near £8,000 that day, and the 'orse
'imself would ha' sold for £5,000 after the race.
But it all wasn't worth it, sir, no not to none of us,
for it killed 'is lordship as you know. My lord
lasted two days and then 'is heart, which the fever
and racing 'ad damaged, give in and 'e died.
They give 'im a funeral fit for a field marshal, for
the Guards, you see, loved 'im and thought 'e'd
done it for them, and I'm not saying 'e wouldn't
ha' done it, but I knows it was for Master Harry."
"What, sir," the old groom's voice trembled,
"bring down the Midget and take charge 'o
your stable — do you mean it, sir? My luggage,
Mr. Cyril? I got it on, sir, asking your pardon.
Ah, it'll be grand to serve a gentleman again, and
you an old friend of my lord's."
STRIVING found himself obliged to take
a slow train. It left more than an hour
ahead of the limited, paid its respects at
each hamlet and finally crawled into New
York only fifteen minutes ahead of the limited
itself. But every minute was worth dollars and
cents to the oflSce. Striving was accustomed to
fast trains and hated slow ones, besides he was
not in a very amiable frame of mind. He felt
overworked, below par.
"D — " Striving addressed the station porter
who carried his bag.
Striving regarded the man impersonally. "I'm
tired. I'm sick of it."
"Yes, sah, what seat did you all have, sah?"
"Seventeen," snapped Striving.
The negro led the way, deposited the bag fussily
and remained standing nearby with the usual
air of anxious expectancy. His hopes gratified
he expressed his thanks by a grinning display of
white teeth and touched his cap. Striving flung
his coat and hat up in the rack overhead and
dropped into seat number seventeen.
"Sick of it, sick of it," he murmured, "of the
fight for money. I never cared for it anyhow."
The train started. Striving was due in New
York at eleven. That afternoon he was to try a
disagreeable and intricate case in the Surrogate
Court of Appeals. No one knew it better than
Striving. He didn't feel up to it, but he knew he
would do it well. Everyone said he would do it
well. That was why the office had sent him.
What he needed, he told himself, was a rest, a
good long rest out of doors, away from the sight
of a desk.
The train acquired speed and Striving watched
the moving scene; elevated trains that kept pace
for awhile and then little by little dropped behind ;
smoke-begrimed tenements, with washings that
swung in the November breeze, between windows,
from which women scantily clad leaned, calling
to one another across dark areas which the sun
never penetrated ; children playing wildly at some
game in the streets and alleyways.
The city was left behind. A row of cheap
suburban cottages followed, each with its quarter
acre of land. Striving breathed more freely.
They were getting into the country. The coun-
try ! He had almost forgotten what it looked like.
A dog raced madly toward the train, — pursued
it barking. A factory came next, one entire wall
covered with huge letters in black and white
recommending a well-known "morning after"
drug; then a corn field, a meadow, a silver brook,
a post-and-rail fence, a ditch, an abandoned race-
track, the grand stand tumbling, grass growing
in the unused track. Striving noticed that a
scrub game of football was in progress in the
ellipse where once a steeplechase course had
flourished. His face clouded; he had loved the
sport once. He had done it well they said. It
was the only thing Striving thought that he had
ever done really well.
The speed of the train increased. It passed
rumbling over a trestle straddling a small stream.
On the opposite bank leaves were burning. They
made a great glare even in the morning light.
Striving watched indifferently. He was think-
ing of the Surrogate Court of Appeals. In a
meadow ahead he saw a mare and foal drinking at
a tiny stream of clear water, who suddenly, as
the roar of the train reached them, tossed their
heads high and went galloping off, nostrils dilated,
manes and tails flying. Striving imagined he
could almost hear the thoroughbred snort of
mingled fear and rage. The mare and foal were
aristocrats, any one could see that at a glance.
In an instant they were lost.
Striving knew he ought to be going over and
over the printed brief in the green bag at his side.
What was that the senior partner had said just as
he was leaving? What ivas it? Striving knitted
his brows. Anyhow what difference did it make?
Oh yes, now he remembered.
"Striving," the senior partner had remarked,
in that perfectly arid, bloodless w^ay of his, "Striv-
ing, keep one thing in mind, and that is that a
residuary devise, if it fails, goes intestate. Ham-
mer 'em. Make *em see it, d'ye hear?"
Oh yes, he heard. Of course he'd hammer 'em.
But he couldn't help thinking of that mare and
foal by the stream. The mare reminded him of
old Gypsy. How Gypsy could gallop! They
couldn't catch her once she got well away, — and
only fifteen one at that — hardly more than a pony.
The train passed into broad, open country.
Striving leaned back more comfortably. It was
good to see the great rolling fields checkered with
well kept stone walls and fences. He jammed his
hea\'y carry-all bag to one side and stretched his
long legs past the chair in front of him. Then he
yawned and continued to gaze at the fast moving
landscape a little wistfully.
Striving was your hard-bitted type, born for
the saddle, a nice depth of chest, a narrow waist,
and lean flat legs. Even years at a desk where
electric lights burned half the day had not spoiled
his gift of birth. His skin too, was hard still, and
if one looked closely, — most people did at Striving
— one saw it had once been a deep reddish bronze.
Striving yawned again, then opened the leather
case at his side and extracted a bundle of papers
and a printed brief some hundred and twenty
pages long. He glanced at the latter casually,
disinterestedly at first, and then gradually, with
an effort, forced himself to a final careful perusal.
Suddenly he became aware that the train was
running more and more slowly and he looked up
with an expression of annoyance. Finally it
stopped with a groan and whistling of released air
brakes at a small station the shed of which pro-
jected over the train and made further reading
impracticable. Striving drew out his watch and
noted that they were twenty minutes behind the
schedule, threw the printed brief of the Surrogate
Court of Appeals ignominiously upon the floor of
the car and shut his eyes. When at last he opened
them the train had moved out of the station and
the car was light again, but he did not pick up the
brief. He saw that someone had taken the chair
ahead of him. It had been empty before. Over
the top appeared a derby hat, that was all. It
amused Striving to study character, he had found
the dress and luggage of travelers often a good
index, but here all to be seen was the top of a
derby hat and no luggage at all, so he turned again
to watching the scene without. It was growing
more beautiful every moment, — large open rolling
country, not too flat, not too hilly, just exactly
right he thought, — for hunting.
He leaned towards the windows and rested his
elbows on the sill, his chin in his hands, staring.
The chair ahead turned slighty and from under the
derby hat a pair of eyes regarded him, but Striv-
ing did not notice, — he was riding to hounds. It
had come back to him with a rush, years of it,
hard riding, straight riding, and a slight flush
appeared on his now rather pale cheeks.
They were passing through a beautiful valley.
At one place a stout post-and-rail fence guarded
the top of a ploughed field on the side of a hill.
At the bottom a broad stream ran swiftly. The
approach to the fence was good solid turf.
"Splendid," Striving murmured,"but the deuce,
look at the 'drop' and the plough soft, too." He
clenched his hands.
"Who cares, who cares, we can do it. Keep
your hocks well under you and your head up.
Now! well over, Gypsy, and 'ware the brook. Go
it lightly, through this plough, you'll need all
your power soon, the brook looks nasty and wide.
Now for it where that old tree is down."
"Don't," a voice whispered, "not there, not
there, the bank gives way, and it's twenty feet
Striving started. The chair ahead had swung
around and was pointing.
"Ride to the right, to the right where the willow
is. Ride hard and give him his head when you're
"Never," Striving did not look around. "I'm
sure hounds would go across there. We ride as
the crow flies, where that old tree is down. If
it's twenty feet wide we'll swim."
The train rumbled across a trestle and fifty feet
below, the stream flowed rapidly.
"There, there's the place, I know I can do it.
The landing looks good from here."
Striving stretched out his arms, his fingers
tightly gripped. He was riding the brook. Then
instantaneously it passed from view.
"You see, you see, "he cried, not looking around,
"I knew I could do it."
A ripple of laughter replied and Striving swung
swiftly around. The laugh still rippled and
Striving turned bright red. He could feel the hot
flush creeping up to his hair, he wasn't quite sure
whether he was more embarrassed or angry.
"Look here, what did you say?" He swung the
chair ahead around. He faced a pair of blue
eyes and white teeth that flashed, a habit, and a
pair of smart-looking boots.
The ripple still rippled on.
*'I beg your pardon, I'm so sorry. I saw your
hat, you know, and thought you were a man,"
he made a movement as if to rise and bow, but
a hand touched him and the ripple ceased.
"Don't move," the voice cried, "or you'll miss
the best of all. We're coming now, — to the *lane* !"
"Of course, the 'lane'! I thought everyone
knew the lane. There now, just behind that
house. Tn and out' you know, and four foot six
each way. Oh but I loved the way you rode the
Babbington Brook, no one ever jumped it there
before!" The eyes twinkled and the lips were
compressed to keep the laughter back. Striving
threw back his head and laughed, laughed as he
hadn't done for years.
"And now for the lane!"
^"Come on," the girl replied.
PjThey were both riding now and had forgotten
the rest of the car.
"Fearful rate we're going," Striving smiled.
The train was making up time. The girl laughed,
''Frightful, we'll never get out of the lane alive.
You see there it is, right there, don't you see, just
this side of that house. That's Farmer Twillin's
house. He detests to have us go through. Now
you ride there, just where the top rail is down.
It's the easiest place, we always put the novices
She glanced at Striving out of the corner of her
eye. He did not observe the fun that was there.
He was watching the lane.
"I'll not " he protested. "There's where I go,
where they've put in a brand new rail. A fall
will do me good. You go where the rail is down,
that's the place for a woman."
"I'll not," the girl replied in turn; "if you go
there, I go,"and the fun died out of her eyes and
she bit her lip with her teeth. To both the thing
seemed extraordinarily real.
The lane was approaching fast and neither
spoke. Then like lightning the train flashed past
and both glanced at each other and laughed.
"This is your country?" Striving asked.
"Yes, I get off at Weston, that's the next stop,
you know. The hounds are meeting there."
Striving's face expressed his chagrin.
"I'm sorry. I'd like to have you tell me how
it feels to ride over country like that."
"But you ride, of course," the girl insisted.
"No, that is, I haven't for years you see."
He suddenly became aware that the girl oppo-
site him had beautiful hair, and a wonderful red in
her cheeks, good healthy outdoor red.
"Oh, and why did you give it up.'^ I could
never do that, give up riding!"
"It wasn't easy. It isn't easy now, but one
can't practice law and ride, now can they?" he
"But why practice law?" the girl laughed, and
then, "Oh I'm sorry I said that, it sounded silly.
Of course you were right. Men can't just ride,
someone has to practice law and build bridges. I
daresay the world wouldn't go very far if men only
Striving frowned. "I don't know," he went on
half to himself, "I'm not so sure it makes much
The girl looked out of the window.
"It is pretty country, isn't it?" she asked, "and
we rarely draw a blank. We're not very smart
perhaps, but we have a nice little club and one
really does have to ride to get over the fences
about here. And then, too, we don't have such
large crowds out and that's rather nice. Every-
body knows everybody else and we ride our owii
The train was running more slowly. Both were
conscious of it. Striving looked at the girl and
smiled a little disappointedly. She seemed to
"I get off here. I'm awfully sorry. I wish you
were going with us." And then she laughed,
spontaneously. "But it's good you're not. You
never could have ridden Babbington Brook there
by the fallen tree."
"I could," said Striving doggedly, and the girl
The brakes ground on the wheels. The train
slowed up and stopped before a tiny station. Just
around the corner Striving had a vague idea he
caught sight of a scarlet coat. The girl got up and
put out her hand.
"I'm sorry," she said again, "that you can't be
Striving took the gloved hand and shook it
vigorously. It was not so very large, but it was
quite firm and strong and responded.
He followed her to the end of the car.
"We're strangers," he went on, "I won't be
seen speaking to you. Your friends might not
Again came the delicious rippling laugh.
"It wasn't exactly according to the rules, was
it, but — " she held out her hand again, "Good bye!
Striving watched her disappear around the
corner of the station with a greater feehng of
regret than he could understand.
*'Jove,'* he muttered, *'Jove, I'll bet she can
ride, too. I haven't seen a girl like her for years."
He sprang down the steps and walked to the end
of the platform. The conductor and the engineer
were talking heatedly with the telegraph operator
who had run out from his oflSce. Evidently they
were being held up to let some faster train by.
No doubt he had a minute or two. He walked
toward the corner of the station. What luck!
There they were, the pack just coming down the
road, and a dozen men and women nearby, some
mounted, others tightening girths and fussing
with stirrup leathers. She was there, too, on a
big-boned thoroughbred gray. He looked as if
he could gallop. Striving thought, and the girl sat
as if only a fall could bring her out of the saddle.
His breath came rapidly as the hounds drew near
and his heart pounded as it hadn't done for
years. The girl turned and saw him. He
thought he could see the half twinkle in her eyes
that he had noticed on the train, but she looked
swiftly away again. He was afraid she was
offended, perhaps he shouldn't have come, it
seemed like following her. He hoped she wouldn't
think him so unsportsmanlike, he really hadn't
intended it like that. He wished he could tell her
so. Some day he would, he determined.
The hounds were drawing close now, following
after the Master. They were a w ell-drafted look-
ing lot, and the horse too, the Master rode was good
to look upon. Striving stared. There was some-
thing very familiar about the way the master stuck
out his feet and kept whistling all the time he rode.
Striving thought he could almost catch the tune.
He did at last, and stared harder than ever. Why
it was Jerry himself, Jerry of the old days. They
recognized each other simultaneously and the
Master gave a great shout that put the hounds into
an ecstacy of frenzied delight. Striving sprang
forward dow^n the road to meet the spurred
horse and the two men's hands clasped. The
others watched in w^onder, no one had ever seen
Jerry Riker show^ enthusiasm before for anything
but horses and hounds.
"Splendid," he cried, "you've been coming for
over five years, but it's all right so you've come
Striving shook his head.
"Can't. I'm on my way to New York to try a
case in the Court of Appeals. That's my train."
He pointed backwards over his shoulder. The
other looked up and suddenly began to holloa.
"Train! Where?" he cried. It had gone.
Striving wheeled quickly.
A big-boned thoroughbred gray was standing
near him, and he was sure he heard a ripple of
clear laughter, then he raced for the station. In
the distance the train was just disappearing and
all he could see was the end of the rear car and a
flutter of green flag. When he returned the
Master was still chortling and rocking from side to
side on his horse. Striving hardly knew w^hether
to be angry or not. The girl had turned her face
away as he approached, but he could see her
shoulders shake. He stopped.
"You knew," he whispered, and the derby hat
bobbed up and down.
Striving knitted his brows in vexation.
"IVe got to get OH somehow, Jerry. I wish I
could stop but — "
The Master grinned exasperatingly.
"Only two trains stop here, the one you came
on and the other at two."
"Oh Lord!" Striving groaned, "and my brief,
what will Atkins say?"
