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Full text of "Hoof beats from Virginia & other lands"

HOOF BEATS 



FROM 



VIRGINIA 



OTHER LANDS 




TUFTS UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES 

3 9090 014 556 076 



/V)iaax, L/i^sEZjcl/^ /o* 



LciX^ljLAjLja. 




7 



^^iJBtwIer FaiiiMy Ubrary of Vete^ 

Cunmngfi School of Vetenoafy MecHcine at 

Tufts University 

200 Westboro Road 

Worth Gfafton, MA 01636 



HOOF BEATS 

FROM 

VIRGINIA 

& 
OTHER LANDS 



PHILIP HIGHBORN 




ARTIetVeRITAn 



BOSTON 

RICHARD G. BADGER 

THE GORPIAM PRESS 

Second ediuon published for 

THE VIRGINIA UNITED HUNTS 
ASSOCIATION 






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 



CONTENTS 

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 



HOOF BEATS 



THE MARQUIS 

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 
11 



Hoof Beats 

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 
his mother. 

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. 
12 



The Marquis 

"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 

13 



Hoof Beats 

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 
14 



^^ ^'- -.v* 




THE MABQUIS WOULD SOMETIMES COMPLETELY IGNOBE HIM 



The Marquis 

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 
189-. - 

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 
15 



Hoof Beats 

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 
16 



The Marquis 

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. 
17 



Hoof Beats 

"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 
18 



The Marquis 

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 
19 



Hoof Beats 

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 
20 



The Marquis 



^F 



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 — 
21 



Hoof Beats 

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 



The Marquis 

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 
to me." 

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^ 

23 



Hoof Beats 

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 
24 



The Marquis 

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. 
25 



Hoof Beats 

"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 
was there. 

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 
only laughed. 

"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 



The Marquis 

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. 



27 



CLEOPATRA 

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 
burning. 

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 



Cleopatra 

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- 
29 



Hoof Beats 

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- 
SO 



Cleopatra 

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 
31 



Hoof Beats 

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. 

32 



Cleopatra 

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 

33 



Eoof Beats 

laughed and nodded his head at me over his 
shoulder. 

"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 
minutes. 

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 
34 



Cleopatra 

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 
nice distinctions." 

3d 



Hooj Beats 

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, 
smoky hand. 

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 

36 



Cleopatra 

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- 
S7 



HooJ Beats 

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 
storm. 

"All ready?" Rawdon asked, smiling at me 
unconcernedly. 

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 



Cleopatra 

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 
anywhere. 

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 



Hoof Beats 

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 
another time. 

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- 
40 



Cleopatra 

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 
few fields. 

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 
41 



HooJ Beats 

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 
you?" 

I swallowed hard. I never enjoyed a compli- 
ment less. 

"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 
twinkled. 

"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 
42 



Cleopatra 

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 
altogether. 

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 
43 



Hoof Beats 

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 
and hedge. 

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 
44 



Cleopatra 

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 

45 



Hoof Beats 

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? 
It's padlocked." 

"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 master. 

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." 
46 



Cleopatra 

''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- 
edly. 

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 
number are." 

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 
of fire." 

And I think he struck it just right. Cleopatra 
is a little ball of fire. 



47 



HAMMERSLEY'S PLUCK 

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 
this fall. 

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- 
48 



Hammersley's Pluck 

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 
49 



Hoof Beats 

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 
thin. 

**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 



50 



Hammersley's Pluck 

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. 
51 



Hoof Beats 

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 
52 



Hammer sieves Pluck 



man in the kingdom could ha' rode Black Douglas 
four mile 'cross country, the brute 'e was, the 
beauty ! 

*'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 
53 



Hoof Beats 

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 
54 



Hammersley's Pluck 

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 
a length. 

"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 
paddock. 

"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 
55 



Hoof Beats 

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." 



56 



THE BROOK 

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. 
"Sah?" 

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 

57 



Boof Beats 

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- 

58 



ThelBrook 

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 
59 



EooJ Beats 

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 
60 



The Brook 

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 
61 



Hoof Beats 

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 



The Brook 

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 
across." 

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 
there." 

"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. 

63 



Hoof Beats 

"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. 

"Oh!" 

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* !" 

"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, 
64 



The Brook 

''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 
over there!" 

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." 
65 



Hoof Beats 

"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 
appealed. 

"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 
rode horses." 

Striving frowned. "I don't know," he went on 
half to himself, "I'm not so sure it makes much 
difference." 

