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Full text of "Treasury of horse stories"

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JVIa^ari 


et Cabell Self 


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UNIVERSITY 
OF FLORIDA 
LIBRARIES 




Physical Education and Health 
Reading Room 

Gift of 
Walter Lanier Barber 



A Treasury of 
HORSE STORIES 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/treasuryofhorsesself 



A Treasury of 


HORSE 


STORIES 


Selected and edited by 


MARGARET CARET J- SELF 

Illustrated by Edwin Megargee 

• 


A. S. BARNES c> COMPANY, NEW YORK 



Copyright, 194^, by A. S. Barnes and Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Printed in the United States of America. The contents of this boo\ are 
fully protected by copyright, and nothing that appears in it may be 
reprinted or reproduced in any manner either wholly or in part, for any 
use whatsoever including radio presentations, without special written 
permission of the copyright owner. This boo\ has been manufactured 
in full accordance with the regulations of the War Production Board. 

Third Printing, January 1946 



Preface 



r. 



read and own an anthology in any way 
comprehensive on almost any subject is both interesting and entertaining, but 
to compile one is an education. It is natural that people having one particular 
hobby or sport should gravitate in their reading towards that sport, but they 
read only for the enjoyment of the moment or for what they may learn, tech- 
nically, from the text. Each story is accepted for itself alone, there is no com- 
paring it with others of the same subject to see wherein it differs, if more 
worthy or less so. However, when one starts in to survey as broad a field as this 
subject of horselore, one which has been a favorite among writers from the 
earliest times, one does so with the idea of analyzing, catalogueing, and select- 
ing. It is manifestly impossible to include everything of merit that has ever 
been written about horses, yet is necessary to present examples of the best type 
of story in the various divisions of horselore. Not only must the stories have 
literary value, but it is essential that all /{inds of horses from all \inds of 
places and countries which are used for every purpose to which the horse has 
been put, be included. Also the reader who lookj for old favorites, must not 
be disappointed, A collection which gives only stories from a certaiti period or 
of a certain general type is not really an anthology but merely a boo\ of short 
stories all on the same subject. So one searches and reads and rereads, choosing 
this and discarding that, pic\ing clean the \ernel of each tale, turning it over 
and over, weighing each against its fellows. In doing so the compiler gains 
tremendously in the \nowledge of what the writers and poets of note have 
found to be inspirational; and one is sometimes surprised at what one finds. 

It is natural, for example, that writers should thin\ all \inds of racing ft 

material for dramatic stories. But why is there so little that is worthwhile 

about the Arabian horse, one of the oldest of breeds and surely one of the 

most romantic and colorful? Hunting stories are nearly all humorous, while 

Ao hunting poetry tends to be dramatic or tragic. To go bac\ to the racing, be 

y it flat, steeplechase or trotting, prose or poetry, from Ben Hur down, though 



the prize may di-Qer, the background and characters vary, the formulae are 
surprisingly similar. The hero-horse, jockey or driver, as the case may be, 
always comes up fro?n behind at the last possible moment to win. If a mare 
is rufjning, the favorite, foredoomed to defeat, is usually a stallion or at least 
a gelding, if the hero is male the adversary is feminine. Nor must the winner 
ever be touched with whip or spur whereas the poor challenger is usually 
beaten until he bleeds! The one exception to the pattern, which after all is a 
perfectly sound one from a dramatic point of view, seems to be that of John 
Biggs Jr, who, in Corkran of Clamstretch has his horse lose the race and grow 
in stature by so doing! 

The circus horse, except in juvenile literature, is apparently among the 
missing, yet what would be more colorful than a good circus story? There have 
been fine tragedies written about the circus clown, Pagliacci for one, but 
nothing adult that I have been able to find about the circus horse or his rider. 

All horse stories might be roughly classified as follows: those which have to 
do with the horse himself as a personality, i,e,, in which the reader identifies 
himself with the horse and not with one of the human characters in the story; 
and those in which the horse is the protagonist, and the red interest lies in the 
situation, the development of the plot or in one of the human characters por- 
trayed. By far the larger number of stories fall into the latter category, Anna 
Sewell in Black Beauty [which is primarily a children's story and therefore not 
suitable for inclusion in a wor\ of this sort] was among the first, exclusive of the 
poets, who loo\ed on the horse as a creature with a personality worthy of devel- 
opment. Other writers up until then might describe the outside of the animal, 
particularly if it were humorous, but the horse was seldom the reed hero. Even 
Surtees, whose name comes first to mind when one thin\s of riding and 
hunting, said really very little about the horse himself. 

It seems a little odd that this should be so when one remembers what a very 
important element the horse was in everyday living until the automobile came 
to usurp his place. Perhaps it was a case of familiarity breeding contempt, for 
certainly there have been more writers interested in ma\ing the horse the real 
hero of the tale since he became less common on the street. 

No one of note seems to have written, except very briefly, about the horse 
in war, although he was an exceedingly important lethal war-machine up until 
World War 1 and still is valuable under certain circumstances and in certain 
terrain. Poems to do with cavalry, such as the Charge of the Light Brigade have 
not enough about the horses themselves in them to ma\e it desirable to include 
them in an anthology of this sort, 

Rudyard Kipling^s Maltese Cat is almost the only polo story to be found 
though I am sure there must be others which I was unable to locate. The 
American Saddler is sadly neglected as a breed perhaps because the show ring is 
not nearly so popular with writers as either the hunt field or the race tracJ{. 
There are many western stories, and stories of wild horses, but their plots and 



characters are so much alike that one can include only a jew without fear of 
repeating, nor are many of them noteworthy from a literary standpoint. 
Furthermore writers of western stories seem to tend towards sentimentalizing 
their horse-heroes; only too often they provide them with feelings and charac- 
teristics that exist only in the author's mind. 

In the following pages will be found stories or poems about thoroughbreds, 
draft horses, light harness, standard breeds, ponies, high-school, cowponies, 
wild range horses, flat racers, steeplechasers and trotters; horses that pull 
hearses and one that pulls a Quaker to church. Some of the famous horses are 
here, Pegasus and the centaurs among them. The mise en scenes include 
various parts of the United States, England, Ireland, Mexico, Arabia, India, 
Spain, Norway, Austria, Greece and the imaginary country of Gulliver. I 
have tried to vary the mood from the hilarious to the dramatic, from the 
wonder of a small boy who finds himself in control of a great team to the 
star\ tragedy of another lad in the loss of his pony; and there is one good 
murder story for addicts of that type of literature. In my opinion there is no 
story or poem included which has not value as a piece of worthwhile writing 
in itself and should therefore merit the attention of the reader whether or not 
he is interested in horses, 

I should li\e to than\ Ella H. Stevens, Matilda Z. Offen and Elizabeth 
Raymond Scott, librarians, for their kindness in helping me search out many of 
these stories. Had it not been for their help I would have been unable to run 
to earth certain stories which I had read previously and of which I remembered 
neither the exact title nor the author. I should also li\e to than\ Mavis Mcintosh 
and Celia Krichmar (as well as my publishers) for so \indly securing the 
permissions, and Laurice House for her careful reading and ch€c\ing of proof. 