"Let Atkins go hang," the Master insisted,
"and jump on my second horse. She'll give you
the ride of your life."
Striving shook his head again vigorously. The
keen sense of his responsibility brought him up
"Impossible, the case would go by default."
He looked up and saw a pair of blue eyes watching
him, and a pair of lips that pursed, pretending to
whistle. It came to him with a rush that she
thought him afraid.
It cut him, but he couldn't help it. Then he
walked to the station, leaving Jerry swearing
mildly under his breath. For a moment he hesi-
tated, then decision came to him. He hurried
into the telegraph operator's office and picked up
the telephone he saw there. In a short time he
had the opposing attorneys on the wire in New
'*What time does Grant vs. Ellis go on?" he
For a moment he listened, not speaking, then
*'three o'clock," he repeated, "Good bye," and
hung up the receiver. He glanced at his watch.
It was nearly eleven. The run was only forty-five
minutes to New York. He shut his watch with a
snap and bolted out of the station. He saw the
groom on the second horse nearby. It was more
than up to his weight, but, he couldn't deny the
fact to himself, he felt a little shaky. He hadn't
ridden for years and to get on a horse he had never
seen before and ride over that country he had
watched from the train; well, it made him feel a
little weak in the knees.
Then all of a sudden the unexpected happened.
One young hound that had wandered off into a
field unbeknownst to the Master had found some-
thing there, for his voice was raised joyfully to the
skies. In an instant the Master was busily alert
blowing his horn and shouting, but to no avail, the
pack went over and under the fence, kaleidoscopic
flashes of white and brown.
Down the road the Master galloped with every-
one following after. Only Striving and the groom
with the second horse were left. The groom
fidgeted and glared at Striving; he wanted to be
off, but he had had his orders. Striving looked at
his watch and then at the railroad station, and
thought of the Surrogate Court of Appeals. The
next instant he had pulled the groom out of the
saddle and was galloping down the road. How
it all came back to him after so many years. The
big thoroughbred mare with her long rangy gallop
set him in a thrill of expectancy to see what she
could do at a fence. In the distance he saw the
hounds had struck a line across country in the
direction from which his train had come. Soon
he caught the others up and they all jammed at a
gate, the Master swearing wildly, but nobody
minded or heard. Then with a rush they were
through, and Striving, his trousers flapping at
his ankles, rode straight past the girl with the gray.
*'You came," he heard her whisper, "I'm so
glad. I thought for a moment you — "
"You thought," he grinned, "I could only ride,
— on a train."
The girl nodded and flushed, and Striving felt
like a brute. But there was no time now to talk;
the hounds were two fields away and running
abreast high scent. Striving thought it the pretti-
est music he had heard in years. They were all
riding hard at a stiff board fence and each was
choosing his panel. The brown mare took it
almost in her stride, but the gray flashed past her
in the air, and Striving was sure he heard a rippling
laugh. She was ahead of him now and he felt a
wonderful pleasure in watching the wind as it
whipped at her hair and the way she sat her horse.
He recalled landmarks here and there that he
had seen from the train and he knew they were
coming soon to the lane. He jabbed the brown
mare with his heels and galloped close to the
gray. The girl's face was pink, their eyes met
and this time she did not laugh.
"Oh," she begged, "I was only joking, — be
careful. Please follow me, this is all new country
to you." But Striving threw back his head and
laughed, a big boyish laugh and sent the brown
They were leading the rest of the field with
only the Master ahead. Striving could see him
look back every now and then and shout. Behind
him he heard the pounding of the gray's hoofs.
Once he glanced back and waved his hand, but
the girl did not reply. A few fields away he saw
a house with below it a row of trees and recognized
the lane. He marked the place where the new
panel should be and soon saw it shining on the
other side. They were going a rattling pace, for
the ground was damp and the hounds had never
lost scent. The lane lay at the foot of a hill, and
Striving rode at it barely checking at all. The
mare jumped in clean and he called to her when
she jumped out over the stiff new rail. As he
landed safely, a gray nose forged at his knee. He
drew rein, put out a hand and gripped two smaller
ones in his.
"You mustn't,'* he said. "It's all right for me.
It doesn't make any difference, you know, about
me, but the pace is too hot for a woman to ride
The face was a little pinched and the color
gone. It was the hardest day for years and
the hounds had never checked at all.
"I'll follow you. I said I would on the train,"
the answer came. This time there was no laugh-
ter. They went more slowly through a deep
plough, both horses laboring, then out over a low
stone wall and on to more solid ground again.
"The brook comes next," Striving heard a
rather small voice call, and smiled and rode ahead.
"Take it down there," he commanded, pointing,
"I'm going here." It was near the fallen tree.
Then he sat down deep in the saddle and struck
hard with both heels. The mare did not slacken
her speed at all but seemed to fly off the bank.
She landed with her fore feet on the other side
and fought like a cat for a footing. She won, and
was out and standing trembhng on the other side.
Striving turned in the saddle and waved to the
girl to go back, but the gray was already out-
stretched in the air, a wild light in his eyes, his
head high. The next instant he had struck
short of the opposite bank with his forelegs
crumpled, and the stream had caught both and
rolled them under.
Striving was off his horse in a flash. Down
stream a hea\^ root projected and he could see
that it had caught them. The girl was out of the
saddle, but holding tight to the pommel. Striv-
ing was not a good swimmer, but he went in with-
out hesitation and in a moment had the girl in
his arms. The gray was keeping his head out of
water and pawing madly for a footing on the bank
which was lower and more solid here. Striving
called to him and the horse responded madly.
Then with one wild effort all three came out to-
gether, dripping and exhausted. The gray stood
shaking with fright for a moment, and then
galloped crazily away. In the distance the brown
mare joined him and the two raced across the
Striving laid the girl on the ground. Her eyes
were closed. He chafed her hands and called
to her in sudden fear. Her eyes opened and
searched his, then her head fell back on his arm.
"Oh, why did you do it?" Striving pleaded.
'Tt was no place for a woman to ride."
The other smiled a little weakly.
"I said I — ", she gasped a little for breath and
her breast heaved, "I said I would follow you, you
know, — and I, that time I doubted you. I'm
Striving smoothed back her hair, which clung
damp to her forehead.
He bent nearer. '*I don't know who you are,
but you are a nervy little beggar. "
The other smiled somewhat wanly. "So are
you," she said.
Their eyes met again. Striving looked away
and his arm trembled a bit.
"There must be a farmhouse somewhere about.
We'll get a trap and drive. They'll be frightened
when they see our horses come in. "
He picked her up in his arms without waiting
for consent and began to walk. The girl did not
speak and he carried her in silence. After a little
she asked to be put down, and Striving held her
by the shoulders for a moment to steady her, for
she swayed dizzily. At last they reached the road.
Striving drew out his watch.
"One o'clock. Where are we?" he asked
The girl started.
"Oh, your case! I forgot. You'll never for-
give me. Go, leave me now, you can make the
two o'clock train."
For a moment Striving did not speak. He
couldn't leave her in the road like that.
"Isn't it odd, the whole thing, the way we met
and all?" He thought he saw the color coming
back into her cheeks.
The girl nodded.
"Yes, isn't it? I didn't know you and Jerry
knew each other. Jerry's a corker, don't you
"Oh yes, Jerry and I are old friends."
"I'm so glad. He'll be galloping this way blow-
ing his horn like a crazy man as soon as lie sees my
horse. We're pals you know. "
Striving felt his heart choking his throat.
"You love Jerry," he asked a trifle painfully,
"and Jerry loves you?"
The girl looked at Striving. Striving was
"It's always like that, isn't it?"
"How do you mean?"
The note of a horn carried down the wind and
they stopped to listen. The sound of a running
horse was quite clear — the rhythmic beats of hoofs
on the country road.
"Jerry! He'll be so relieved to find me all
right, you know. I'll tell him what you did.
He'll never forget it."
A man in a scarlet coat appeared around the
corner of the road urging a big half-bred chestnut
with a pair of long hunting spurs. All at once he
saw the two in the road and pulled up so abruptly
that it threw the horse to his haunches in the
"Phew!" he ejaculated, mopped his forehead
with his sleeve, and stuck his horn into its leather
case on the saddle.
"Phew! Jane, you've scared me out of seven
years' growth. Now, what the devil have you
been up to? Soaking wet, too. Been in Bab-
bington Brook, I bet. Remember what I told
you about that? By Jove, you sha'n't ride any
more if you can't behave. I'll take your horse
The color was back in the girl's cheeks. She
*' Laugh, you'll see. I'll do it." The Master
shook his heavy crop at her.
Striving stood frowTiing. The girl put her
hand on his arm.
*' Don't mind him, he's always cross like that
when he finds I'm all right. It's just because
he's scared — isn't it Jerry?" She laughed again.
"Jerry, this gentleman pulled me out of Babbing-
ton Brook. AVe rode it," she spoke a trifle
proudly; "that is, he rode it and I followed him
where the fallen tree is."
"What?" Jerry's mouth hung open. "You,
too! Well I'll bed ."
The Master's horse put out his nose and the
girl stroked it.
"The mare got over clear, but Sportsman
jumped short with me and we went in up to our
necks. He," she indicated Striving, "dove in
after me. You'd better thank him, Jerry, if you
Jerry stuck out his hand.
"Fancy you, John, riding the Brook after all
these years. There's no use trying to thank you
about Jane, she's all I've got in the world, you
know, except that thoroughbred mare you were
on and two half-bred hunters. "
A ripple of laughter followed.
"I didn't know you were married, Jerry."
Striving stared down the road.
The girl looked up puzzled.
"Married.^" the Master seemed distressed at
the thought. " Heaven forfend ! "
Striving looked up at him quickly and then at
"And you're not going to be?"
Never ! ' ' There was no doubting the Master's
decision. It was convincing to say the least.
The girl was beginning to understand and
turned her head away. Her shoulders shook and
she watched Striving out of the corner of her half-
closed eyes. Striving gave up in despair.
"Then who, I demand to know, is this young
lady described as Jane, who says she loves you,
and who, you declare, is all you have in the world?'*
Jerry put his hand over his mouth and guffawed.
"That young person," he cried, pointing, "is
my sister, and if she gets into any more trouble
I'm going to take her home and spank her, though
why you didn't know seems too stupid to me for
He jerked his reins sharply. His horse was
nibbhng impatiently at the toe of his boot. The
girl turned and controlled her laughter.
"And this gentleman, Jerry, may I be properly
introduced, since he saved my life and carried me
in his arms for a mile? "
*'Eh? You don't know, either.^ Well, I am
Then the Master, standing up in his stirrups,
grew sarcastically funny.
"Allow me. Miss Riker, Mr. Striving. Mr.
Striving, Miss Riker. I daresay you have both
changed. You haven't seen each other since you
used to slide down our cellar door together in the
old town house. "
The girl and the man looked at each other.
"Jane!" Striving said, and his voice was a
"John!" The girl did not laugh.
"Jane, do you remember the chap that came
between us, and — "
The girl looked up at the Master.
" Cut along, Jerry, quick, and get the trap. I'm
going to drive John to the station. We can make
the two o'clock if we hurry. "
Jerry looked at them both, perplexed.
"Well, I'm hanged," he murmured to himself
and cantered briskly down the road.
Striving took off his coat and put it over the
other's shoulders in spite of protest. She was
shivering. He took both her hands in his.
"You won't be angry, will you?" she asked.
**0f course, you must get there in time. "
"Angry, of course not — not with you. Why,
think of it, I might not have seen you at all."
The girl looked away.
"Perhaps," she hesitated, as if it were difficult
to say, "perhaps you'll come again and hunt some
He did not release her hands.
The Master was coming down the road leading
a shaggy farm horse attached to a rickety buggy.
"Hello," he shouted, "jump in, you two, and
drive hard. You can make it. Jane, you've got
a high fever, your cheeks are red as poppies."
The girl and Striving glanced at each other,
then at the Master, and laughed happily.
"Oh!" the latter intoned knowingly, "I see!"
The girl sprang into the vehicle, picked up the
whip and the lines. Striving followed quickly.
The horse started and the Master rode alongside.
"Goodbye," he said; "daresay you won't be
back now for another five years?"
The girl shot a look at Striving swiftly. Their
eyes met and he smiled.
"Tomorrow's Sunday, you know. I rather
thought I might stop off on my way to — ."
The Master regarded his sister and Striving with
an expression of resignation and pulled up his
He was left in a cloud of dust on the side of the
"Well, I'm hanged/' he declared audibly. A
ripple of laughter was his reply.
THE BISHOP OF BARCHESTER
IT ain't always easy to tell a gentleman, sir,
because often they is when they ain't. And
then, again, there's no mistakin' it, and
that's the kind the capt'in was."
"Captain who?" I asked, tactlessly. Judson
regarded me with an air of astonishment which
put me conspicuously in a class by myself.
"Capt'in Ponsonby, sir!" Judson's manner
informed me that there could be but one captain
and that my faux pas was well-nigh unpardonable.
I endeavored to redeem my fall from grace.
"Oh, of course. Captain Ponsonby," I nodded,
knowingly, "to be sure, and you were saying?"
His expression was that of one not to be easily
gulled, his head on one side — then, satisfied of my
good faith, he scratched a match on the seat of his
trousers and puffed at his little stub of a pipe.
"The capt'in, sir, as everyone knows" — he
emphasized the last words a trifle for my benefit —
"is the best all-around man on a 'orse in Hengland
— or hout of it" he added, lest the desired impres-
sion be insufficient.
The Bishop of Barchester
"E could ride a kangaroo over a six-bar gate
if *e chose, sir, and, to my way of thinkin,' what
'e did was 'arder. E's the quiet sort, you
know, as doesn't do a lot o' talkin', but when 'e
wants a thing 'e rides for it, straight as the crow
flies, and 'e gets it. And when 'e's crossed, sir,
it's stand from under — though there ain't a kinder
more respected orfficer in the whole bloomin*
British harmy. We was hout in Hindia, sir,
which the same ain't much of a country, with its
niggers and 'eat, at a big garrison town, called
Delhi. There was plenty goin' on, too, considerin'
the distance from London, what with 'orse-racing,
flirting and quarrels; and most everybody, orfiicers
and Tommies too, were busy, at one or the other,
"But the capt'in, 'e knows 'is way about a bit,
'aving been in 'ot places before, and so now and
then, 'e wins a race or two, or, perhaps, drops into
the club for tea. And that's a funny thing, too,
for a man that 'as knocked about with 'orses — the
capt'in don't drink nothin' but tea. The way
the whole thing started, they tells me, was at the
club, two days since the Hon. Major Percy Clinton
came to join the Eightieth 'Orse. The capt'in
is sittin', sippin' 'is tea as cozy and 'armless as
you please, with the noise and larfter around 'im,
when in comes the major and invites the capt'in
to drink. Now, it's a well-known thing in Delhi,
and 'arf of Hengland for that, that the capt'in
don't drink 'ard liquor. 'E 'ad broke 'is favorite
'orse's neck, so the story goes, one day on Epsom
Downs when 'e'd been looking on the bottle and
wasn't fit to ride. Well, everybody looks around
for a minute, as they know 'e don't like to be
arsked, to 'ear what the capt'in will say. It
seems 'e 'as known the major before, and I fawncy
don't think much of 'is style, for 'e looks up and
says with a smile:
** * Major,' 'e says, 'you know very well I don't
drink; won't you 'ave a cup o' my tea?' The
major is the kind I spoke of — them that is, or
ought to be, but ain't — though the Ponsonby
name is a thousand years older than Clinton, even
if the capt'in's father ain't a manufactured lord.