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 
lines." 

66 



The Brook 

The train was running more slowly. Both were 
conscious of it. Striving looked at the girl and 
smiled a little disappointedly. She seemed to 
understand. 

"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 
laughed again. 

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 
with us." 

Striving took the gloved hand and shook it 
vigorously. It was not so very large, but it was 
quite firm and strong and responded. 

"Good luck." 

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 
understand." 

Again came the delicious rippling laugh. 

"It wasn't exactly according to the rules, was 
67 



Hoof Beats 

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 

68 



The Brook 

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 
at last." 

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. 



Hooj Beats 

"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 
70 



The Brook 

keen sense of his responsibility brought him up 
alertly. 

"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 
York. 

'*What time does Grant vs. Ellis go on?" he 
called. 

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 
71 



Hoof Beats 

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 
72 



The Brook 

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 

73 



Hoof Beats 

laughed, a big boyish laugh and sent the brown 
mare along. 

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 
like that." 

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," 
74 



The Brook 

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 
75 



Hoof Beats 

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 
open fields. 

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 
sorry." 

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. 
76 



The Brook 

"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 
anxiously. 

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 
think?" 

"Oh yes, Jerry and I are old friends." 

"I'm so glad. He'll be galloping this way blow- 
77 



Hoof Beats 

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?" 

"Of course." 

The girl looked at Striving. Striving was 
staring ahead. 

"It's always like that, isn't it?" 

"How do you mean?" 

"Oh, nothing." 

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 
road. 

"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 
78 



The Brook 

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 
away. " 

The color was back in the girl's cheeks. She 
laughed. 

*' 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 
care. " 

79 



Hoof Beats 

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 
the girl. 

"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 
80 



The Brook 
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 
hanged." 

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 
little husky. 

"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. 
81 



Hoof Beats 

"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 
day." 

Striving brightened. 

"Of course." 

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. 
82 



The Brook 

"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 
horse abruptly. 

He was left in a cloud of dust on the side of the 
road. 

"Well, I'm hanged/' he declared audibly. A 
ripple of laughter was his reply. 



83 



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. 

84 



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, 
or all. 

"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 
85 



Hoof Beats 

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 
only chuckled. 

" * 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- 
glarss. 

" 'Colonel,' 'e says, 'be quiet, sir, or you'll pop 
87 



HooJ Beats 

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 
88 



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 
89 



Hoof Beats 

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 
forehead. 

" *I'll take your word for it,' 'e says, 'only let 
me know before, and when you're goin' to test 
'im again.' 

"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 — 
90 



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 
91 



Hoof Beats 

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 
their pay. 

*'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- 

m 



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 
93 



Hoof Beats 

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 
04 



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 



Hoof Beats 

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, 
'that'll do.' 

"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' 

96 



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." 



97 



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 
exasperation. 

* '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 

99 



HooJ Beats 

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- 

ly- 

"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 
100 



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 
101 



Eoof Beats 

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 
102 



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 
103 



Hoof Beats 

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 
104 



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 
canter. 

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 
105 



Hoof Beats 

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 
disconcerting eye. 

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 
106 



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 
sympathetic shoulder. 

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 
107 



Hooj Beats 

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 
she pleased. 

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 
club. 

Mr. Leffington had a great deal on his mind this 
108 



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 
109 



Hoo} Beats 

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 
110 



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 
deception. 

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- 
Ill 



Hooj Beats 

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 
were running. 

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. 
112 



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, 
113 



Hoof Beats 

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. 



114 



WHEN THE MARQUIS CAME INTO 
HIS OWN 

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," 
115 



Hoof Beats 

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. 
116 



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 
117 



HooJ Beats 

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 
118 



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 
119 



Hoof Beats 

for his legs, the hair grown long at the fet-locks, 
they resembled a Cochin China's more than any- 
thing else. 

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 



120 



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 
121 



Hoof Beats 

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 
122 



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 
123 



Hoof Beats 

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 
strong. 

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 
124 



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. 
125 



Hoof Beats 

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 
the other. 

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 
126 



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- 
127 



Hoof Beats 

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 
the hill. 

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 
1^8 



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 
again. 

"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, 



129 



Hoof Beats 

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 
130 



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 
hunted. 

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. 



131 



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 

132 



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: — 
133 



Hoof Beats 

"Brutus, No. 214 ! Good Gawd ! and for Troop 
A, too!" 

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 
feelings hurt. 