I hope that those whose favorites I have omitted will not be disappointed 
and that this boo\ will be a source of pleasure to all who love good reading 
and good horses. 

Margaret Cabell Self 
New Canaan, Connecticut 
July, 1945 



vn 



Dedicated to My Father 



Contents 



I 



Fantasy ijr Folklore 



A Bedouin Conception of the Creation of A Horse 3 

from DRINKERS OF THE WIND by Carl R. Raswan 

In the Beginning 5 

from THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE by G. K. Chesterton 

The Chimaera 6 

from A WONDER BOOK by Nathaniel Hawthorne 

The Country of the Houyhnhnms 13 

from GULUVERS TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift 

The Horse Thief 15 

from THE BURGLAR OF THE ZODIAC, AND OTHER POEMS 
by William Rose Benet 

Governor Manco and the Soldier 18 

from THE ALHAMBRA by Washington Irving 

Baron Munchausen Acquires A Horse 29 

from THE TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN by Rudolf 
Erich Raspe, edited by William Rose 

Black Horses 32 

from BETTER THINK TWICE ABOUT IT by Lmgi Pirandello 

The Horse and his Rider 38 

from AESOP'S FABLES edited by Willis Parser 

Suppose * 39 

by Walter de la Mare 

The Bride of the Man-Horse 41 

from THE BOOK OF WONDER by Lord Dunsany 

The Stallion of Adonis 45 

from VENUS AND ADONIS by William Shakespeare 

ix 



II 

Hunting e!^ Polo 

The Find 49 

from REYNARD THE FOX by John Masefield 

Philippa's Fox-Hunt 51 

from SOME EXPERIENCES OF AN IRISH R.M, by Somerville 
and Ross 

Esme 63 

from THE SHORT STORIES OF SAKI by H, H. Munro 

John Peel 67 

by John Woodcoc\ Graves 

Cub Hunting en Famille 68 

from THE SILVER HORN by Gordon Grand 

Just Cause 73 

from MR. AND MRS. CUGAT by Isabel Scott Roric\ 

Mr. Carteret and His Fellow Americans Abroad 86 

from MR. CARTERET by David Gray 

The Maltese Cat 95 

from THE DAY'S WORK by Rudyard Kipling 

The Ballad of the Foxhunter 108 

from COLLECTED POEMS by William Butler Yeats 



III 

Three Famous Rides 

Introduction 

"How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix'* iii 

by Robert Browning 

Paul Revere's Ride 113 

by Henry W. Longfellow 

The Diverting History of John Gilpin 115 

by William Cowper 

% 



IV 

Horse Trading 

Introduction to Ideal Horse 

The Ideal Horse 

Anonymous i2t 

William Sha\espeare — Venus and Adonis 122 

]ohn ]orroc\s {Robert Smith Surtees) — Handley Cross jit, 

David Harum's Balky Horse 125 

from DAVID HARUM by Edward Noyes Westcott 

The Parish of St. Thomas Equinus 134 

from GALLOPS by David Gray 



V 



Races i^ Runaways 



The Chariot Race 143 

from BEN'HUR by Leu/ Wallace 

Corkran of Clamstretch 149 

by John Biggs, Jr. from SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE 

How the Old Horse Won the Bet 161 

by Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Had A Horse 164 

from CARAVAN by John Galsworthy 

A Story of a Race in Revolutionary Times 179 

from DRUMS by James Boyd 

The Runav^ay 188 

from COLLECTED POEMS by Robert Frost 

The Turn of the Wheel 189 

by Dorothea Donn Byrne 

xi 



A Trotting Race Near Leningrad 202 

from FLATTERY'S FOAL (English edition TAGUONTS 
GRANDSON) by Peter Alekjeevich Shiriaev 

First Day Finish ^ 211 

jrom THE FRIENDLY PERSUASION by Jessamyn West 



A Rough Ride 

from LORN A DOONE by R. D. Blac\more 



The Finish 

from RIGHT ROYAL by John Masefield 



219 



Tale of the Gypsy Horse 222 

from DESTINY BAY by Donn Byrne 



249 



VI 

Horses, Old e!^ Young, 
Grave ^ Gay 

The Artillery Horse's Prayer 253 

by Captain de Coudenhove from THE FIELD ARTILLERY 
JOURNAL 

The Lady of Leisure 255 

by Helen Dore Boylston from HARPER'S MAGAZINE, 
October, 7932 

Northwind 260 

from THE WAY OF THE WILD by Herbert Ravenel Sass 

The Horse of Hurricane Reef 273 

from SHORT STORIES by Charles Tenney Jackson 

First Money 285 

from THE DRIFTING COWBOY by Will James 

How Mr. Pickwick Undertook to Drive and Mr. Winkle to Ride 290 

from THE PICKWICK PAPERS by Charles Dickens 

Mr. Eglantine's Singular Animal 296 

from THE RAVENSWING by William Makepeace Thackeray 



xu 



Concerning the Imperial Spanish Riding School in Vienna 302 

from FLORIAN by Felix Saltcn 

Horses — One Dash 306 

from THE OPEN BOAT hy Stephen Crane 

Poor Old Horse 315 

jrom COME HITHER 

Horses 316 

by James Stevens from THE AMERICAN MERCURY 

Loreine : A Horse 325 

by Arthur Davison Fic{e from THE SATURDAY REVIEW OF 
LITERATURE 

Skobelef Was A Horse 326 

by Johan Bojer from THE COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE 

Blue Murder 332 

from THE MAN WHO SAW THROUGH HEAVEN AND 
OTHER STORIES by Wilbur Daniel Steele 

The Gift 346 

from THE RED PONY by John Steinbec\ 

A Horse's Epitaph 364 

by Robert Lotve, Viscount Sherbrool^e 

Index of Authors 365 

Index of Titles 367 



xiu 



A cknowledgements 



For permission to include copyright 
passages in this volume, I wish to thank the 
following publishers, authors, and agents: 