So the major, who is a sort of a bounder at 'eart,
larfs and rings for the boy.
'* *Get me a man's drink, a B. and S., and leave
the capt'in 'is tea.' 'E says it narsty like, with
a mean, sarcastic air, but they tell me the capt'in
" * What's your objection to tea, major?' 'e says
it provokingly slow; 'hit's a 'armless beverage,
takin' it all in all,' and 'e arf closes 'is eyes at
our colonel, who's red in the face with rage —
'cause you see it*s a kind of an insult to the regi-
The Bishop of Barchester
ment, too, as well as to the best 'orseman in
Hengland. The major, who rather fancies 'imself
as a rider, don't answer the question, but says:
" 'See 'ere, Capt'in Ponsonby, you brag of 'ow
you can ride' (and that's a lie, for the capt'in
never talks 'orse), 'but I'll lay you an even 'undred
pun and beat you four and a 'arf miles 'cross-
country on anything, over anywhere you say.'
"They fixed it then and there, with the others
crowdin' around, and wrote out the major's words.
They say the captin' was almighty solemn and
then, all of a suddent, 'e larfs. Everyone turns
around to see what the joke's about, for they know
Hs sense of humor, and the major says :
" 'Perhaps the tea 'as gone to 'is 'ead,' but the
capt'in just roared with pleasure. Gawd! What
a sense of humor the capt'in 'ad ! Then the colo-
nel — old Kris, the Tommies call 'im — bein' a
terrible knowin' one 'imself, begins to larf until 'e
starts chokin'and they 'ave to 'elp 'im into a chair.
" 'Lord bless me, Cyril, me boy,' 'e gasps, 'that's
the capt'in, you know — 'do you want to kill me
with your devilish tricks? What, ho!' And 'e
begins to larf again. But the capt'in's face don't
show a sign, and 'e's puffin' a cigarette. 'E
squints at the colonel sharp-Hke through 'iseye-
" 'Colonel,' 'e says, 'be quiet, sir, or you'll pop
off in this 'eat some day like a kiddy's balloon'
and 'e takes 'im under the arm, and the others
can 'ear 'em go out o' the door, the colonel still
splutterin' and gaspin' for breath.
"That's the way I 'ears it, from Dawson, 'ead
man at the bar, and 'e says that 'e and five others
keeps busy all night servin' drinks and that ten
thousand rupees were writ in the book, on the race
to follow. It's to be run in a week — and this is
Saturday night — over the old Delhi steeplechase
course — four mile and a 'arf — think o' that! They
makes it that long, so's there's no chance for a
fluke, and the best 'un must win in the end.
"Now, the capt'in's got a couple o' good 'uns
that cawn't be matched near or far, as no one
knows better than me, sir, as often sleeps in their
stalls, and tended 'em like children on the voyage
from Liverpool. 'E's also got one other such as no
one ever saw, that the capt'in takes more pride in
than 'e does the cross 'e sometimes wears when
we're re^dewed by'is Royal Majesty or 'is 'Ighness,
the Prince of Wales. This other, I own it, is a
hanimal that's 'ard to beat, for 'e'd do 'is slowest
quarter in a bit under twenty-six. 'E's out of a
famous English racing mare by a fresh little
Arabian donkey that prides 'isself, too, on 'is
forefathers and 'is dead-game sportin' blood.
Yet, it's a mule, sir, a sixteen-'and mule as white
The Bishop of Barchester
as snow, with ears that would reach from Charing
Cross to the Marble Arch — and a tail like a
feather duster — just a bunch of 'airs on the end.
"But jump, sir? Oh, I 'ave to admit it, though
it hurts, that's what it does — 'e once beat our own
Lady Godiva, Gawd bless 'er — that's the capt'in's
thoroughbred mare. 'E beat 'er two lengths from
take-off to landing, at every jump in the field, and
led 'er 'ome by a 'ead, sir, at the last quarter,
though, of course, the mare won out in the end.
Think of it, sir, an old racing man like me — 'aving
to 'andle a mule, and one whose name was My
Lord the Bishop of Barchester — think o' that for
the name of a mule. Oh, the capt'in 'as a 'orrible
sense o' humor when anyone treads on 'is toes.
I don't know what the Bishop o' Barchester done,
but it's certain 'e would ha' near dropped dead if
e'd ever read the Pink 'Un or the Delhi Sporting
Neivs, or see 'is twin, the mule. Well, I'm stand-
in' in the stable doorway when I see the colonel
and the capt'in comin',both talkin' as 'ard as they
can. 'Judson,' the capt'in says, when 'e*s near
me, 'bring out My Lord the Bishop of Barchester,'
then 'e fits 'is glarss in 'is eye, and hexamines that
mule inside out, and rubs 'is legs 'ere and there.
Then 'e thumps 'im in the belly and the Bishop
swells up fit to bust, and 'e gives 'is 'orful braying
sound that's scarin', that's what hit is. The
capt'in shoots 'is eye-glarss, and that in itself is
something to see, and then 'e smiles at the colonel,
who's grabbed 'old of the side of the stable when
'e 'ears the frightful huproar.
" *It's all right, sir,' says the capt'in; "is wind
is as sound as a sovereign and 'e could gallop
another mile if 'e chose.' The colonel mops 'is
" *I'll take your word for it,' 'e says, 'only let
me know before, and when you're goin' to test
"From then on I knows my business. No one's
to 'ear a word o' it, but I'm to 'ave 'is 'Oliness
ready and fit to win. Somehow the Bishop knows
I don't like him, though I cawn't say as who
started the fuss, but 'e certainly makes life difficult
in the early mornin' canters. First, 'e won't let
me come near 'im, then arfter 'e will, but just as
some lad is about to give me a leg up, 'e lets out
'is orful roar. I've 'andled some narsty mean
'orses and a couple of man-killers, too, but, sir,
they was babes in arms and little Moses compared
to this godly mule. Most 'orses is fools, sir,
there's no deny in' that, even me that loves 'em
cawn't. But this mule, why 'e thinks like the
rest of us, only a damn sight quicker, beggin' your
pardon, sir. 'E's got legs longer than any 'orse
I ever see and 'e jumps in a free-and-easy style —
The Bishop of Barchester
not like the average army mule that pops over a
fence as a cow breaks out of a pasture — but flies
'em like any first-clarss 'orse which 'as done 'is
mile at Newmarket. One mornin', the day before
the race, I'm schoolin' 'im over some 'urdles, when
'e gives me a narsty spill — (I knows, o' course, 'e
done it on purpose from the way 'e stopped and
looked) — then 'e grabs me by the seat of the
breeches, shakes me like a dog would, and brays
'til I nearly goes mad. 'E knows full well I
won't let the boy club 'im, for fear o' 'urtin' our
chawnces. Oh, the Bishop, 'e 'ad a keen sense o'
humor, too, 'e 'ad, but 'e knows just 'ow far 'e can
go, and 'e plays no games on the capt'in, but acts
like Mary's lamb. To see 'im nosin' the capt'in's
pockets for sugar, or beggin' a apple, perhaps, and
seemin' that righteously good, used to make me
sick to my stummick arfter 'e'd treated me so.
But I'm gettin' behind in my story and that's
what you're waitin' to 'ear.
**It's a fair, bright day and the paddock and
grand stand is crowded. There's a lot o' good
pony races, too, just to fill out the card, but o'
course everyone's on hedge for the big match
between the Hon. Percy Clinton o' 'is Majesty's
Eightieth 'Orse, and Capt'in Cyril Ponsonby, V.
C, o' 'is Majesty's Own Black Watch. And it's
not a bad appearance the people made that day
for such a God-forsaken place like that 'ot and
'eathenish land. The ladies looked pretty, too,
and the orfficers giv' the scene a bit o' dash and
smartness in their white uniforms and their silken
racing colors. It seemed like a bit o' old Hen-
gland, sir, everybody 'avin' turned out to see the
sport, and the Tommies in the rival regiments
began passing scurrilous remarks good-humoredly
to each other the minute they reached the field.
The capt'in 'adn't told 'ardly a soul which 'orse
'e meant to race and 'e 'ad that right under the
agreement they made. But, somehow, it 'ad
leaked out, or some pryin' chap 'ad seen me school-
in' the Bishop o' a four a clock in the mornin'.
Now, the major was no yearling, and 'e 'ad some
good 'orses, too, though in course 'e wasn't the
mechanic on a 'orse that the capt'in was, as could
be seen by the prices quoted. When the word
gets out in the paddock that the capt'in intends to
beat the major with a mule, you should 'a' seen
the people runnin' to 'edge a bit, in order to save
*'But most 'o the crowd didn't know a thing
about it, and just sat impatiently waitin' to see
the major ride out on 'is chestnut mare, the best
'un 'e 'ad, and to see if the capt'in would race the
Lady Godiva or the Viceroy. The bugle sounds
and everybody leans forward watching the pad-
The Bishop of Barchester
dock gate. And sure enough, out comes the major
ridin' 'is little chestnut bit o' all-right, 'er stepping
as light and pretty under 'im as a piece o' cork in a
choppy sea. Then there is somethin' o' a wait, so
they tells me, as if Hi didn't know better than
anyone else — the delay resultin' from 'is 'Oliness
'avin 'ooked 'is teeth around my thumb as I'm
spongin' out 'is mouth. Then the capt'in gets
provoked and kicks him with the spurs — the
Bishop gives a buck-jump, lets out one o' them
'orrifying sounds, and goes boundin' through the
gate and up onto the turf. One woman fainted,
so the colonel says afterward, though 'e's apt to
hexaggerate, but Hi knows the band stopped
playing right in the middle o' *'God Save the
Queen," and leaned over the railin' to see what
'ad 'appened, for I was there and sees them.
Then people just sat down wherever they 'appened
to be, and 'eld their sides, near bustin' themselves
wHith larfter. I would ha' almost felt sorry for
the major if 'e 'adn't been so ugly. Oh, the cap-
tin's got a 'orrible sense o' humor when 'e's 'urt.
"And maybe that mule didn't know, sir? Oh,
no, 'e didn't know nothink, 'e didn't, so white and
innocent lookin' ! 'E was just a bit o' a Shetland
pony, puUin' the nussmaid and kiddies about in
the park, 'e was. Why, the way that mule carried
on was frightenin'. Everytime the starter, who's
gettin' more and more 'ighsterical and wipin' the
tears out o' 'is eyes, raises the flag ready to start
'em the Bishop just guffaws. At last, everybody
sees the capt'in, who 'asn't cracked a smile, pick
up 'is reins, clap 'is knees a little tighter, and 'ears
'im call out: 'All ready, major?' The major don't
answer, bein' far too angry, an' busy with keepin'
'is 'orse under 'im at all, but the starter drops the
flag with a shout and they're hoff .
"The people ain't larfin' none now. There's
rupees up, an' reputations, because it's easy to see
that if the capt'in beats the major, 'e, the major's,
got to get 'is transfer. 'E couldn't stand it in
Delhi. It ain't like hold Hengland. It ain't
like anything but Delhi, where it's 'ot as 'ell most
o' the time, and people act different from the way
they do at 'ome. They ain't got the patience, an'
I've seen a couple o' friends fight like tarriers over
nothing — just the orful 'eat. And everyone
knows, too, that if the major 'appens to beat the
capt'in, 'e's got to keep 'im beat, and that's
somethink no man can do.
*Tt's a heart-breaking pace they makes it, with
the major in front goin' steady, and the Bishop
fightin' for 'is head like some hold steeplechase
crack, a dozen yards to the rear. Personally I
'ates 'im — that mule. I never 'andled a meaner,
narstier brute in my life, an' 'e don't know what
The Bishop of Barchester
gratitude means, but I 'as to admire 'im when 'e
clears the water. 'E looks like 'e's goin' to a fire,
the way 'e skims the top o' the brush without an
inch to spare and lands runnin' three feet the
other side o' the ditch. The best timber- topper
in Hengland couldn't 'a'done it prettier. Oh,
it's a pictur', it is, Hi grant you, sir.
*' 'E's easy to follow without glarsses, 'e's so
white and pure-looking, a poundin' on back o' the
major, with the capt'in balancin' 'is 'undred and
thirty pounds as quiet asamouse, and never raisin'
a finger. You can understand what it means to
Delhi, that must 'ave its excitement now and then
— just to keep body and soul together — so many
thousand miles from 'ome. I ain't afraid the
Bishop cawn't stand it, either, for a mule 'as got
more lives than a cat, but I thinks that if the
major's chestnut leads them into the stretch,
she'll win out with 'er wonderful burst o' speed.
And that's what the crowd thinks, too, for when-
ever the capt'in passes them they yell out for 'im
to close up and get a lead on the mare. But 'e,
the capt'in, takes 'is borders from nobody, and
even the colonel, old Kris, often arsks 'is advice —
so 'e and the mule keeps a-pluggin' just as 'appy as
ever you please. You can see it makes the major
nervous, and, bless you, why wouldn't it, to 'ave
a sixteen-'and mule and the capt'in 'arf a length
from your boot. But it cawn't go on forever and
the capt'in bides 'is time. Then 'e jabs 'ome the
spurs and goes 'ard to the whip,when they're arf
a mile from the judges. The Bishop gives one
switch to 'is almighty neglected tail and responds
like a bloomin' hexpress train, never touchin*
'is 'oofs to the ground. 'E looks like a streak
painted along the rail and 'e comes rompin' under
the wire fully six lengths ahead.
"Then I leads 'im back so that th' capt'in can
weigh in. Gawd ! can I ever forget it, that 'orrible
din in my ears. 'E just roars with indecent
delight and brays until I thought I'd kill 'im. I
knew my life was a failure if I 'ad to 'andle that
mule arfter 'e'd won the race. 'E acted like a
blarsted fiend, 'e did, with 'is jumps and kicks
in the air.