A few minutes later Brutus saw Livingston 
coming toward him. 

134 



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 
him. 

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 
135 



Hoof Beats 

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 
136 



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- 
137 



Hoof Beats 

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 
tired. 

"Say, pardner," he said, "can't you cut that 
out? I want to go to sleep." The gray eyed him 
haughtily. 

"You were addressing me?" he said interrogat- 
ingly. 

"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 
filing. 

"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, 
138 



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 
near. 

When the first early light came it found the 
139 



Hoof Beats 

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 
step nearer. 

"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 

140 



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 
said. 

"The New York Call wouldn't allow it," the 
other smiled, "and I'm the only one who can do 
it." 

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 
picket. 

"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 

141 



Hoof Beats 

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 
142 



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 
voice. 

'*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 
143 



Hoof Beats 

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 
voice. 

"One o'clock, Brutus; it's tough, I know, but 
they've got me through the shoulder and it feels 
pretty bad." 

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 
144 



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 
lips. 

*'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 
145 



Hoof Beats 

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 
146 



Brutus, Cow Pony 

"Attention" as the regiment's colonel stepped 
forward. 

"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 
himself. 

"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. 



147 



"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- 
versy : 

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 
women like. 

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, 
148 



"Those Who Ride Straight" 

seemed to strengthen one without doing him any 
harm. 

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 
pack. 

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 
eighty-two. 

"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 
teeth. 

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. 
149 



Hoof Beats 

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 pack. 

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 
weren't. 

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- 
ful. 

Besides, what was more important, his hands 
were as light as a child's. The master himself 
150 



''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- 
pening. 

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, 
met. 

I was watching caicfully. I always liked to 
get Alice's estimate of a man. If she smiled, it 
151 



Hooj Beats 

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 
face. 

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 
his jumps. 

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 — 
152 



''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- 
self. 

"Nonsense, you women are always looking for 
romance. " 

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 
right. 

Personally, I always thought Alice was one 
of the handsomest women I ever saw, but now 
she fairly seemed to blossom. 

153 



Hoof Beats 

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 
day." 

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 — " 
154 



"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*" 

I hesitated. 

*'Delhi, Where's that, India? Why?" 

"Oh, I wondered. Where I first met Alice, 
y'know. " 

I swung round. 

"Alice!" 

"Why, yes." 

"Absurd," was on the tip of my tongue, and 
then I thought better. He was staring into the 
fire. 

"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, 
155 



Hoo} Beats 

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 
happily. 

"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? 

She remembered. 

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 
156 



''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 
way, 

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 
eyes. 

Trotter had her head on his arm and was gazing 
into her face. His lips moved, too, as if he were 
157 



Hoof Beats 

praying. I let the horses go and knelt by her 
side. 

"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 
thoroughbred mare. 

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 
158 



''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 
something back. 

"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. " 

"Nonsense!" 

Norman nodded. 

"Of course, no woman would be such a fool. 
That's what I said to myself. It must have been 
only—" 

"Woman!" 

"\\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, 
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HooJ Beats 

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- 
man interrupted. 

"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 
160 



''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 
the cart. 

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 
open. 

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 
161 



HooJ Beats 

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 
afterw^ard. 

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 
think. 

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 
chair again. 

"Hush!" says Trotter. 

At that Norman sat upright. When he saw 
16£ 



" 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. 

-T-a-l-l-y-0." 

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 
sound. 

«T-a-l-l-y— O! John Peel's Tally-0! would 
awaken the dead or a fox from his lair in the 
morning." 

How well we knew that voice, soft, yet ringing 
clear and strong ! I sprang for the door. Trotter 
163 



Hooj Beats 

grasped me roughly and stopped me. Then he 
threw back his handsome head, hand to his 
mouth — 

"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. 

"T-ally-0!" 

Norman was holding his wife in his arms and 
shaking too. 

"Tally-0!" 

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 
gone ! 

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 
after him. 

"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- 
164 



''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 
Farms. 

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 
sound. 

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 
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Boo} Beats 

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 
had fallen. 

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. 

"Good-by,"hesaid. 

"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 — " 
166 



''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. 

"T-a-1-l-y— O!" 

167 



Hoof Beats 

Gently and as clear as the murmur of a moun- 
tain stream. 

'*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 
his head. 

"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 
horses. 

"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 
Jim." 

Mrs. Norman was weeping softly, her head upon 
her husband's shoulder. He put his arm about 
her roughly and held her close. 
168 



''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 
on." 



169 



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