Methuen and Company, Ltd., London, ex- 
ecutrix, A. P. Watt and Son, London, and 
DoDD, Mead and Company, New York for 
four stanzas "In the Beginning" from 

'The Ballad of the White Horse" from 
Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton 
copyright 191 1, 1938) 

Creatre Age Press, New York, for 

excerpts including "A Bedouin Concep- 
tion of the Creation of a Horse" from 
Drin\ers of the Wind by Carl R. Ras- 
wan (copyright, 1942) 

Yale Unfvtersity Press, New Haven, for 
"The Horse Thief" from The Burglar 
of the Zodiac, and Other Poems by 
William Rose Benet (copyright, 1918) 

E. P. DuTTON AND CoMPANY, Ncw York, 
and George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., Lon- 
don, for 

an excerpt, "Baron Munchausen Ac- 
quires A Horse" from The Travels of 
Baron Munchausen by Rudolf Erich 
Raspe, edited by William Rose, pub- 
lished in Broadway Translations 
E. P. Dutton and Company, New York, 



and John Lane, The Bodley Head, Ltd., 

London, for 

an excerpt, "Black Horses" from Better 
Thin\ Tti/ice About It by Luigi Piran- 
dello, translated by Arthur and Henrie 
Mayne (copyright, 1934) 

Illustrated Editions Company, New York, 
and Faber and Faber, Ltd., London, for 
"The Horse and His Rider" from 
Aesop's Fables edited by Willis Parker 
(copyright, 1931) 

Walter de la Mare, Leland Hayward, 
Inc., New York, and Faber and Faber, Ltd., 
London, for 
"Suppose" 

John W. Luce and Company, Boston, for 
"The Bride of the Man-Horse" from 
The Boo\ of Wonder by Lord Dunsany 

The Macmillan Company, New York, for 
an excerpt, "The Find" from Reynard 
the Fox by John Masefield (copyright, 

I9i9> 1935) 

Longmans, Green and Company, New 
York, for 

"Philippa's Fox-Hunt" from Some Ex- 



XIV 



Acknowledgements 



periences of An Irish RM, by E. OE. 
Somerville and Martin Ross (copyright, 
1903) 

The Viking Press, New York, and John 
Lane, The Bodley Head, Ltd., London, for 
"Esme" from The Short Stories of Sa\i 
by H. H. Munro (copyright, 1930) 

Gordon Grand, for 

an excerpt, "Cub Hunting en Famille" 
from The Silver Horn (copyright, 

1932) 

Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, for 
"Just Cause" from Mr, and Mrs. Cugat 
by Isabel Rorick (copyright, 1937, 1938, 
1939, 1940) 

D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., for 
"Mr. Carteret and His Fellow Ameri- 
cans Abroad" from Mr. Carteret by 
David Gray (copyright. The Century 
Company, 1910) 

Mrs. George Bambridge, A. P. Watt and 
Son, London, Doubleday, Doran and Com- 
pany, New York, and The Macmillan 
Company of Canada, for 

"The Maltese Cat" from The Day's 

War\ by Rudyard Kipling 

The Macmillan Company, New York, for 
"The Ballad of the Foxhunter" from 
Collected Poems by William Buder 
Yeats (copyright, 1933) 

D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., New 

York, for 

an excerpt, "David Harum's Balky 
Horse" from David Harum by Edward 
Noyes Westcott (copyright, 1898), and 
for "Parish of St. Thomas Equinus" 



from Gallops by David Gray Ccopy- 
right, The Century Company, 1897) 

Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, for 
"Corkran of Clamstrctch" by John 
Biggs, Jr. (copyright, 1921) and for 
"Had A Horse" from Caravan by John 
Galsworthy (copyright, 1925), and for 
an excerpt, "The Story of a Race in 
Revolutionary Times" from Drums by 
James Boyd (copyright, 1925) 

Henry Holt and Company, Inc., New 

York, for 

"The Runaway" from Collected Poems 
by Robert Frost (copyright, 1930) 

LivERiGHT Publishing Corporation, New 
York, for 

"The Turn of the Wheel" by Dorothea 

Donn Byrne 

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, and 
Putnam & Company, Ltd., London, for 
an excerpt, "A Trotting Race Near 
Leningrad" from Flattery's Foal (Orig- 
inal title translated from the Russian, 
Taglioni's Grandson, English edition) 
by Peter Alekseevich Shiriaev (copy- 
right, 1937) 

Harcourt, Brace and Company, New 
York, for 

"First Day Finish" appearing October, 
1945, in The Frietidly Persuasion by 
Jessamyn West 

Liveright Publishing Corpor.\tion, New 

York, for 

"Tale of tlie Gypsy Horse" from Des- 
tiny Bay by Donn Byrne 

The Macmillan Company, New York, for 
"The Finish" from Right Royal by 
John Masefield (copyright, 1920) 



XV 



The Field Artillery Joirnal, for 

The Artillery Horses Prayer by Cap- 
tain dc Coudcnhove (copyright, 1919) 



Ac\nou 'leJgements 

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, for 

"Horses— One Dash" from The Open 
Boat by Stephen Crane (copyright, 
1898, 1899, 1926) 



BiANDT & Brandt, New York, for 

'The Lady of Leisure'^ by Helen Dore 
Boylston (copyright, 1933, by Harper 
AND Brothers) 

Mlvton, Balch and Company, New York, 
for 

"Northwind" from The Way of the 
Wild by Herbert Ravenel Sass (copy- 
right, 1925) 

Charles T. Jackson, for 

'The Horse of Hurricane Reef" (copy- 
right, September, 1922) 

Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, for 
an excerpt, "First Money" from The 
Drifting Coivboy by Will James (copy- 
right, 1925) 

The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, 
for 

an excerpt, "Concerning the Imperial 
Spanish Riding School in Vienna" from 
Florian by Felix Salten (copyright, 
1934) 



James Stevens for 

"Horses" which first appeared in The 
American Mercury magazine, April, 
1926 (copyright, 1926) 

The Saturday Review of Literature for 
"Loreine: A Horse" by Arthur Davison 
Ficke (copyright, 1926) 

Curtis Brown, Ltd., London and New 

York, for 

"Skobolef Was A Horse" by Johan 
Bojer, first printed in The Cosmopoli- 
tan Magazine, 1921 (copyright, 1921, 
International Magazine Company) 

Wilbur Daniel Steele for 

"Blue Murder" from The Man Who 
Satv Through Heaven and Other 
Stories^ Harper and Brothers (copy- 
right, 1927) 

The Viking Press, New York, for 

"The Gift" from The Red Pony by 
John Steinbeck (copyright, 1937, ^945) 



XVI 



I 



Fantasy & Folklore 



His screaming stallions 
maned with whistling wind 

ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH 



A 



.nd I turned and lifted up mine 
eyes, and looked, and behold, there came four chariots from be- 
ticeen two moiintains; and the mountains tvere mountains of brass. 