"The crowd all swarmed around 'im, the people
'arf foolish with joy. Someone offered to buy 'im
and I caught the capt'in's heye, but 'e only smiles
and pats 'im. The major somehow disappears,
though the crowd keeps callin' 'is name, until the
capt'in raises 'is 'and, 'That's enough,' he says,
"Delhi near went mad that night and the men
in the Black Watch fought the men in the other
'til mornin', in places, they say. I knows I licked
one bloomin' Tommy for callin' the Bishop o'
The Bishop of Barchester
Barchester 'a white-'aired billy goat,' though
'Eaven knows 'e's that and worse. Personally
I stayed hout all night, that night. I didn't dare
to go 'ome, sir, with the Bishop hownin' the stable,
and brayin' fit to kill. Oh, the major? 'E stuck
it hout a week, but 'e couldn't stand it longer, for
every time 'e meets a chap 'e gets arsked to a cup
of tea. Why, they talk about it now, sir, all
through 'is Majesty's service, though it 'appened
some years ago, 'ow the capt'in beat the major on
a bloomin' blarsted mule."
MR. LEFFINGTON FEELS INSPIRED
QUOTED Mr. Leffington:
"One white foot, buy a horse; two
white feet, try a horse; three white
feet, sell a horse; four white feet and
a white nose, cut off his head and
throw him to the crows."
*'So you think Gwendolyn's husband has four
white feet and a white nose, — eh Margaret?"
Mrs. Leffington put down her pen, looked over
her shoulder at her husband and frowned in
* 'Richard I wish you would scrape your boots
outside and not track that red mud all through the
hall and living room, besides too, your spurs cut
the rugs. It's just as easy to hang them out on
the hat -rack or give them to Ruggles to polish."
Mr. Leffington uncrossed his legs and pushed
surreptitiously under the rug with the toe of his
left boot, several pieces of caked mud.
"I'll try to remember, my dear," he said, smiling
good-naturedly behind her back with magnani-
Mr, Leffington Feels Inspired
mous resolution, remembering that all women
were fussy about the house and had to be humored,
— "but what about Gwendolyn's husband, why
are you so down on him?"
"Gwen's a dear girl," Mrs. Leffington replied
irrelevantly poising her pen for a moment in
search of a word.
"She came high for John," Mr. Leffington
mused,rubbing his boots together absent-mindedly
into a cloud of yellow dust.
"You know I didn't mean that," said Mrs.
Leffington tormented into putting her pen down
altogether and turning around to face him.
"Richard, you have a horrible habit of construing
people's words into something they don't mean at
all. What I really meant, was that Gwen is the
sweetest, dearest, most lovable girl in the world,
and if she couldn't live with John Rexford, then
its only John Rexford's fault. I was just writing
her when you interrupted me," Mrs. Leffington
continued, pausing a moment for the desired
effect, and her husband grinned appreciatively,
"to ask if she would come down Sunday and spend
the week but I won't of course if you're not going
to be nice and make her have the loveliest time we
are able. There will be hunting twice, at least,
on Monday and Wednesday, and perhaps again
later during the week, so that there will be plenty
for her to do."
"And for the horses," Mr. Leffington added.
"For a little woman, Gwen is the hardest rider I
ever, — "
"Richard!" Mrs. Leffington stopped him sharp-
"Oh, all right my dear," said Mr. Leffington
indifferently getting up, letting out another hole
in his belt and stretching his long arms over his
head, "I guess the horses can stand it, only the
last time you remember, when Gwen was here,
Aviator threw a curb, Also-Ran slipped his hip,
and — but never mind. Gwen can ride the Rocket
until he can't rocket any more and then she can
have old Nut-Cracker and I fancy even Gwen
can't make Nut-Cracker go any faster or jump any
bigger than he wants to. And if she can, God
bless her is all I say. Personally you know 1 like
Gwen. She's a nice sweet sort of girl, and all that
as you say, even if she does lack training, but I'm
prejudiced of course, because there's John, that
I've known and liked for ever so long. They
don't come much better than John, and he's got
the firmest seat and the lightest hands of any man
in this country."
"Perhaps those qualifications do not necessarily
constitute a good husband," Mrs. Leffington put
Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired
in somewhat sarcastically, turning up her nose
ever so slightly. "Besides he can't ride any
better than you can."
Mr. Leffington smiled, pleased in spite of him-
self, at his wife's partisanship, and ignored the
first part of her remark completely.
"Do you remember, Margaret, the time the
hounds killed in Bagby's barnyard. That was
where John first met Gwen, two years ago
last Thanksgiving; she followed him over the
barnyard fence, a mere five feet or so — as
you happen to know. The rest came in by
the gate, — which was the proper way of course,
— but you should have seen how John looked
at Gwen when he lifted her out of the saddle,
and the way her eyes never left his. That
was love at first sight all right. Damned
shame I say, whatever the trouble is." And Mr.
Leffington having delivered himself of this unusual
bit of sentimentalism to the astonishment of his
wife, took the letter she held out to him for mail-
ing and left the room. Once he paused in the hall
as if in doubt, started on, then paused again.
Finally with the determined air of one who screws
up his courage with, 'who's afraid, — not I', he
proceeded with firm tread out to the stable. He
had neglected to tell Mrs. Leffington that John
Rexford would be staying all the next week at the
club on his invitation and hunting with the
Harkaway pack, for which he, Richard Leffington,
had the honor to carry the horn.
The following Sunday morning just before the
church hour, Mr. Leffington called out to the
stable for the boys to put the Nut-Cracker into
the yellow-wheeled break-cart and secretly con-
gratulated himself that Gwen had chosen so
propitious a time to arrive as Sunday morning.
Usually at this hour Mr. Leffington was conscript-
ed to drive Mrs. Leffington to church, which, to Mr.
Leffington's fancy, lurked in sad and everlasting
sorrow five or six miles down the hardest pike in
the state. To be sure Mrs. Leffington often let
Mr. Leffington come out before the sermon, but
not always, and so Mr. Leffington's soul was this
Sunday morning unaccustomedly joyful and he
looked forward to seeing Gwen with a pleasure
which a few days before he would have believed
impossible. Mrs. Leffington in the meantime
had remained home from church, her great sacri-
fice somewhat ameliorated however by the pleas-
ant anticipation with which one woman looks
forward to that intimate conversation with an-
other, who has recently been made supremely
happy or unutterably miserable, by a man.
As Mr. Leffington drove gaily out of the stable
yard and playfully welted the Nut-Cracker with
Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired
the lash of his whip, he felt suddenly compelled
to throw himself quickly to one side in order to
avoid two iron shod heels that shot unpleasantly
near his head. Mr. Leffington always said that
the Nut-Cracker had a keener sense of humor than
any horse he had ever owned and infinitely more
human than the second man. So after the Nut-
Cracker had had his little joke, passed through a
series of unlisted gaits, and finally settled down to
his usual long swinging trot, Mr. Leffington better
able then to sit in the cart without holding on by
both hands, had an opportunity to light his pipe
and to think. As a matter of fact the former was a
much easier and more usual pastime than the
latter, although his friends often said that when
Richard Leffington did really choose to concen-
trate and use his mind for anything but killing
foxes, he could cause more trouble in five minutes
than any other man in the state.
What weighed most on Mr. Leffington's mind
this Sunday morning on his way to the station,
a mile or two down the macadam pike, was the
unwelcome recollection that he had advised John
Rexford to take the ten o'clock train, which was
the same he was now on his way to meet. He had
little fear that Gwen and John would meet on the
train as probably John would sit in the smoker
reading the Sunday comic sheets, his feet on the
seat in front of him, but when the train stopped at
Harkaway, it was odds on that they would be the
only two to get off the train except the conductor
who didn't really count of course. Therefore
as Mr. Leffington drove down the leisurely descent
of the last hill, and the station lay before him grim
and forbidding a few hundred yards away, a kind
of mental nervousness took possession of him
which he felt quite unable to throw off. At first
it occurred to him that he would wait innocently
in the cart behind the station and at least avoid
anything approaching a scene, which to Mr.
Leffington was a worse prospect than death itself,
but somehow this plan seemed to have points of
strategic weakness, and so when the whistle of the
engine was finally borne crisply down the wind
from the station beyond, it found Mr. Leffington
shifting his feet nervously, and lighting and re-
lighting his pipe, on the platform near the track.
The Nut-Cracker too seemed nervous and uneasy
upon hearing the on-coming whistle of the train,
but to anyone who knew him, this was but one of
his many poses, and while he trembled in the
shafts and snorted in the most approved thorough-
bred fashion, he stood unhitched and unnoticed.
When the train finally rumbled up to the station
and stopped, the first person Mr. Leffington saw
was John Rexford on the steps of the smoker and
Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired
in an instant Mr. Leffington was shaking his hand
and dragging him towards the waiting room.
Having once deposited him there and told him to
wait, he shut the door behind him and reached
the platform just in time to escort Gwen around
the corner of the station, install her in the break-
cart, spring in himself, and urge the not unwilling
Nut-Cracker in the direction of home at a smart
In spite of the fact that Gwen kept up a spright-
ly conversation and seemed peculiarly flushed and
talkative, Mr. Leffington could not rid his imagi-
nation of the picture of John Rexford, sitting for
the next three-quarters of an hour in the cold
waiting room at Harkaway with only the half-
witted baggage man for company.
He remembered now for the first time that John
had a very nasty temper when sufficiently aroused
and he looked at Gwen with a feeling something
akin to sympathetic fellowship, and his replies
were absent-mindedly brief and thoughtful.
In the driveway before the house he left Gwen
and Mrs. Leffington locked in an affectionate
embrace, which seemed to fairly cry out that all
men were bad, and standing up in the cart tanned
the Nut-Cracker into a healthy sweat, until the
latter had entered so much into the spirit of the
game that he galloped one of the fastest quarters
of a mile he had ever done, — past the station, —
where Rexford stood on the platform roaring with
laughter at I^ffington's apparent discomfiture.
But after the Nut-Cracker considered that the
joke had gone far enough, — it was in reality a
heavy toll gate that decided him, — he allowed Mr.
LeflBngton to drive him back to the station where
they picked up John Rexford and carried him off
to the club, while Mr. Leffington tried to explain
his sudden desertion of his friend, so often and so
vociferously, that Rexford immediately grew
suspicious and regarded him with a cold and
On the drive home alone from the club, Mr.
Leffington had an opportunity to carefully con-
sider the events of the day, and decided that the
plot had thickened already more than he had
bargained for, and that in the role of Cupid he was
getting considerably out of his depth. But as
moments of inspiration come to even the least of
us, so was Mr. Leffington illumined and in spite
of the lesson he had so lately experienced he
slapped his leg in his enthusiasm and exclaimed
aloud, which made the Nut-Cracker, mistaking
it for a command, jump violently, nearly putting
Mr. Leffington over the back of the cart, and go
trotting off down the road.
In the meantime, while Mr. Leffington had
Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired
been driving the Nut-Cracker more or less unin-
tentionally up and down the pike, Mrs. Rexford
had had a very good cry in Mrs. Leffington 's
room, in which Mrs. Leffington had joined her,
and by the time he reached home, both women
were in a softened and communicative mood. Of
course John Rexford 's name went unmentioned
whenever Mr. Leffington was present, as by
general consent, though Mrs. Leffington by
now had heard everything John Rexford had
done since the time he first met Gwendolyn, and
all the things good and bad, his mother had told
her about him when he was a boy. In the first
place Mrs. Rexford said John had humihated her
before all the stable, by peremptorily forbidding
her to jump her newest hunter over the paddock
gate. And one evening he had actually not come
home for dinner without even telephoning and
there were other things, — but enough, — Mrs.
Rexford wept copiously on Mrs. Leffington's
Mr. Leffington's hard-bitten look and six feet
of bone and sinew made a very striking figure in a
pink coat, white breeches and topboots, and for
the time being he exercised very much the same
amount of power, and commanded as much respect
as the captain of a ship. Even Mrs. Leffington
then never dared use quite the same tone as she
affected when Mr. Leffington once removed his
badge of office. There was not a better M. F. H.
in the state, or a man who knew his country half
so well, and Mr. Leffington being in a sense subtly,
yet modestly aware of the fact, generally, on days
of hunting appointments, wore his full regalia until
it was time for bed. It was not so much that Mr.
Leffington desired to flount his temporary superi-
ority over Mrs. Leffington upon these occasions,
as that he wished to bring her to a realization, two
or three times every week, that he, Richard
Leffington, was still a man, even though he was
her husband. And secretly of course, Mrs.
Leffington was fatuously proud of him and adoring
and Mr. Leffington being subtly aware of this,
let her run the house, and him, pretty much as
And so on Monday morning very early, just
after the first gray light had come, Mr. Leffington
was up, scrupulously dressed, fussing nervously
about in the stable, and girting up the Nut-Crack-
er who swelled himself unconscionably, while Mrs.
Leffington and Mrs. Rexford called through the
halls to each other to hurry, and dropped hair-pins
and nets all over the floor, until at last all three
were mounted and cantering down the road to the
Mr. Leffington had a great deal on his mind this
Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired
particular hunting morning, since the direction
his inspiration the day before had taken would be
greatly affected by coming events. He noticed
with pleasure that Gwen started violently when
she saw John at the club which he took to mean
they had not seen each other the morning before
on the train, and that a whispered conversation
followed quickly between she and Mrs. Leffington,
in which the latter often looked at him, Mr.
Leffington, in a manner which he easily catalogued
through long experience, as "stormy."
At last, screwing up his courage he joined John
Rexford in conversation, right under the guns as
it were, and finally with a nonchalance of which
Mrs. Leffington would have believed him incapa-
ble, gave three long blasts on his horn as a warning
to all late comers, stuck his heel into the Nut-
Cracker's side and moved off alone in his glory at
the head of an eager pack of twenty couples, a
good sized field following on behind. He had
given the Rocket to Gwen to ride, which was the
safest and biggest jumping horse in the stables,
and he had seen that Rexford found a good mount
at the club, so that it was not that which weighed
upon his mind and caused him to remain unusually
silent as they trotted down the road past Four
Corners, and then turned up into some thick
woods at the crest of the hill overlooking the
Gainsborough Farms, and with the help of his
two whips cast the pack into the most Ukely part.
Mr. Leffington was not a sentimentaUst, he
himself would have been among the first to deny
it, and his new self-appointed role, as peacemaker
to a pair of quarrelsome lovers, did not sit com-
fortably on his broad shoulders. It had been
Mr. Leffington's sudden idea the day before w^hen
he had slapped his leg so smartly in the break-cart
and startled the Nut-Cracker from his somnolence,
that if he could bring it about that the hounds
should kill again in Bagby's barnyard, as they had
two years before, when Gwen had followed John
over the gate, and he had lifted her out of the
saddle, why then the same might happen again,
why not, and — . But foxes are notoriously untrust-
worthy, and cannot be expected when hotly pur-
sued by a pack of twenty couples and as many
more horses and men, to choose any particular
place in which to die, so Mr. Leffington was obliged
to think of some much more dependable scheme.