In the first chariot xuere red horses; and in the second chariot 
black horses. 

And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot 
grisled and bay horses. 

Then I ansivered and said unto the angel that talked to me^ 
What are these, m^y lord? 

And the angel ansivered and said unto me. These are the four 

spirits of the heavens which go forth from standing before the 

Lord of all the earth. 

— ^Zechariah 6 



CARL R. RASWAN 



A Bedouin Conception of the 
Creation of a Horse 



from DRINKERS OF THE WIND 



Many early races have, in their fol\4ore, tales telling of how the horse 
was created. I particularly liked the following, taJ^en from Carl Raswans 
delightful hoo\, Drinkers of the Wind, because of its characteristically 
"Eastern flavor and the real beauty of the description. 




ccording to the story, the wilder- 
ness of Arabia and the Arabic 
language of the angels were 
God's gift to Ishmael, son of Abraham and 
the bondwoman of Egypt. Ishmael became 
a herdsman and a hunter. He invented the 
bow and arrow to kill the wolf, the panther, 
and the antelope. 

And Ishmael built an altar of acacia wood 
to honor his Creator. With the feathers of 
the black ostrich he decorated it, and he 
named it the "Ark of the Desert"— the 
throne of the Spirit of God. 

It was in those days, Mnahi said, that 
God asked Jibrail (the Angel Gabriel) to 
lend one of his heavenly mounts to Ishmael. 

The man of the wilderness was asleep in 
the red sand desert when the Angel of the 
Lord descended to his side. A wind whirled 
toward him, scoring red sand with its feet, 
scattering the dust with the blast of its 
nostrils, screaming with ferocity. Jibrail 



stayed the thundering cloud with his out- 
stretched arm and grasped the fullness of 

it with his hands The wild element 

condensed in Jibrail's hand, and by the 
majesty of the Living God emerged as the 
steed of the desert — the Drinker of the 
Wind. 

Ishmael arose from sleep to behold, on 
the crest of a red sand dune, an antelope 
whose like he had never seen before. He 
seized his bow to send the fatal arrow. 

But Jibrail touched his arm and cried, 
"Son of Abraham, this creature is a friend 
of God. I have been sent to bring her to 
thee because thou hast not defiled thyself 
with pagan gods. The-one-like-a-she- 
antelope shall be a mother of bountv^ and 
blessings to thee, a destroyer of enemies, 
a vessel of joy. Light as a panther will she 
carry thee, and swift as a wolf. With cour- 
age will she defend thee and protect thy 
house. Harkening not to the deceit of the 



Carl R. Raswan 



flatterer, she will share thy simple fare 
and dwell with thy children in the abode of 
peace. She is of el-Quwad, of those who are 
led and yet follow freely. 

"And the antimony-painted one shall 
have a raven-skinned son. Thou shalt find 
no fault with him." 

Jibrail laid his hand upon the neck of 
the mare and brought her to Ishmael, say- 
ing, "Grasp this strand of hair upon her 
forehead; bless her in the name of diy 
Creator." And Ishmael blessed the mare, 
and the Angel vanished. 

As Ishmael removed his hand from the 
brow of the mare, she neighed and pressed 
her muzzle to his cheek, and the son of the 
desert knew that she had recognized him, 
and that her soft voice was the voice of a 
friend. She followed Ishmael to his tent, 
and he remembered the words of the An- 
gel and repeated them to his family. 

Her features were not inferior in beauty 
and intelligence to those of man, and 
Ishmael said of her, "The Living God hath 
truly given me an inheritance worthy of 
my father Abraham. Indeed, the Kuhaylah 
is a heavenly companion!" 

The wild hunter and the antelope of the 
desert became inseparable companions, and 
Ishmael was called the intrepid Paris (rider 
of the far as, or mare), the first horseman 
among the children of men. 

He would greet her with these words, 
"Oh, thou antelope from the Nufud, my 
future and weal are braided into thy love- 
lock." 

And he spoke thus of her to his neigh- 



bors, "She whose uncloven hoof is like 
onyx, whose skin is painted with antimony, 
and whose hair is like unto a sun-ripened 
date, may she scatter peace upon thee, that 
fear shall conquer us no more." 

Ishmael's friends addressed her, "Oh, 
thou morning star, bright and lustrous, 
about whom the flower of our youth 
gathers!" 

As the Angel had promised, the day 
came when a fawn of the desert was born 
to the Kuhaylah. To protect the foal on 
his journey, the Ishmaelites placed him in a 
large camel saddlebag of goathair. All day 
the little colt was carried by the strong 
camel, until Ishmael and his children struck 
camp again. 

But when they removed the foal from 
the huge saddlebag, they found that his 
spine had been injured and that he was 
crippled. 

Ishmael was about to kill him with a 
quick blow, but again the Angel of the 
Lord interfered, saying, "Must man for- 
ever doubt the power of his Creator .f^ God 
will make the despised Kuhaylat-el-A'hwaj 
— the antimony-painted cripple — the one 
most honored and noble among all." 

The "cripple" became the foundation 
sire of all true Arabian desert horses, the 
sire of his mother's and sister's own chil- 
dren. 

"There is a truth to encourage all of us,'' 
Mnahi said to me, "God can use the de- 
spised and broken bits of His creation to 
glorify the work of His hands. 



G. K. CHESTERTON (1874-1936) 



In the Beginning 



from THE BALLAD OF 
THE WHITE HORSE 



On the chalky cliffs of England is cut the gigantic figure of a white horse. 
So long ago was the wor\ done that no one can trace its origin. Gilbert 
Chesterton's famous The Ballad Of The White Horse, whose first four 
verses follow, was inspired by this horse. 



Before the gods that made the gods 

Had seen their sunrise pass, 
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale 

Was cut out of the grass. 



Before the gods that made the gods 

Had drunk at dawn their fill, 
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale 

Was hoary on the hill. 



Age beyond age on British land, 

iEons on aeons gone, 
Was peace and war in western hills, 

And the White Horse looked on. 