When Mr. Leffington once made up his mind
he was nothing if not thorough, and from the time
he paid the stable boy to drag an anise-seed bag in
a circuitous and tortuous route from the crest of
the hill overlooking the Gainsborough Farms until
the boy finally climbed the fence into Bagby's
barnyard, then got out the remains of a dead fox
Mr, Leffington Feels Inspired
which someone had shot, and placed it in the
middle of the yard, — there was not a link in the
chain missing, and Sherlock Holmes himself
would have been obliged to take numerous hypo-
dermics of the deadly drug and play on the violin
for hours before he could have discovered the
To Mr. Leffington's trained and veteran ear,
somewhat guiltily sensitive this morning, the very
manner in which the hounds acted after they were
cast into the woods, was suspicious. The blatant
way in which they picked up the scent en masse,
as it were, and went away in such unheard of full
cry, before people could even tighten their girths,
made Mr. Leffington think that the stable boy
must have emptied half of the aniseed bag some-
where up there in the woods, and he fancied that
he could almost detect the scent himself. Mr.
Leffington glanced back every once in a while
over his shoulder, whenever the Nut-Cracker
stopped pulling and boring long enough to give
him a chance, and he noticed that John Rexford
was riding well up in front and that Gwen was
close behind him. The field however had strag-
gled and Mr. Leffington chuckled inwardly to
see how well his plan was working out, for in
truth it had been no careless makeshift, and he
had reckoned upon the fact that both John Rex-
ford and Gwen could be counted on to outride the
others, — and that especially the Rocket, on which
Gwen was mounted, could outgallop and out-dis-
tance any horse he had ever owned over big coun-
try,when the hounds were well away. Indeed after
another look behind him Mr. Leffington found it
necessary to sit very close to the saddle and take
a good hold of the Nut-Cracker's head, for the
latter had caught the dull sound of horse's hoofs
pounding on the turf behind him, and showed his
irritation by bolting in a characteristic manner.
Mr. Leffington might be said, and he admitted
as much later on, to have been carried entirely
against his will into the deep running creek at the
edge of Runyan's plowed field, — and out again, for
the last of which he silently gave thanks, — while
the others came through the ford and avoided a
drenching, which was the way any sane person or
horse for that matter, would have chosen; but
no one would have hazarded the statement that
the Nut-Cracker was sane, when the hounds
The country was opening up now, and the pack
was plainly visible two or three hundred yards
away,their music carried joyfully down the wind to
horses and men. As they galloped on, the hounds
never checking at all, they came finally in sight
of Bagby's white-washed board fences and Mr.
Mr. Leffington Feels Inspired
LeflSngton knew that three minutes more at the
rate they were going would see the end of the day.
To Mr. Leffington, Bagby's barnyard fence looked
peculiarly high as he rode at it down the side of a
hill, the hounds already swarming over and under
it, and he hoped that the Nut-Cracker would feel
in a proper frame of mind, for Mr. Leffington had
known the other long enough not to have any
illusions as to his being made to jump it if he had
rather not. But the Nut-Cracker made a clean
performance and Mr. Leffington barely had time
to get away on the other side before John Rexford
landed behind him closely followed by Gwen.
The rest of the field came galloping down the hill
and seeing that the hounds had already killed,
dismounted and came more or less leisurely
through the gate.
Mr. Leffington was busy cutting off the dead
fox's brush for Gwen, but he was not to be denied
the pleasure of being in at the death as he would
have expressed it, and so when John Rexford
came over to his wife, lifted her out of the saddle
into his arms and she clung to him desperately
and Rexford kissed her, — Mr. Leffington watched
it all in shameless triumph with an inscrutable
smile illumining his lean bronzed face.
And to this day the Harkaway Hunt does not
know, with the exception of Mrs. Leffington,
John Rexford and his wife, for it was far too good
to keep entirely to himself, that one of the fastest
runs the Club ever had, over its stiffest country,
the second time the hounds killed in Bagby^s
barnyard, was a mere delusion and a snare, and
that in reality the hounds never killed at all.
Nor does Mr. Leffington know, for the others
would never spoil the sport by telling him, that
John Rexford and Gwen had made it all up on the
train that Sunday morning and agreed to take in
poor Richard. But whatever anyone says it
must be admitted that Mr. Leffington was a
consummate artist in his way.
WHEN THE MARQUIS CAME INTO
THERE was a 'southerly wind and a
cloudy skj^ and the ground was moist
with dew,' but there would be no hunt-
ing in Fairfax County that morning.
The hounds complained bitterly behind closed
kennel doors, they could feel the scent in the
air, and blanketed hunters kicked in their stalls
and neighed. Something most untoward must
have happened, when on a day like that, the
hills did not echo and re-echo with the sound of
the huntsman's horn, but all was quiet as night.
There was hardly a sign of life except where
one old pensioner hound nosed about in a field
near the stable, fancying he had got up a rabbit
and gave a short yelp now and then.
In truth something unusual had happened, for
in another part of the stable a Torchlight foal had
been born. And Torchlight foals are not born
every day, even in Virginia. So that day there
would be no hunting, though a fox should come
bark at the door, and instead Fullerton, the 'Vet,"
old black Ephram, the Master and others, watched
silently the little fellow, and occasionally nodded
to each other with knowing looks when he moved.
And in turn the little foal's mother watched them
all, raising her head now and then, to roll her eyes
in warning, if the "vet" stooped down to touch her
babe, or give it something to drink. Then Fuller-
ton, whom she had known for years, would speak
softly to her, tell her that all was well, and w^ith a
sigh she would put her head back in the straw.
For quite a time it was thought the foal would
not live, and the "vet" moved about noiselessly,
while old Ephram tiptoed here and there as if in
the presence of death, but little by little as Ful-
lerton watched, the Marquis, as he was called
later on, began to improve. First he opened his
eyes in an odd w ondering sort of way and stretched
his legs a bit. Then the "vet" drew a long breath
and asked for the "makings", — he reckoned he'd
smoke a little, — which was a sure sign that his
work was successfully done, so that Fullerton
knew that the Marquis would live and he smiled
to himself with pleasure.
"Do you think he will jump?" he asked, and the
"vet" looked at him with one eye-brow raised.
"A Torchlight jump?" he inquired, with a
quizzical smile on his lips. "Can a duck swdni?"
and old Ephram chortled with glee for an hour.
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
But FuUerton and the others had forgotten the
dam in thinking so much of the foal, and when
they remembered, it was a Httle too late, since
they found her dead in the stall. Perhaps it was
that, — for she had been a great mare in her day,
and had won two score ribbons or more, — that
brought Fullerton and the Marquis closer to-
gether, but it is certain that Fullerton raised
him on a bottle and figuratively walked the floor,
until the Marquis was old and strong enough to
fight his battles alone. Therefore the Marquis
was much to be excused for a great many things,
since he had no mother, and all the advice he got
was from Fullerton, who was only a man after all,
and not even a horse as it were.
The Marquis was a delicate colt for more than
a year or two, for he seemed to grow in all the
wrong places at once. His back was far too long,
though he got most of his growth in his legs,
which were longer and far more wobbly than any-
thing ever seen. But he had a nice small head
and muzzle, and showed his breeding there.
When the word went around, as it does every-
where in the South, slow but sure, that a Torch-
light had been foaled, men who were riding or
driving past, would pull up and stop for a look
at the latest addition to Fullerton's thoroughbred
stock. But they usually shook their heads
doubtfully, or laughed, when they saw the Mar-
quis. "Run all to legs and no conformation at
all," they expressed it, though if the Marquis
heard, he did not cease nibbling his grass, and no-
one could possibly have told that he ground his
teeth in a rage, or was furiously angry within.
For the Marquis had always a very quick temper,
especially when ridiculed. Fullerton found that
out one day when he was playfully teasing him,
sticking his thumb in his ribs, for the Marquis
caught him through the arm with his teeth, and
Fullerton never did it again. After that he
understood better how the Marquis felt, since the
county had come to think it an excellent joke on
him too, his having this strange looking colt on
his hands. Indeed Fullerton had rather bragged,
before the Marquis was born, that he anticipated
the greatest colt of the year.
If Fullerton had been a different sort of man it
might have turned him against the Marquis, but
since he was not, it made him kinder instead, and
the colt never forgot.
As the Marquis grew older, nature seemed to
do little or nothing to aid him and the way people
laughed was annoying, for there was the Yorkshire
Lad, foaled only a day or two later, that the
county was still talking about, — a fine breedy colt,
everyone said, with a short coupled back and
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
quarters to match,that would speak for themselves
in the field or over a steeplechase course. He
was a picture to gaze at, the Yorkshire Lad, with
an aristocratic bearing, and a certain disting-
uished manner of throwing his head in the air,
for he seemed to possess all those showy qualities,
that count for so much, which the Marquis
peculiarly lacked. But Fullerton was a man who
knew a horse, almost better than any other, and
he regarded the Yorkshire Lad as a colt without
bottom and an abominable quitter at heart.
And so the Marquis grew up unnoticed, except
by Fullerton who was hunting all day long, and
had little spare time to waste on the Marquis's
education. In fact the county forgot his very
existence, and eagerly watched the Yorkshire Lad,
who stood sixteen hands without shoes, and was
schooled each morning over made jumps at the
end of the lunging line.
Just turned three he did six feet two without
effort, and the countryside fairly rang with his
praises, and prophesied records to follow. Fuller-
ton watched anxiously with the others and was
invariably obliged to admit that the colt had a
promising look, and that his sleek, well groomed
coat made the Marquis's seem like a rug. For
the furry hair on the latter's back and quarters
was covered with short little bits of straw, and as
for his legs, the hair grown long at the fet-locks,
they resembled a Cochin China's more than any-
Still, what did that matter, Fullerton persuaded
himself, appearances didn't count. Down there
horses weren't park hacks to be ridden in "Rotten
Row," but gentlemen's hunters, that could gallop
and jump to the tune of forty couples. What if
the Yorkshire Lad had jumped six feet two, at
the end of a lunging line ! Loose bars ! that knocked
down at the slightest touch of a horse's knees.
Poof! Hadn't the Marquis jumped four board
fences, one right after the other, only for a
mouthful of green grass he saw growing near the
crest of a hill? Those fences didn't knock down.
Almost any horse in the county, whether a jumper
or not, had learned, that over FuUerton's farm,
the fences were made of new timber and wired up
to stay, and that if one was so unfortunate as to
strike above the knee, it turned one over like a
clowTi in the circus, and it was a Godsend for both
horse and rider, when they fell, if it had rained the
night before, or the frost was out of the ground.
The Marquis had been in the field once when
the hounds had struck a line across there, and it
was evident then that every horse was saving
himself when he saw those fences ahead, and
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
galloped a trifle more slowly, with his hocks
gathered well underneath.
Soon now it would be time for the colts to be
hunting, a short canter and try out to begin with,
over small hurdles, that would not be strain
enough to hurt them, — for the Marquis now, and
the others, were just past three years old.
Even the Marquis was getting used to the saddle
and bridle and the feeling of weight, for old
Ephram often rode him, but FuUerton had never
been on his back, and only the old stud groom
knew what power and courage was there. Indeed
Fullerton, against his better nature, had kept
putting off day by day, the time when he must
ride the Marquis out in the face of a hunting field,
though continually he argued with himself that
it did not matter, since what real difference should
it make to an honest, hard riding man, if his
mount could but carry him higher and faster than
any other horse in the field.
The fall hunting had begun now as the leaves
dropped off the trees, and lay brittle on the
ground below. There was a sharp winter thrill
in the air and when a farm dog barked in the
distance, or a wagon wheel crunched, it sounded
much as it does when the snow is packed on the
ground. Twice the Yorkshire Lad, — with Carroll
up, in pink, — went cantering by on the way to the
meet, and each time as they passed, the man
halloed, and the colt flung up his head and snorted
in a particularly arrogant manner.
The last time, FuUerton was just saddling his
old hunter Playmate, outside the stable door,
when he heard Carroll call. He waved his arm
in return, and dropped the girth he held in his
hand, while he watched the Yorkshire Lad in-
crease his speed, and go galloping down the road,
for Carroll had touched him gently with his near
spur in order to show off his stride.
Fullerton watched them out of sight, then
slowly shook his head, and glanced at the Marquis
who stood in the corner of the paddock fence,
painfully trying to appear unconcerned, as he
nipped at the Playmate's hocks. Fullerton would
have given a good deal then to have owned
a colt that could have made Carroll on his York-
shire Lad sit tight and follow him straight-away
as the crow flies, but there was little hope of that,
for the Marquis, he had come to agree with the
rest, was a failure, — he had been damned from the
start. He shrugged his shoulders as the man and
horse disappeared from sight, and with his head
beneath the upraised flap of the Playmate's
saddle, he reached for the trailing end of the girth,
and buckled and fastened it there, while the
Playmate groaned and swelled himself out to
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
make it more difficult, merely as a matter of form.
Then old Ephram as usual dipped his brush in a
bucket of water and gave a last touch to the mane,
and Fullerton, his foot in the stirrup, mounted,
touched the Playmate ever so lightly with his
spurred heel, and rode him into the yard.
It was the same thing over again, Fullerton
riding out on the Playmate, and the latter pretend-
ing to buck, with absurd pretensions to youth.
But this time something unusual had happened,
for the Playmate had gone dead lame. Fullerton
pulled him up abruptly the moment he felt him
wince and called for Ephram to come out. Then
he quickly dismounted, lifted up the Playmate's
off forefoot, and drew a nail from the frog.
* 'Bring out the Ranger," he said. 'T mean't
to save him today," but Ephram shook his head.
"The Ranger, sah, am in town, habin' new
shoes put on," and it seemed then if ever, that the
Marquis's hour had come.
Fullerton did not think of the Marquis at once,
and only swore softly to himself but somehow he
happened to catch his eye, which made him start
and ponder, then cross over and take down a bar.
In another minute he had slipped the Playmate's
bridle, the one with the white brow band, over
the Marquis's ears, and buckled the saddle on.
Then he mounted and without hesitation turned
the Marquis's head for the gap in the fence, and
struck him hard with both spurs.
The Marquis took it swiftly, ahnost from where
he stood, and when they landed over, FuUerton
pulled him up sharply, and measured the length
of the jump with his eye.
"Ephram," he called, *'did you know this colt
could jump.^^" but Ephram only rolled the whites
of his eyes.
"The vet done say, 'Ken a duck swim.?^' " he
grinned, and burst into spasms of laughter.
The Marquis made the turn into the road at a
gallop, the direction the Yorkshire Lad had gone,
and FuUerton sat close to the saddle and took a
fresh grip on the lines. But FuUerton found that
the Marquis kept himself well in hand, for his
stride was forceful and long, and covered, it
seemed, just twice that of any horse he had ever
ridden before. And to the Marquis, Fullerton's
weight was nothing at all, he sat so still, and his
touch on the bit was so perfectly steady and
When the others saw FuUerton approaching
down the road, at the pace he was going then, the
huntsman had just blown his horn, as a final
warning, and they strained their eyes to see what
it was that FuUerton rode, for as the Master said
afterward, it looked like a Teddy Bear. The
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
Marquis however, would not have minded, for the
fire was in his eyes; he had heard the horn and
seen the hounds, and at last his hour had come, for
a Torchlight, chestnut colt, is not as you and I,
who live and breath by rote.
First of all it is to be remembered that the Mar-
quis was born and bred a Torchlight, — and that
is something to be considered, when speaking of
horses down there, and too there was the York-
shire Lad beside him, which was sufficient alone
to make all the gall of his sporting ancestors rise
at once, and he trembled and switched his tail in
the air. Hounds often in the distance had passed
him and he had heard their voices afar, as well as
the song of the horn, but this was something quite
new. Now they all moved jogging slowly along
the road together, horses crowding and jostling
each other, with the hounds following the hunts-
man's lead. Then they went single file into some
woods and came out on the other side in the open,
where miles of low rolling country stretched
below them invitingly.
The hounds were eagerly at work near the Mar-
quis, with the ringing voice of the huntsman urg-
ing them on. Deep in the shadowy wood instan-
taneous flashes of white and brown, or waving
excited tails, caught the light now and then, and
there echoed the short eager cries of the hounds.
The Yorkshire Lad was nervously alert, though
he had hunted a number of times before. His
tail shook like a reed in the wind, his sharp cut
nostrils dilated swiftly, and he pawed the hard
ground with one forefoot. The colts stood side
by side, and it was plain to Fullerton that people
discussed them. The Yorkshire Lad was half a
hand taller and his coat shone like a new silver
dollar, but Fullerton knew that that wouldn't
count if the Marquis could outjump and outgallop
Fullerton shut his knees on the saddle in a way
that made the Marquis catch his breath, which
coming fast, turned, in the sharp frosty air, to a
vaporous cloud, while his small furry ears pointed
this way and that and his heart beat with longing
against the leg of Fullerton's boot. Then one
hound began to give tongue, and before Fullerton
could change his position, a big red fox, went
directly under the Marquis's legs, and the whole
pack burst forth like the shriek of a sudden
squall, and came swiftly towards them.
In a moment Fullerton had wheeled him, leaned
low over his withers and sent home both spurs.
The Marquis, whose great strength lay in his
quarters, literally stood in the air, — Torchlight
colts will rear you know, — and with one long
stride, passed the Yorkshire Lad, who was boring
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
his head to the ground. Now came all the boasted
strength of his ancestors pounding through his
veins, and after the first few minutes as the Mar-
quis held his own, Fullerton felt more than half
convinced that he had done the colt a rank injus-
tice, and that the latter could gallop like that for
hours or leap a five foot wall, and he scorned to
look back for the Yorkshire Lad but rode in the
first flight with the best. He picked out the
highest panel of a stiff white-washed board fence,
and as they came safely over, theMarquis squealed
and he heard the men laughing behind him. But
the Yorkshire Lad followed him closely and there
was little to choose between the two.
Oh the glory of the music to Fullerton's soul, as
the scent began to burn, and the hounds ran with
noses high. The bigger the fences the better, —
that would show the difference between them, —
for the Yorkshire Lad had the wasp of a waist
that would test his endurance soon, and the Mar-
quis had the pluck of the devil, and a barrel that
not every girth would go around. Sometimes the
Yorkshire Lad's breath came hot on his quarters,
or sometimes they raced side by side, while the
men on their backs spared their weight when
they could, and studied the country beyond.
Now comes the song of the hounds * 'There he
goes, there he goes, there he goes," and the Mar-
quis breathes deep and rises gallantly at an ugly
stone wall, and once over goes hock-deep in a soft
spot in a plowed field, where the water has run
down from above. But he struggles out, laboring
painfully as he gallops across the heavy furrows,
just in time to see the Yorkshire Lad's tail in the
air disappearing over a post and rail, and down
the side of a hill. Then Fullerton tries to check
him in order to save his wind, but the Marquis
will have none of it, — he has wind and plenty to
spare! "There he goes, there he goes, there he
goes," the cry hangs in his ears, and he cunningly
takes the post and rail where a bar is cracked, lest
he should come to grief, and goes plunging down
A stream of icy water flows rapidly at the
bottom, and he does not hesitate, for he sees the
Yorkshire Lad climb dripping out on the other
side, but holds his nose above the water and
struggles to keep his feet on the shifting sandy
bottom. It takes all of his strength and cunning
to scale the slippery bank, but he's safely up at
last and hears the hounds again.
"There he goes, there he goes, there he goes,"
he cocks his ears forward and harks to the joyous
refrain. Now the Yorkshire Lad is barely a field
ahead and is showing the effect of the pace. Ful-
lerton does not urge the Marquis now, indeed he
Whenlfhe Marquis Came Into His Own
is holding him back, for a well bred colt might
break his heart and no one would know 'ti.l he
dropped. But the Marquis fights for his head,
gets control of the bit, and before FuUerton can
take him up, his bootleg is rubbing the Yorkshire
Lad's soapy shoulder, and the Marquis is leading
"Hark to 'em, hark to 'em, hark to 'em," the
Master shouts, just as his raw-boned flea-bitten
grey strikes her knees on the top of the wall, and
though she scrapes over, nearly goes down when
she finds a nasty two-foot drop. The Marquis
rises at it prettily, nose and nose with the York-
shire Lad, head up, with his hocks well under
him, — for it's a treacherous down-hill landing, and
they are going like mad, the hounds never at fault.
No time to check,it's a breast high scent, but there
is a difference now in the voices of the hounds;
it's deeper and stronger than ever it was before
and echoes back from two or three fields beyond.
"We've got him, we've got him, we've got him,"
the music seems to say, and the Marquis jumps at
the change in the sound, and fights with the York-
shire Lad for the right to lead the way.
"Hark to 'em, hark to 'em, hark to 'em,"
again the Master shouts, and the gray gallops
bravely ahead, forgetting the bruise on her knees,
and with the rush of the Yorkshire Lad's breath
past his ears, he doubles the length of his stride.
"We've got him, we've got him, we've got him,"
comes from the field beyond but it ends in a deep
throaty scream that announces the finish is near.
There's one more jump that's all, the Marquis is
near it now, and Fullerton rises in his stirrups as
he glances back at the Yorkshire Lad, and halloes.
It's a ragged stone wall with an ox-rail before, and
a "rider" or two laid along the top; a wicked
thing at the end of a day, for any horse to jump,
not to mention a colt.
The Marquis's nostrils are quivering and show-
ing the red within, his ears are no longer erect,
and the way he gallops is dead; but his eyes still
burn, and his tail sweeps out, for his is Torchlight
blood, and there is ever the pounding behind him
of the Yorkshire Lad's hoofs on the turf.
The Master once over and safely away, turns
expectantly in his saddle to watch, as the Mar-
quis approaches the wall, and the Master is not
disappointed, for the Marquis makes one final
effort, gets well over, and then, his hind feet,
barely caressing the top, kicks himself away.
But the Yorkshire Lad who comes under whip and
spur, is roaring hoarsely, flecked with blood and
foam, and he falls when he strikes the wall.
That was all. In another moment the hounds
When the Marquis Came Into His Own
killed, and a tremendous dog fox it was, as you
may see for yourself if you wish, since the brush
still hangs in the Marquis's stall, though this
happened years ago. Indeed little was ever heard
again of the Yorkshire Lad, but the Marquis's
name became law, among horses or men who
And even to this day when the hounds are in full
cry, though there be younger blood in the field,
Fullerton on the Marquis usually leads the way.
BRUTUS, COW PONY
WHEN No. 2, the big black trans-
port on which Brutus sailed (odd
name for a horse, you say; yes,
that's what the Colonel said,
but that comes later), was only a few days out of
Cape Town, the first shot was fired and the war
began. As No. 2 finally steamed into the harbor
and docked, Brutus fidgeting excitedly deep down
in the hold with the other horses of the 19th
Lancers, could hear the bells in the engine room
as they clanged for "Slow," the swish and slap
of the sea against the ship's side, and then the
gurgling churn of the waters as the vibrating
engines reversed and held her. Overhead he
heard orders shouted and the steady trample of
men as the regiments formed aft and went down
the gangplank, two abreast.
Then came the thing he hated worst in the
world, which he had gone through on embarking
and the sudden whirl to a giddy height, and the
swift drop made him dizzy. Horse after horse
Brutus, Cow Pony
preceded him, and then came his turn. He braced
himself, feet apart, the whistle blew shrilly, the
cables ran creaking through the blocks and he
felt himself lifted high in midair above the ship's
deck by the great derrick, swung out over the
dock, where he turned slowly in the air, kicking
viciously, with squeal upon squeal of sheer
wounded dignity and rage, and then gently
lowered until, scrambling, he found his feet and
stood quivering once more on terra firma.
He was piebald, marked with brown and white,
and stood little more than fourteen hands, but a
horse was a horse now since the British govern-
ment had suddenly waked up and put a tag on
everything with four legs in sight.
He was an American cow pony, and by contrast
was almost pitiful as he stood near an officer's
big English bred charger, while the soldiers, rest-
ing on their arms surrounded him laughing. He
eyed them viciously, with his back rounded like
a cat's and his ears laid back threateningly.
Then quickly the soldiers fell back and Brutus
saw an officer pushing his w^ay through the crowd
until he stood barely a safe distance from his heels.
The officer was adjusting his monocle and trying
to read what was printed on the white square of
paper plastered on the pony's quarter. Brutus
heard him muttering: —
"Brutus, No. 214 ! Good Gawd ! and for Troop
Brutus felt the sting of the words and the inso-
lent manner. It was a good thing for this fool,
he thought, with a little thrill of pride, that Jack
was a fugitive from justice safe across the Texan
border. He'd shot a man more than once for
less than an insult to his pony.
Then he raised his head and saw a tall, lank
sunburned man in a sombrero talking to the
English oflScer. Brutus felt a wave of homesick-
ness when he saw the hat, but when he heard the
other's voice it cheered him. He cocked his
ears forward and listened.
'Tf you don't want the pony I'll buy him," the
man said eyeing Brutus with a knowing look.
Brutus moved a step nearer.
"Livingston, you war correspondents have
queer tastes," the other replied sarcastically.
"See the quarter-master," Brutus gave a snort
of pleasure and kicked sidewise at an inquisi-
tive trooper who had come too near. At any rate,
here was a man, one of his own kind, who knew a
good cow pony when he saw one, even if it did
look a little underfed and ridiculous and had its
A few minutes later Brutus saw Livingston
coming toward him.
Brutus, Cow Pony
'*I've got him !" he heard him shout to the officer
and saw him wave a piece of paper in the air.
Brutus was glad, of course, but it wouldn't do to
give in without a fight before all those snickering
Tommies, and then Livingston would think
better of him, too — that is, if he was the sort he
looked to be, with those broad, stooping shoulders
and the long, loose jointed arms and legs. He glar-
ed at Livingston and rounded his back a little
more and laid his ears back a little further; then,
as the man took a step nearer, he bared his teeth,
but in an instant he felt the other astride his back
and the knees almost squeezing the wind out of
Good! This was a man — in a flash he was off
like a bolt of lightning, bucking, rearing and sun
fishing, while the man on his back belted him
about the head with his big felt hat and halloed.
The soldiers watched them in open mouthed
wonder until they disappeared from view.
Fifteen minutes later, gentle and contented,
Brutus cantered quietly along the main street,
while the man patted his neck and laughed good
naturedly. The war had begun in earnest and
the town was filled with horses and guns, the men
in khaki, while every day another big transport
arrived and disembarked more. Brutus had light
work these days. It was only to canter every
morning down to the cable office and wander
about, unhitched, for an hour or more, while
Livingston, inside, pleaded and threatened to get
his message sent. He could stand it now all right,
the amused snickers and whispered remarks of the
other horses, for didn't he have a champion now,
that tall, weatherbeaten man standing just inside
the door with his hands on his hips, legs spread
firmly apart, and now and then patting the big
**44" in the worn leather holster at his side, as he
said to the cable operator in a deliciously lazy
drawl : —
"Well, so help me, if that cable isn't sent before
I come back I'll make this office look like the
Fourth of July."
Then, one day, horses and guns and men formed
into organized fighting bodies, and little by little
the town w as emptied as the army marched into
the sun parched veldt. Brutus, keen and alert,
with the gaunt man in the white pith helmet,
became a familiar sight, as he trotted or cantered
untiringly beside the big troop horses of the
advance guard of cavalry. At night, when the
column halted, he w^as hobbled in the horse lines,
but much to his disgust, with Troop A of the 19th
Lancers, that had spurned him and cast him out.
The war had become a grim reality, and the early
morning treks into the withering veldt, enlivened
Brutus, Cow Pony
only now and then by an occasional skirmish, were
growing monotonous and beginning to tell on
horses and men, though it could hardly be said to
have altered Brutus much, unless the skin was
drawn a little tighter over the cowlike hip bones
or the eyes burned brighter.
Troop A had had a hard day, when one evening
about dark, dust covered and weary, with five
empty saddles and a wounded corporal, it found
itself compelled to pitch camp many miles from the
main body. There was little sleep that night for
horses or men. Signal fires were burning, little
patches of flame on the distant hills, and the camp
watched them while awake. Hobbled in the
horse lines, Brutus heard the words passed along
that the Boers had cut them off from the main
body and that they were hemmed in. Brutus
dozed; it was nothing new to him. He'd been
hemmed in before, once by United States troops,
when he belonged to a Sioux, and again by Indians
when he was rounding up cattle for the *'XX."
It rather annoyed him, the silly chatter the troop
horses kept up, especially that of the dapple gray.
The gray was speaking.
"It's all rot, you know, knocking us about like
this. Government should know better."
"Right-o, my beauty," chimed in the sergeant-
major's chestnut, "but h'i s'y» some one had to do
it, didn't they?"
"I beg your pardon, " the gray rephed, with a
toss. "Please do not address me as *your beauty,'
and remember that I am the first Heutenant's
gray." Brutus sniffed. That gray made him
"Say, pardner," he said, "can't you cut that
out? I want to go to sleep." The gray eyed him
"You were addressing me?" he said interrogat-
"I was," answered Brutus firmly, with a glint
in his eye. The gray ignored him and swished his
tail at a persistent fly.
"S'y, you're the haughty one, ain't you?" the
chestnut pursued; " 'e seems a decent enough little
chap." The gray ground his teeth — they needed
"Oh, yes; no doubt you think so, but he strikes
me as an extremely common horse." A "Krag"
cracked in the distance and a bullet whizzed out
of the darkness through the horse lines.
"There now," the gray pursued wrathfully,
"what do you think of that? It's trek, trek, trek
all day in the blistering sun through the God-
forsaken country, then tied up every night to
be shot at. Beastly bad management somewhere,
BrutuSy Cow Pony
I call it." Brutus threw up his head with a snort
that startled the horses half way down the line.
"My friend," he remarked, "were you ever in
Arizona, when the thermometer was 130, with a
wounded cow puncher on your back and six
howling red devils chasing you for seventy miles,
without a drop to drink?"
"Arizona? Never heard of it. Is it in the
colonies?" the gray condescended. Brutus drew
in a deep breath that swelled out his sides and
turned away with a sigh . . .