For the White Horse knew England 

When there was none to know; 
He saw the first oar break or bend. 
He saw heaven fall and the world end, 
O God, how long ago! 



NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-1864) 



The Chiniaera 



from A WONDER BOOK 



In all the wide realm of fact and fiction surely there is no more glamor- 
ous and soul-stirring a figure than that of the Winged Horse, What child 
has not sat astride him in his dreams and hurdled the clouds? Surely 
Hawthorne s beautiful description of how Vegasus was captured and 
tamed by Bellerophon is, to all of us, the most familiar and the most loved. 




nee, in the old, old times (for all 
the strange things which I tell 
you about happened long before 
anybody can remember), a fountain gushed 
out of a hill-side, in the marvellous land of 
Greece. And, for aught I know, after so 
many thousand years, it is still gushing 
out of the very self-same spot. At any rate, 
there was the pleasant fountain, welling 
freshly forth and sparkling adown the hill- 
side, in the golden sunset, when a hand- 
some young man named Bellerophon drew 
near its margin. In his hand he held a 
bridle studded with brilliant gems, and 
adorned with a golden bit. Seeing an old 
man, and another of middle age, and a 
little boy, near the fountain, and likewise 
a maiden, who was dipping up some of 
the water in a pitcher, he paused, and 
begged that he might refresh himself with 
a draught. 



"This is very delicious water," he said 
to the maiden as he rinsed and filled her 
pitcher, after drinking out of it. "Will you 
be kind enough to tell me whether the 
fountain has a name.f^" 

"Yes, it is called the Fountain of Pirene," 
answered the maiden; and then she added, 
"My grandmother has told me that this 
clear fountain was once a beautiful woman ; 
and when her son was killed by the arrows 
of the huntress Diana, she melted all away 
into tears. And so the water, which you 
find so cool and sweet, is the sorrow of that 
poor mother's heart!" 

"I should not have dreamed," observed 
the young stranger, "that so clear a well- 
spring, with its gush and gurgle, and its 
cheery dance out of the shade into the 
sunlight, had so much as one tear-drop in 
its bosom! And this, then, is Pirene.? I 
thank you, pretty maiden, for telling mc 



A Wondc 

its name. I have come from a far-away 
country to find this very spot. 

A middle-aged country fellow (he had 
driven his cow to drink out of the spring) 
stared hard at young Bellerophon, and at 
the handsome bridle which he carried in 
his hand. 

"The water-courses must be getting low, 
friend, in your part of the world," re- 
marked he, "if you come so far only to 
find the Fountain of Pirene. But, pray, 
have you lost a horse? \ see you carry the 
bridle in your hand; and a pretty one it is, 
with that double row of bright stones 
upon it. If the horse was as fine as the 
bridle, you are much to be pitied for 
losing him." 

"I have lost no horse," said Bellerophon, 
with a smile. "But I happen to be seeking a 
very famous one, which, as wise people 
have informed me, must be found here- 
abouts, if anywhere. Do you know whether 
the winged horse Pegasus still haunts the 
Fountain of Pirene, as he used to do in your 
forefather's day.f^" 

But then the country fellow laughed. 

Some of you, my little friends, have prob- 
ably heard that this Pegasus was a snow- 
white steed, with beautiful silvery wings, 
who spent most of his time on the summit 
of Mount Helicon. He was as wild, and as 
swift, and as buoyant, in his flight through 
the air, as any eagle that ever soared into 
the clouds. There was nothing else like 
him in the world. He had no mate; he 
had never been backed or bridled by a 
master; and for many a long year, he led 
a solitary and a happy life. 

Oh, how fine a thing it is to be a winged 
horse! Sleeping at night, as he did, on a 
lofty mountain-top, and passing the greater 
part of the day in the air, Pegasus seemed 
hardly to be a creature of the earth. When- 



ever he was seen, up very high above peo- 
ples' heads, with the sunshine on his silvery 
wings, you would have thought that he 
belonged to the sky, and that, skimming 
a little too low, he had got astray among 
our mists and vapors, and was seeking 
his way back again. It was very pretty to 
behold him plunge into the fleecy bosom 
of a bright cloud, and be lost in it for 
a moment or two, and then break forth 
from the other side. Or, in a sullen rain- 
storm, when there was a grey pavement 
of clouds over the whole sky, it would 
sometimes happen that the winged horse 
descended right through it, and the glad 
light of the upper region would gleam after 
him. In another instant, it is true, both 
Pegasus and the pleasant light would be 
gone away together. But anyone that was 
fortunate enough to see this wondrous 
spectacle felt cheerful the whole day after- 
wards, and as much longer as the storm 
lasted. 

In the summer-time, and in the beauti- 
fullest of weather, Pegasus often alighted 
on the solid earth, and, closing his silvery 
wings, would gallop over hill and dale for 
pastime, as fleetly as the wind. Cftener than 
in any other place, he had been seen near 
the Fountain of Pirene, drinking the de- 
licious water, or rolling himself upon the 
soft grass of the margin. Sometimes, too 
(but Pegasus was very dainty in his food), 
he would crop a few of the clover-blossoms 
that happened to be sweetest. 

To the Fountain of Pirene, therefore, 
people's great-grandfathers had been in the 
habit of going (as long as they were youth- 
ful, and retained their faith in winged 
horses), in hopes of getting a glimpse at 
the beautiful Pegasus. But, of late years, 
he had been very seldom seen. Indeed, 
there were many of the country folks, 



8 'Nathaniel Hawthorne 

dwelling within half an hour's walk of the 



fountain, who had never beheld Pegasus, 
and did not believe that there was any 
such creature in existence. The country 
fellow to whom Bellerophon was speaking 
chanced to be one of those incredulous 
persons. 

And that was the reason he laughed. 

"Pegasus indeed!" cried he, turning up 
his nose as high as such a flat nose could 
be turned up, "Pegasus, indeed! A winged 
horse, truly! Why, friend, are you in your 
senses? Of what use would wings be to a 
horse? Could he drag the plough so well, 
think you? To be sure, there might be a 
little saving in the expense of shoes; but 
then, how would a man like to see his 
horse flying out of the stable window? — 
yes, or whisking him above the clouds, 
when he only wanted to ride to mill? No, 
no! I don't believe in Pegasus. There never 
was such a ridiculous kind of a horse-fowl 
made!" 

"I have some reason to think otherwise," 
said Bellerophon, quietly. 

And then he turned to the old, grey 
man, who was leaning on a staff, and lis- 
tening very attentively, with his head 
stretched forward, and one hand at his ear, 
because, for the last twenty years, he had 
been getting rather deaf. 