"Go to sleep," was all he said.
But there was no more sleep for any one. The
little troop of one hundred men was surrounded,
and the neighboring hills afforded safe means for
attack for the Boers. The shots were popping
through the darkness with unpleasant regularity,
and even the tiny spurts of flame were visible,
the enemy had come in so close. The pickets were
falling back one by one and the camp was alive
and anxious. The horses were made more secure
and the troop stood waiting, every nerve on edge.
This attack was not by a mere detachment of
Boers, it must be the main body itself. Brutus
too felt the strain, though he did not jump or
squeal every time a bullet passed unpleasantly
When the first early light came it found the
troop still fighting bravely, but it had lost twenty
men and as many more were wounded. The
horses too had suffered, and one poor thing near
Brutus dropped down with a moan, shot through
the head. The troop too was losing heart and
replied to the constant firing almost listlessly.
Toward afternoon the attack ceased and the dusk
came on in peace, but all knew, horses and men,
that the Boers were only resting and would begin
again at nightfall.
It was silent now, and the deadly stillness was
almost worse than the noise. Then Brutus heard
voices near him. Two men were standing only
a few feet away. One of them was Livingston
and the other was the ranking oflScer of the troop.
Brutus pushed his way toward them and reached
his hot nose to Livingston's hand.
"There's only one way," the latter was saying;
"that's for some one to cut through their lines
to-night to our main division."
"We could do it," Brutus thought, and edged a
"It can't be done," the officer replied; "they'd
down you a hundred yards from camp."
"I can try; it's only fifty miles, and the pony
could do it in five hours. These others," Living-
ston said, waving his hand toward the listening
Brutus, Cow Pony
horses, "would break their necks." And Brutus
bobbed his head approvingly.
"You're a non-combatant. If they caught you
out there those chaps would hang you," the officer
"The New York Call wouldn't allow it," the
other smiled, "and I'm the only one who can do
That night at nine o'clock, when the first ping
of a shot sounded from the hills, Brutus recognized
a tall, stooping figure coming down the line, and
gave a little whinny of pleasure as the man stopped
and threw a cloth and saddle over his back and
tightened the girths with his knee in the pony's
stomach. The Lieutenant's gray looked around
sharply. "Huh," he snorted. "I wonder what
they're up to. No good, I'll be bound. Two
of a kind, I say." Brutus lashed out with both
heels, for hard words against one's master is a
personal insult among horses. Then he felt the
cold steel between his teeth as the bridle slipped
over his ears, and a minute later was following
Livingston, treading softly past the furthermost
"Good luck, sir, and God bless you!" he heard
the picket whisper. Then he felt Livingston's
weight in the saddle and the powerful grip of his
knees, and he went forward, lifting his feet care-
fully, avoiding the rocks.
The night was black and silent and hot. Heavy
clouds hung overhead, and now and then a large
drop fell with a spatter on the saddle bow. Three
hundred yards from camp a shot knocked up the
loose dust almost under his nose, and then another
and another. They were seen ! He felt the sharp
spurs in his side, heard the man's low voice in his
ear and knew the fight for life had begun.
With his ears laid back from his outstretched
head and his bony legs opening and shutting
swiftly beneath him, Brutus was running as he had
never run before. The shots were coming faster
and faster, but Brutus had found his stride and the
speeding blur in the dark made no easy target.
Little spits of fire flashed from the darkness on
every side simultaneously with the crack of the
shots and the whiz of the bullets. Brutus was
galloping madly. He didn't care to be killed so
far from home with that sleek fed gray to joke
about it when he was gone, and then there was
the man on his back to think of. But the shots
were fewer now and sounded from the rear. Then
came the quiet regular beat of hoofs. They were
through the lines and the Boers were after them.
Brutus would have chuckled but for the fact
that they had a long way to go and he needed his
Brutus, Cow Pony
wind. He hadn't had such sport since those
braves had broken loose from the reservation.
An occasional shot came unpleasantly near, then
the last sound of hoof beats died away, and Brutus
settled into his accustomed canter and mile after
mile swept by monotonously. Once when he
struck a rolling stone he and Livingston went
down in a heap, but they were soon up and off
again. It was awfully hot, he thought, as hot as
Arizona, and such bad going — the rocks were so
hard on one's hoofs.
He could keep this pace up for hours, he knew;
he'd done it often before. There was the time
the Sheriff and posse had tracked him and Jack
Dunton the night they held up the Limited, but
the spurs were urging him faster now and his legs
were beginning to ache. He heard Livingston's
'*Half-past eleven. I said we'd do it in five
hours; do you think we can, old boy?"
Brutus swung on doggedly, the dust making
dim shadow in the night. He wished it would
rain or something. Lord! How thirsty he was!
A pony couldn't gallop like that forever without
a drink of water. At least in Arizona there was a
water hole now and then. His tongue rolled dry
in his mouth, and he'd never felt like that inside
before. His sides were bursting, and the sweat
blinded his eyes. He wouldn't stand it much
longer, he thought. No pony could, not if the
Boers wiped out the whole blessed troop. It
seemed hours before he again heard the other's
"One o'clock, Brutus; it's tough, I know, but
they've got me through the shoulder and it feels
Brutus plunged on. Shot through the shoulder
and not a word of complaint. Well, if Livingston
could ride five hours with a hole in his shoulder
he needn't whimper, but he couldn't help it if he
felt a little dizzy and lost the direction a bit. He
wondered what the gray would say now. Oh, well
it didn't much matter. Then he went down in a
lump, and when he staggered to his feet the man
was standing near him, grasping his wounded
shoulder, his face showing white in the darkness
and his teeth clinched on his lip. A moment
later Brutus felt him crawl painfully into the
saddle, the touch of his spurred heel and the
nerve racking ride went on.
At fifteen minutes of two the furthermost out-
post of the British lines heard the mufiled hoof
beats of a wind blown horse, and staring into the
blackness saw a piebald pony, laboring cruelly as it
galloped, a man lying low on the pony's neck, one
arm hanging limp. The picket challenged and
Brutus, Cow Pony
the exhausted animal came to a stand, then sank
to the ground with a gasping moan. A crowd of
officers^and soldiers^stood over them, anxiously
waiting for Livingston to speak. Brutus tried to
raise his head. Was it all for nothing.^ Wouldn't
he speak? Perhaps he was dead! It seemed
interminably long before he saw Livingston move
and heard a faint whisper come from his parched
*'Quick! Troop A, due North, Boers in force."
Brutus closed his eyes. Ah! That felt good.
They were sponging out his blistered mouth with
cold water, and a big sergeant with a small cross
on his breast was rubbing his aching legs with a
strong smelling liniment and muttering between
breaths, "Plucky little devil," and "Httle thorough-
bred." Then he heard the clear notes of the bugle
sounding "boots and saddles" all over the camp,
and a few minutes later the trample of many horses
the dull rumble of the gun carriages and the rattle
of accoutrements as two regiments of horse and a
light battery galloped out into the night, choking
the camp with dust. It took them eight hours to
reach Troop A, and they got there only just in
time to prevent the Boers from rushing the half
of the troop left alive.
Two nights after the reinforcements had gone.
Troop A straggled wearily into camp, forty men
short, with thirty wounded in the ambulances,
and reported the engagement still going on.
Brutus was hobbled in his old place in the horse
lines of the troop. There were a good many va-
cant spaces now, but the tired horses snickered,
made quite a fuss over him, and came as near as
their ropes would allow.
"Bully for you," shouted the sergeant-major's
chestnut. "We're proud of you, we are." Bru-
tus was a plain pony and praise embarrassed him.
He bobbed his head modestly and reached for a
mouthful of hay.
"And, old chap," said the gray,"I'll take all that
back, you know; you're a well plucked one and
I couldn't have done better myself." The chest-
nut snickered outright.
"You!" he scoffed, throwing up his tail dis-
gustedly. "Why your bloomin' bones 'ud be
rottin' in the sun by now!"
Brutus turned away, he didn't care to hear their
petty squabbling; he had done his duty and was
glad. He heard voices in the distance, and look-
ing down the lines saw several officers and Living-
ston strolling leisurely toward him.
"Here he is," he heard the latter say.
"Not much to look at, but his heart is as big as
his body." All the troop horses stood rigidly at
Brutus, Cow Pony
"Attention" as the regiment's colonel stepped
"Who'd beheve it possible," he said, his hand
stroking Brutus' nose.
"The plucky little chap. Brutus, you say he
was called. Odd name for a horse. *The
noblest of them all,' " the colonel mused. "By
Jove, I wonder. Why, Livingston, you must
ride almost twelve stone!" he exclaimed as they
turned to go.
"Twelve stone three," Brutus heard the other
reply. The horses could hear the colonel talking
as the men disappeared in the darkness.
"Now that's the trouble," he was saying, "with
these big animals like that gray." The gray
stood over sixteen hands.
"Thej^'re useless in this country. Government
should" — The rest was lost in the night. The
gray looked straight ahead, as if he had not heard,
but the chestnut snickered delightedly.
"That's one on you, old boy," he chuckled, and
gave the other a spiteful nip. Brutus smiled to
"Good night," he said pleasantly, "I guess I'll
turn in," and with a grunt of contentment and
good will toward all he stretched his still weary
legs and lay down to sleep.
"THOSE WHO RIDE STRAIGHT"
NORMAN and his wife and I have kept
this story well. It is far too sacred to
us to risk having it taken lightly, or
in ridicule. It is just as much a part
of our lives as anything else, perhaps more.
Not one of us three has ever doubted for an
instant. If I exist, if Norman and his wife exist,
then the following facts are true beyond contro-
Trotter came from England to this country
some ten years ago, settled down not far from
here, and within a month everybody felt as if
they had known him always. It doesn't take
long to get acquainted in any hunting community,
but besides that Trotter was one of those men
you run across occasionally that both men and
There was something about Trotter that radi-
ated both strength and confidence. When any
one felt worried or troubled they invariably sought
out Trotter, and merely sitting near him and
hearing him talk in his quiet, convincing way,
"Those Who Ride Straight"
seemed to strengthen one without doing him any
But in the beginning the men hked him for his
perfect seat on a horse and the way he took his
Uquor, and the women worshipped his British,
blond, good looks and his smile, which didn't
flirt, but could.
He had served over half the civilized world
before he caught his fever on the "West Coast"
and had to leave the army. That was how he
happened to come among us, the fever, and the
fact that some American cousins hunted with our
It was a curious thing, this fever. At the
most unexpected times, just when he seemed at
his best, it would strike him and roll him out like
a baby, though he stood six feet two in his stock-
ing feet, and weighed in at one hundred and
"Just thirteen stone, y'know, and it takes a
bit of flesh to carry me. "
I can hear him say it now, in his lazy drawl,
clicking the stem of his pipe against his even white
Poor Trotter! Still I don't know why I should
say poor Trotter. He got more out of life than
most of us; that is, he —
But I'd better get on with the story.
After Trotter had been with us about a week —
he had bought the Uttle green and white farm-
house about a mile from the kennels — Norman,
the master, met him and invited him to ride with
The first day he came out we jumped a big dog
fox in an open field, not a stone's throw" from the
kennels, hunted him across the Archer Farms and
down through Blue Mountain Valley. You know
the run, of course, straightaway, jump and jump
again — some one down sure at McAdam's gate,
and so on. Stiff country!
Well, after that Trotter's position was assured.
He rode the master's Spread Eagle, an old ex-
steeplechaser, not an easy horse to sit by any
means. Naturally every one watched him —
newcomer, British, and all that. If there were
any flaws, we were out to pick them. But there
Trotter w^as lean as a ham-bone in spite of his
weight, and if ever a man looked a picture in the
saddle, he did. He sat straighter than most of
us, who had dropped into rather sloppy habits —
something between a Life Guard's and a fox-
hunting seat that looked workmanlike and grace-
Besides, what was more important, his hands
were as light as a child's. The master himself
''Those Who Ride Straight''
said he had never seen better hands. Spread
Eagle, with a mouth Hke a monkey-wrench, that
always bolted when hounds went away, hadn't
pulled an ounce.
A lot of things happened that first day Trotter
came out, things we didn't realize then were hap-
The principal one was Alice. All the others
followed as a sequence. I introduced Trotter to
Alice myself, Alice being my first cousin. The
hounds were just ahead of us down the road.
I remember every detail.
She was riding on my right hand and he was a
trifle beyond her.
"Alice," I said, in my best manner, "allow me
to present Mr. Trotter."
You knew Alice. What a brick she was ! The
best fellow I ever knew. She could sit a horse,
too, and nerve in the field — she used to make me
ill at times.
"Howdy do," says Alice, putting out her hand
in that quick, deliberate way she had, head up,
eye to eye.
Trotter's hand met hers, and their eyes, too,
I was watching caicfully. I always liked to
get Alice's estimate of a man. If she smiled, it
was more than enough for me. AUce could tell if
a man was sound as surely as she could a horse.
She smiled, and then I noticed the smile die
away trembling on her lips, and the red pour into
her cheeks. Alice almost never blushed. She
took her hand from Trotter's slowly, and when I
glanced quickly at him to see if he, too, had no-
ticed, there was the oddest expression upon his
His eyes were quite wide and filled with wonder,
like a child's. I know it was striking enough —
the whole episode — to cause me to sing out in my
unfortunate, blundering way:
"Hallo, you two met before .f^"
But Alice only urged her horse forward, and
Trotter looked away and remained staring across
the fields as if he were gazing into centuries of
space. A few moments later the hounds were
off and I had something else to think of besides
Alice and Trotter, being mounted on a green
three-year-old with a hot temper and just enough
thoroughbred in him to make him want to rush
A few hours later when we "killed," and then
rode back, I had nearly forgotten all about it.
Trotter was very pleasant and amusing, and
everybody tried to make him feel at home.
I don't know whether it was noticed or not —
''Those Who Ride Straight''
yes, I remember now, Mrs. Norman did, the
master's wife, we spoke of it afterward — but
Trotter never took his eyes off Alice the entire
time. And AHce knew it, too, for she didn't
open her Hps, and the color kept coming and
going in her cheeks.
When we were near home, Mrs. Norman, a great
pal of Alice's, whispered in my ear.
*' Alice's hit."
*'What d'ye mean?" I frowned, knowing well
enough. Mrs. Norman snorted at my stupidity.
"She's hit, I tell you. Now, her — our troubles
begin. She's held off pretty well so far. It had
to come, though, some day. "
I was really annoyed. I was fond of Alice my-
"Nonsense, you women are always looking for
Mrs. Norman is a discerning woman. She
stopped fussing about being pretty, long ago,
though she still is, and wears her hair sleeked back
and rides hard. It's what her husband admires
most about her, and she knows it.
She only nodded knowingly in reply. She was
Personally, I always thought Alice was one
of the handsomest women I ever saw, but now
she fairly seemed to blossom.
Her hair was as black as Trotter's was light.