"And what do you say, venerable sir?" 
inquired he. "In your younger days, I 
should imagine, you must frequendy have 
seen the winged steed!" 

"Ah, young stranger, my memory is very 
poor!" said the aged man. "When I was a 
lad, if I remember rightly, I used to believe 
there was such a horse, and so did every- 
body else. But, nowadays, I hardly know 
what to think, and very seldom think about 
the winged horse at all. If I ever saw the 
creature, it was a long, long while ago; 



and to tell you the truth, I doubt whether 
I ever did see him. One day, to be sure, 
when I was quite a youth, I remember 
seeing some hoof-tramps round about the 
brink of the fountain. Pegasus might have 
made those hoof -marks; and so might some 
other horse." 

"And have you never seen him, my fair 
maiden?" asked Bellerophon of the girl, 
who stood with the pitcher on her head, 
while this talk went on. "You certainly 
could see Pegasus, if anybody can, for your 
eyes are very bright." 

"Once I thought I saw him," replied the 
maiden, with a smile and a blush. "It was 
either Pegasus, or a large white bird, a 
very great way up in the air. And one other 
time, as I was coming to the fountain with 
my pitcher, I heard a neigh. Oh, such a 
brisk and melodious neigh as that was ! My 
very heart leaped with delight at the sound. 
But it startled me, nevertheless; so that I 
ran home without filling my pitcher." 

"That was truly a pity," said Bellero- 
phon. 

And he turned to the child, whom I men- 
tioned at the beginning of the story, and 
who was gazing at him, as children are 
apt to gaze at strangers with his rosy 
mouth wide open. 

"Well, my little fellow," cried Bellero- 
phon, playfully pulling one of his curls, "I 
suppose you have often seen the winged 
horse." 

"That I have," answered the child, very 
readily. "I saw him yesterday, and many 
times before." 

"You are a fine little man!" said Bellero- 
phon, drawing the child closer to him. 
"Come, tell me all about it." 

"Why," replied the child, "I often come 
here to sail little boats in the fountain, and 
to gather pretty pebbles out of its basin. And 






K''," 



I'm vU' ' , 











C^w** I ilei|*i acs 



>^ 



A Wonder Boo\ 



sometimes, when I looked down into the 
water, I see the image of the winged horse, 
in the picture of the sky that is there. I 
wish he would come down and take me 
on his back, and let me ride him up to the 
moon! But, if I so much as stir to look at 
him, he flies far away out of sight." 

And Bellerophon put Jiis faith in the 
child, who had seen the image of Pegasus 
in the water, and in the maiden who had 
heard him neigh so melodiously, rather 
than in the middle-aged clown, who be- 
lieved only in cart-horses, or in the old 
man who had forgotten the beautiful things 
of his youth. 

Therefore, he haunted about the Foun- 
tain of Pirene for a great many days after- 
wards. He kept continually on the watch, 
looking upward at the sky, or else down 
into the water, hoping for ever that he 
should see either the reflected image of the 
winged horse, or the marvellous reality. 
He held the bridle, with its bright gems 
and golden bit, always ready in his hand. 
The rustic people, who dwelt in the neigh- 
borhood, and drove their cattle to the foun- 
tain to drink, would often laugh at poor 
Bellerophon, and sometimes take him 
pretty severely to task. They told him that 
an ablebodied young man, like himself, 
ought to have better business than to be 
wasting his time in such idle pursuit. They 
oflfered to sell him a horse, if he wanted 
one; and when Bellerophon declined the 
purchase, they tried to drive a bargain with 
him for his iine bridle. 

Even the country boys thought him so 
very foolish that they used to have a great 
deal of sport about him, and were rude 
enough not to care a fig, although Bellero- 
phon saw and heard it. One little urchin, 
for example, would play Pegasus, and cut 
the oddest imaginable capers, by way of 



flying; while one of his schoolfellows would 
scamper after him holding forth a twist of 
bulrushes, which was intended to represent 
Bellerophon 's ornamental bridle. But the 
gentle child, who had seen the picture of 
Pegasus in the water, comforted the young 
stranger more than all the naughty boys 
could torment him. The dear little fellow, 
in his play-hours, often sat down beside 
him, and, without speaking a word, would 
look down into the fountain and up to- 
wards the sky, with so innocent a faith, 
that Bellerophon could not help feeling 
encouraged. 

§ § § 

Well was it for Bellerophon that the 
child had grown so fond of him, and was 
never weary of keeping him company. 
Every morning the child gave him a new 
hope to put in his bosom, instead of yes- 
terday's withered one. 

"Dear Bellerophon," he would cry, look- 
ing up hopefully into his face, "I think we 
shall see Pegasus today!" 

§ § § 

One morning the child spoke to Bellero- 
phon even more hopefully than usual. 

"Dear, dear Bellerophon," cried he, '1 
know not why it is, but I feel as if we 
should certainly see Pegasus today!" 

And all that day he would not stir a step 
from Bellerophon's side; so they ate a 
crust of bread together, and drank some 
of the water of the fountain. In the after- 
noon, there they sat, and Bellerophon had 
thrown his arm around the cliild, who 
likewise had put one of his Uttle hands into 
Bellerophon's. The latter was lost in his 
own thoughts, and was fixing his eyes va- 
cantly on the trunks of the trees that over- 
shadowed the fountain, and on the grape- 
vines that clambered up among the 
branches. But the gentle child was gazing 



10 



Nathaniel Hatithomc 



down into the water; he was grieved, for 
Bellerophon's sake, that the hope of an- 
other dav should be deceived, Hke so manv 
before it; and two or three quiet tear-drops 
fell from his eyes, and mingled \snth what 
were said to be the many tears of Pirene, 
when she wept for her slain children. 

But, when he least thought of it, Bellero- 
phon felt the pressure of the child's Httle 
hand, and heard a soft, almost breathless, 
whisper. 

"See there, dear Bellerophon, there is an 
image in the water!" 

The young man looked down into the 
dimpling mirror of the fountain, and 
saw what he took to be the reflection of a 
bird which seemed to be flying at a great 
height in the air, with a gleam of sunshine 
on its snowy or silver}' wings. 

'*^Vhat a splendid bird it must be!"' said 
he. "And how ver}' large it looks, though 
it must really be fl}*ing higher than the 
clouds I'' 

"It makes me tremble!" whispered the 
child. "I am afraid to look up into the air I It 
is very beautiful, and yet I dare only look 
at its image in the water. Dear Bellerophon, 
do you not see that it is no bird : It is the 
winged horse Pegasus!" 

Bellerophon's heart began to throb! He 
gazed keenly upward, but could not see 
the winged creature, whether bird or horse ; 
because, just then, it had plunged into the 
fleec}' depths of a summer cloud. It was 
but a moment, however, before the object 
reappeared, sinking hghtly down out of the 
cloud, although still at a vast distance from 
the earth. Bellerophon caught the child in 
his arms, and shrank back with him, so 
that they were both hidden among the 
thick shrubber}' which grew all around the 
fountain. Not that he was afraid of any 
harm, but he dreaded lest, if Pegasus 



caught a glimpse of them, he would fly far 
away, and alight in some inaccessible moun- 
tain-top. For it really was the winged horse. 
After they had expected him so long, he 
was coming to quench his thirst with the 
water of Pirene. 

Nearer and nearer came die aerial won- 
der, flying in great circles, as you may 
have seen a dove when about to alight. 
Downward came Pegasus, in those wide, 
sweeping circles, which grew narrower, and 
narrower stiU, as he gradually approached 
the earth. The nigher the view of him, the 
more beautiful he was, and the more mar- 
vellous the sweep of his silvery wings. At 
last, with so slight a pressure as hardly to 
bend the grass about the fountain, or in- 
print a hoof-tramp in the sand of its margin. 
he aUghted. and, stooping his wild head, 
began to drink. He drew in the water, with 
long and pleasant sighs, and tranquil pauses 
of enjoyment; and then another draught, 
and another, and another. For, nowhere in 
the world, or up among the clouds, did Pe- 
gasus love any water as he loved this of 
Pirene. ^-Vnd when his thirst was slaked, he 
cropped a few of the honey-blossoms of the 
clover, dehcately tasting them, but not 
caring to make a hearty meal, because the 
herbage, just beneath the clouds, on the 
lofty sides of Mount Helicon, suited his 
palate better than this ordinary grass. 

After thus drinking to his heart's con- 
tent, and in his damty fashion, condescend- 
ing to take a Utde food, the v/inged horse 
began to caper to and fro, and dance as it 
were out, of mere idleness and sport. There 
was never a more playful creature made 
than this ver}' Pegasus. So there he frisked, 
in a way that it delights me to think about, 
fluttering his great wings as lightly as ever 
did a linnet, and running litde races, half 
on earth and half in air, and which I know 



A Wonder Book^ 



II 



not whether to call a flight or a gallop. 
When a creature is perfectly able to fly, 
he sometimes chooses to run, just for the 
pastime of the thing; and so did Pegasus, 
although it cost him some little trouble 
to keep his hoofs so near the ground. Bel- 
lerophon, meanwhile, holding the child's 
hand, peeped forth from the shrubbery, and 
thought that never was any sight so beauti- 
ful as this, nor ever a horse's eyes so wild 
and spirited as those of Pegasus. It seemed 
a sin to think of bridling him and riding 
on his back. 

Once or twice, Pegasus stopped, and 
snuffed the air, pricking up his ears, toss- 
ing his head, and turning it on all sides, as 
if he partly suspected some mischief or 
other. Seeing nothing, however, and hear- 
ing no sound, he soon began his antics 
again. 

At length, — not that he was weary, but 
only idle and luxurious, — Pegasus folded his 
wings, and lay down on the soft green turf. 
But, being too full of aerial life to remain 
quiet for many moments together, he soon 
rolled over on his back, with his four slen- 
der legs in the air. It was beautiful to see 
him, this one solitary creature, whose mate 
had never been created, but who needed 
no companion, and, living a great many 
hundred years, was as happy as the cen- 
turies were long. The more he did such 
things as mortal horses are accustomed to 
do, the less earthly and the more wonderful 
he seemed. Bellerophon and the child al- 
most held their breath, partly from a de- 
lightful awe, but still more because they 
dreaded lest the slightest stir or murmur 
should send him up, with the speed of an 
arrow-flight, into the farthest blue of the 
sky. 

Finally, when he had had enough of 
rolling over and over, Pegasus turned him- 



self about, and, indolently, like any other 
horse, put out his fore legs, in order to rise 
from the ground; and Bellerophon, who 
had guessed that he would do so, darted 
suddenly from the thicket, and leaped 
astride of his back. 

Yes, there he sat, on the back of the 
winged horse! 

But what a bound did Pegasus make, 
Vv'hcn, for the first time, he felt the weight 
of a mortal man upon his loins! A bound, 
indeed! Before he had time to draw a 
breath, Bellerophone found himself five 
hundred feet aloft, and still shooting up- 
ward, while the winged horse snorted and 
trembled with terror and anger. Upward 
he went, up, up, up, until he plunged into 
the cold misty bosom of a cloud, at which, 
only a little while before, Bellerophon had 
been gazing, and fancying it a very pleas- 
ant spot. Then again, out of the heart of 
the cloud, Pegasus shot down like a thun- 
derbolt, as if he meant to dash both him- 
self and his rider headlong against a rock. 
Then he went through about a thousand 
of the wildest caprioles that had ever been 
performed either by a bird or a horse. 

I cannot tell you half that he did. He 
skimmed straight-forward, and sideways, 
and backward. He reared himself erect, 
with his fore legs on a wreath of mist and 
his hind legs on nothing at all. He flung 
his heels behind, and put down his head 
between his legs, with his wings pointing 
right upward. At about t\vo miles' height 
above the earth, he turned a somerset, so 
that Bellerophon's heels were where his 
head should have been, and he seemed to 
look down into the sky, instead of up. He 
twisted his head about, and looking Bellero- 
phon in the face, with iire flashing from 
his eyes, made a terrible attempt to bite 
him. He fluttered his pinions so wildly that 



12 



Nathaniel Hawthorne 



one of the silver feathers was shaken out, 
and, floating earthward, was picked up by 
the child, who kept it as long as he lived, 
in memory of Pegasus and Bellerophon. 
But the latter (who, as you may judge, 
was as good a horseman as ever galloped) 
had been watching his opportunity, and at 
last clapped the golden bit of the enchanted 
bridle between die winged steed's jaws. No 
sooner was this done, than Pegasus became 
as manageable as if he had taken food all 
his life out of Bellerophon's hand. To speak 
what I really feel, it was almost a sadness 
to see so wild a creature grow suddenly 



so tame. And Pegasus seemed to feel it so, 
likewise. He looked round to Bellerophon 
with tears in his beautiful eyes instead of 
the fire that so recently flashed from them. 
But when Bellerophon patted his head, and 
spoke a few authoritative, yet kind and 
soothing words, another look came into the 
eyes of Pegasus; for he was glad at heart, 
after so many lonely centuries, to have 
found a companion and a master. 