Her coloring was deep, too, and her eyes big and
expressive. In a habit there was no one in the
field could approach her.
Some days later I saw her again. Met her on
the soft road at the edge of the woods exercising
her gray mare. We rode along together for a
while without saying much. Alice and I knew
each other too well to have to talk.
Finally she turned to me with a queer expres-
sion as if she wanted to say something, but was a
trifle embarrassed or timid about beginning. It
wasn't at all like Alice.
"Let's have it," I smiled, trying to give her a
lead and help her over.
"Joe," she began, "did you ever, ever meet
people you'd known — before. "
That puzzled me.
"What are you driving at, Alice — ever meet
people I'd known before? Why certainly, every
She shook her head.
"You don't understand. I mean known,
known a very long time ago, in some other life
or — something . "
"Why, Alice," I exclaimed, "you surely don't
believe in that sort of — "
"Those Who Ride Straight
But that was all. She had touched the mare
with her spur and later she wouldn't speak.
After that she and Trotter were inseparable
and naturally I got to know him pretty well.
One day he and I were sitting in front of the fire
at tlie club. It was snowing again and hunting
closed for two weeks past. Suddenly he turned
to me. Right out of the blue he asked it.
"Ever been in Delhi.f*"
*'Delhi, Where's that, India? Why?"
"Oh, I wondered. Where I first met Alice,
I swung round.
"Absurd," was on the tip of my tongue, and
then I thought better. He was staring into the
"Oh, yes, it has all come back now. I had just
returned with my company. We'd been chasing
one of the hill tribes that had turned rogue. She
hasn't changed, except to grow more beautiful."
For a moment there was silence.
"Alice remembers of course." I spoke as
evenly as I could.
"Of course. She mentioned it first. Odd,
isn't it? Says she recalls it all, Delhi, the old
garrison, and everything."
I didn't think it worth while to protest, to say
I knew Alice had never been there.
"We're going to be married, y'know, " he went
on. "Alice wouldn't mind my telling you."
He held out his hand to be shaken, smiling
"Bully, isn't it? What a lucky chap I am.
Alice — they don't come often like her. She's
much too good for me, of course. Says she's not
though. We'll hit it off first-rate, don't you
think? You see, we've known and loved each
other for ever so long."
I shook his hand vigorously, but my voice was
husky. It was all very well to say, "poor Trotter,
the fever again," but what about Alice?
No fever about Alice, just level-headed, square
as a brick, horse sense. I was glad though they
did not tell any one else about that silly business.
A month later they were married. Every one
was delighted, even the women who had tried to
get Trotter. We were all so fond of Alice.
He took her to the little green and white farm-
house, no bigger than a box stall, and the whole
country went to call, and most of us spent half
our time there, the women upstairs gossiping with
''Those Who Ride Straight"
Alice, and the men below smoking and listening
to Trotter talk, for he was an intelligent chap and
had been nearly everywhere worth going.
It was too good. We were all too light hearted,
too happy. It couldn't last. It ended, but not in
the usual way. No, not the least bit in the usual
Alice died. Died the way she always hoped
she would — in the field. She had no fear of death,
no fear of anything I ever knew of. She used to
say quite frankly she enjoyed life, but when the
end came she wanted to go out with a good horse
under her and the hoimds in full cry.
In any one else it might have sounded cheap,
but not in Alice. We all knew she meant it, and
many is the time I have thought she'd have her
wish. She rode overwell, overhard for a woman.
It wasn't far from where Trotter met Alice —
the Archer Farms. The gray mare simply pecked
badly at a big plank fence and went down. It
didn't look like a nasty fall.
The mare was up in a flash and galloping off,
but Alice lay still. That frightened me. Trotter
and I reached her at almost the same time. She
was unconscious, but in a moment she opened her
Trotter had her head on his arm and was gazing
into her face. His lips moved, too, as if he were
praying. I let the horses go and knelt by her
"Jim," I heard her whisper to Trotter, "kiss
me. The mare has rolled me out. It's my back.
Don't worry, Jim; we understand, don't we.'^ It
won't seem so long, dear. "
And with that she was gone.
After that Trotter was never the same. He'd
answer you in an absent-minded way, but his
eyes looked vague and far-away. It always
seemed as if he saw more than the rest of us.
Perhaps he did.
That spring I used to sit with him often on the
piazza of the little green and white farmhouse
trying to cheer him up. But often I have thought
that he hardly realized I was there, though he was
always well mannered and considerate.
The following fall, hunting opened again. I
tried to make Trotter come out, but he wouldn't.
I think he'd seen enough of hunting. He couldn't
seem to bear even the sound of the hounds. But
he still kept his two half-bred hunters and the big
Once or twice I rode with him, but found him
preoccupied and distrait, so concluded he had
lost all interest in the sport, which was bad. Later,
I'heard from several different people that he had
been encountered riding hard at night ; once when
''Those Who Ride Straight''
the moon was up, so Norman told me. It must
have been near midnight. He had seen him
going 'cross country, over the Archer Farms, at
a gallop. Norman said he thought some one
ought to stop him as that country was bad enough
in broad daj^light.
Norman is a hard-headed, matter of fact kind
of man, the best M. F. H. in the State, not the
sort to see things if they weren't there, or have
delusions. But it was evident he was holding
"What is it," I demanded; "out with it."
Norman blinked disconcertedly.
"Oh, nothing, except, of course, it couldn't be,
but there was someone riding with him. "
"Of course, no woman would be such a fool.
That's what I said to myself. It must have been
"\\Tiy, yes. That is, it looked like one. It
was on the other side of Trotter, away from me,
horses going nose and nose. You know, just as
they used — "
He stopped suddenly.
A little shiver ran over me.
"Did it." I choked. "Confound it, man,
answer me; did she look like Alice?" I blurted
out at last.
* ' Look like Alice ? Look like Alice ? ' ' Norman
hissed at me between clenched teeth. "It was
Alice, I tell you. Ruth and I both saw. "
He left me there staring vacantly at the door
he'd slammed behind him.
I didn't see Norman again for several days after
that. We rather avoided each other, I fancy.
Then, one morning Mrs. Norman called me up
and asked me there to dine that night. Norman
laughed a little sheepishly when we met.
"Something must have got on my nerves the
other day. What rot! Believed it, too, you
know, hanged if I didn't. Have a cocktail?"
Mrs. Norman accepted for me.
"Of course, we both will. What were you
saying about nerves?"
But Norman was already making a great noise
with ice and a shaker. Either he didn't hear or
pretended not to.
After dinner we sat and sipped our coffee com-
fortably, while Norman discoursed on the trials
and tribulations of an M. F. H. Once Mrs. Nor-
"We all ought to drop in on Jimmie this
evening. We haven't been for ages. Shall we?"
The green and white farmhouse where Trotter
''Tlwse Who Ride Straight''
lived was only a short half-mile away. Norman
looked at me. I nodded, and he went out to
order his old broken down thoroughbred put to
In front of Trotter's house his big black mare
stood patiently, saddled and bridled, rubbing the
crest of her head against a tree. The door was
When Trotter heard us drive up, he came to
the door and stood there a moment silhouetted
against the bright light within. He was in riding
clothes and was either about to go out when we
arrived, or had just come in. He seemed glad to
see us, in fact we had never seen him gayer.
Trotter could make himself tremendously
amusing when he chose. I think he was particu-
larly fond of us three, we had known Alice so well.
He rattled on about nothing, his eyes bright,
his cheeks a high color. Once without apparent
reason he suddenly stopped, got up — went out
into the hall and stood listening. When he
returned he offered no explanation, and I hesi-
tated asking any.
Alice had a beautiful voice, not trained, you
know, but a nice, low-speaking voice, very tuneful
and pure when she sang.
Often I have heard her in the early morning as
she cantered along under my mndow, while I was
hurrying into my boots, with her — "Tally-0,
Oh John Peel's Tally-0! would awaken the dead
or a fox from his lair in the morning! Get up,
Cousin Ned. Time and hounds wait for no man. "
And then a delicious care-free laugh rippling
off in the distance and the swift patter-pat of the
gray mare's hoofs as she felt the spur.
Trotter had set out the whisky and soda with
a kind of nervous, worried hospitality, his eyes
wandering inevitably back to the little silver clock
on the mantelpiece. I think Mrs. Norman must
have been noticing him more particularly than
her husband or myself from what she told me
At any rate, I recall Trotter standing in the
middle of the room quite motionless, with the
intense expression of countenance one has in
trying to catch a faint and distant sound. Mrs.
Norman was sitting near him with her eyes up-
turned to his, watching, a little frightened I
Norman did not seem to be taking it in, but
the silence and the preoccupation of all must have
disturbed him, for suddenly he reached out and
noisily poured himself a drink, then lay back in his
"Hush!" says Trotter.
At that Norman sat upright. When he saw
" Those Who Ride Straight"
Trotter's queer staring eyes and our intent ex-
pression, the glass shook a little in his hand and
the ice jingled.
"What is it, Jimmie?" Mrs. Norman's low
voice questioned softly.
"Don't you hear? Hark!" He put out his
hand as if afraid one of us would answer.
No one spoke. A gust of wind, without warn-
ing, half closed the hall door, then threw it back
banging against the wall.
Trotter did not notice. Norman started and
half rose from his chair. As he did so, it came
faintly almost imperceptibly.
One long silvery note, clear as a bell. It
sounded a very long way off.
My blood froze and fear gripped me with icy
fingers. Mrs. Norman swayed, and a stifled cry
escaped her. Her husband sprang from his chair
and crossed to her.
All was still again. Trotter remained standing
there, a weird sight, straining his ears for the
«T-a-l-l-y— O! John Peel's Tally-0! would
awaken the dead or a fox from his lair in the
How well we knew that voice, soft, yet ringing
clear and strong ! I sprang for the door. Trotter
grasped me roughly and stopped me. Then he
threw back his handsome head, hand to his
"T-a-1-l-y— O! A-way!" he sang.
His big voice made the little room reverberate
and the silent night without echoed and re-echoed.
Then distinctly came the swift patter-pat
patter-pat of a galloping horse. Rapidly nearer
and nearer it drew. It passed the house. I was
shaking like a leaf.
Norman was holding his wife in his arms and
Trotter gave us one wild glance. In a flash he
was out of the door. I was after him just as he
reached the road, in time to see him throw him-
self lightly across the black mare's back. He was
Norman and his wife had run out and were
standing by me peering into the night. With one
accord we climbed into the break-cart and raced
"Them," I say, for none of us doubted longer.
Once we caught, on the down wind, Trotter's
long-drawn deep- throated "T-a-1-l-y — O!"
A little later as the moon came from behind a
cloud spreading a pale, queerish light over every-
''Those Who Ride Straight''
thing, we saw him in a field beyond riding hard,
sitting deep in the saddle and spurring.
Mrs. Norman stood up in the cart and shrieked.
"Jimmie, come back!" But her husband
pulled her down to the seat again.
The road was good where we drove and we
kept apace. We were galloping past the Archer
Trotter rode in plain sight. His head was
turned away, and he waved his hand and talked
to some one near him. Suddenly the light began
to fail. A large black cloud was passing over the
moon. It was almost dark.
Call it what you will, a trick of the shadows,
an optical delusion, but whatever it was, there
was Alice and the gray mare not a dozen yards
beyond, as real as Trotter himself.
Her fair face was turned toward him, and us,
very white, very wonderful in the moonlight.
We all saw her clearly. It was just before the
fence where she fell. I tried to call, but my
throat felt dry and withered and gave forth no
The next instant it was inky black and the
moon entirely gone.
I felt Mrs. Norman's head on my shoulder,
fainting. Norman was hauling at the lines and
shouting, endeavoring to check our speed, for the
cart rolled threateningly. At last he succeeded.
Simultaneously — we heard it like the crack of
a rifle at midnight — the splintering of the stiff
plank fence as Trotter's black mare struck it with
her knees, and then the ensuing thud of her
quarters on the ground as she spun over in the air.
I leaped out of the cart, climbed the fence
which paralleled the road, and falling and stumb-
ling groped my way across the rough plow. Be-
hind me I could hear the others following, calling
to me and keeping close to the edge of the field.
The moon shot out, shining brightly. Almost
at my feet lay Trotter. The spot where Alice
The mare was gone. He was stretched on his
back, arms and legs outspread. He recognized
me and smiled. I knelt down.
"Not badly hurt, old chap?" I whispered.
His lips moved. I bent nearer.
"No, no, Jim, you're not badly hurt," I choked.
"It's not the first time you've been nearly rolled
out, you know. "
He managed to move his head a little and
smiled — a beautiful smile.
"You don't understand." I could barely hear
him. "I'm through with this — Alice and I — "
''Those Who Ride Straight'*
That was the last. His was the happiest face
I ever saw.
We got him to the cart and I drove him home,
while the others walked beside.
Few natives will pass the Archer Farms at
night. As for us three, we seem to have had a
glimpse into something quite beyond us. Still
I do not doubt, nor do Norman and his wife.
There is no horror about it now at all. We know
that they are happy.
Every now and then Norman and his wife and
I ride or drive past the Archer Farms, but never
without an odd, indescribable sensation.
Once it was late at night, exactly such a night
as that other, the moon dipping in and out, casting
uncouth, shadowy figures across the light, mottled
road. Mrs. Norman trembled a little, I remember,
and Norman whistled unconcernedly — that is
pretended to. As we reached the plow and the
stout plank fence, the moon disappeared and left
it dark. Our horse shied abruptly and stopped
stock-still. There was a sharp, sudden blow of
wind, and the willows at the sides of the road
swayed and rustled, bending grimly toward us.
Then it came.
Gently and as clear as the murmur of a moun-
'*T-a-l-l-y — O!" this time farther off, and in
another tone, deep and long-drawn.
I could hear Norman grinding his teeth in
some kind of mad excitement. Suddenly he
sprang up in the cart and swung the whip over
"Tally-0!" he shouted. The whip fell hissing
across our horse's quarters and we raced down
the road swaying wildly.
The moon did not reappear and the fields at
the side of the road were in pitchy darkness. But
we could hear. There was the faint interming-
ling patter-pat, patter-pat of two galloping
"Gone away!" I cried huskily, and Mrs. Nor-
man tried to call.
At Norman's gate we pulled up and went in.
Lightly down the wind came a bright laugh we
knew so well and a long-drawn view halloa.
"They're huntin', huntin' still," cried Norman,
"and happy. You see there's nothing to be
afraid of, for those who ride straight like Alice and
Mrs. Norman was weeping softly, her head upon
her husband's shoulder. He put his arm about
her roughly and held her close.
''Those Who Ride Straight
"Why, Ruth, you ought to be laughmg instead.
Don't you understand?"
But I doubt if any of us three understood ex-
actly, for as Norman often said when we talked
it over, as we have again and again :
"It's too big to understand, but we do realize
this — we've seen more than our share, and we
know that for the right ones the huntin' still goes
m^t^^KOf Family Library of Veterinary Medicine
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