Thus it always is with winged horses, 
and with all such wild and solitary crea- 
tures. If you can catch and overcome them, 
it is the surest way to win their love. 



JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745) 



The Country of the Houyhnhnms 



from GULLIVER'S TRAVELS 



Most of US read GulHver's Travels as children, relishing the fantasy and 
the adventure, not understanding the satire. The inhabitants of the land 
of the Houyhnhnms represented our ideas of what horses might, in fact 
should, be like. The mature reader realizes the satire intended and finds 
the renewal of his acquaintance tvith the wise and gentle talkjng horses 
a pleasure. 




fter having travelled about three 
miles, we came to a long kind of 
building, made of timber stuck 
in the ground, and v^attled across; the roof 
v^as low, and covered with straw. I now 
began to be a little comforted; and took 
out some toys, which travellers usually carry 
for presents to the savage Indians of Amer- 
ica, and other parts, in hopes the people of 
the house would be thereby encouraged to 
receive me kindly. The horse made me a 
sign to go in first; it was a large room with 
a smooth clay floor, and a rack and manger, 
extending the whole length of one side. 
There were three nags and two mares, 
not eating, but some of them sitting down 
upon their hams, which I very much won- 
dered at; but wondered more to see the rest 
employed in domestic business ; these seemed 
but ordinary cattle ; however, this confirmed 
my first opinion, that a people who could 



so far civilize brute animals must needs 
excel in wisdom all the nations of the world. 
The gray came in just after, and thereby 
prevented any ill-treatment which the 
others might have given me. He neighed 
to them several times in a style of authority', 
and received answers. 

Beyond this room there were three others, 
reaching the length of the house, to which 
you passed through three doors, opposite to 
each other, in the manner of a vista; we 
went through the second room towards the 
third. Here the gray walked in first, beck- 
oning me to attend; I waited in the second 
room, and got ready my presents for the 
master and mistress of the house : they were 
two knives, three bracelets of false pearls, a 
small looking-glass, and a bead necklace. 
The horse neighed three or four times, and 
I waited to hear some answers in a human 
voice, but I heard no other returns than in 



13 



i^ Jonathan 

the same dialect, only one or two a little 
shriller than his. I began to think that this 
house must belong to some person of great 
note among them, because tliere appeared 
so much ceremony before I could gain ad- 
mittance. But, that a man of quality should 
be served all by horses was beyond my 
comprehension: I feared my brain was dis- 
turbed by my sujft'ering and misfortunes: I 
roused myself, and looked about me in the 
room where I was left alone: this was fur- 
nished like the first, only after a more 
elegant manner. I rubbed my eyes often, 
but the same objects still occurred. I pinched 
my arms and sides to awake myself, hop- 
ing I might be in a dream. I then absolutely 
concluded that all these appearances could 
be nothing else but necromancy and magic. 
But I had no time to pursue these reflections, 
for the gray horse came to the door, and 
made me a sign to follow him into the 
third room, where I saw a very comely 
mare, together with a colt and foal, sitting 
on their haunches upon mats of straw, not 
unartfully made, and perfectly neat and 
clean. 

The mare soon after my entrance rose 
from her mat, and coming up close, after 
having nicely observed my hands and face, 
gave me a most contemptuous look, and 
turning to the horse, I heard the word Yahoo 
often repeated betwixt them; the meaning 
of which I could not then comprehend; al- 



Swijt 

though it was the first I had learned to 
pronounce; but I was soon better informed, 
to my everlasting mortification; for the 
horse beckoning to me with his head, and 
repeating the hhuun, hhuun, as he did 
upon the road, which I understood was to 
attend him, led me out into a kind of court, 
where was another building, at some dis- 
tance from the house. Here we entered, and 
I saw three of those detestable creatures, 
which I first met after my landing, feeding 
upon roots, and the flesh of some animals, 
which I afterwards found to be that of 
asses and dogs, and now and then a cow, 
dead by accident or disease. They were all 
tied by the neck with strong withes fastened 
to a beam; they held their food between the 
claws of their forefeet, and tore it with 
their teeth. 

The master horse ordered a sorrel nag, 
one of his servants, to untie the largest of 
these animals, and take him into the yard. 
The beast and I were brought close together, 
and our countenances diligently compared 
both by master and servant, who thereupon 
repeated several times the word Yahoo, 
My horror and astonishment are not to be 
described, when I observed, in this abomi- 
nable animal, a perfect human figure: 
the face of it indeed was flat and broad, the 
nose depressed, the lips large, and the 
mouth wide 



WILLIAM ROSE BENET (1886- ) 



The Horse Thief 



from THE BURGLAR OF THE 
ZODIAC, AND OTHER POEMS 



Not only the beauty of the images and the wonderful rolling rhythn hut 
the unusual conception, tying the wild west with mythology, ma\es this 
poem of William Rose Benet a masterpiece never to be forgotten. 



There he moved, cropping the grass at the 

purple canyon's hp. 
His mane was mixed with the moonhght that 

silvered his snow-white side, 
For the moon sailed out of a cloud with the 

wake of a spectral ship. 
I crouched and I crawled on my belly, my 

lariat coil looped wide. 

Dimly and dark the mesas broke on the starry 

sky. 
A pall covered every color of their gorgeous 

glory at noon. 
I smelt the yucca and mesquite, and stifled my 

heart's quick cry, 
And wormed and crawled on my belly to 

where he moved against the moon. 

Some Moorish barb was that mustang's sire. 
His lines were beyond all wonder. 

From the prick of his ears to the flow of his 
tail he ached in my throat and eyes. 

Steel and velvet grace! As the prophet says, 
God had "clothed his neck with thun- 
der." 

Oh, marvelous with the drifting cloud he 
drifted across the skies! 



And then I was near at hand — crouched, and 

balanced, and cast the coil; 
And the moon was smothered in cloud, and 

the rope through my hands with a rip! 
But somehow I gripped and clung, with the 

blood in my brain a-boil — 
With a turn round the rugged tree-stump 

there on the purple canyon's lip. 

Right into the stars he reared aloft, his red eve 

rolling and raging. 
He whirled and sunfished and lashed, and 

rocked the earth to thunder and flame. 
He squealed Hke a regular devil horse. I was 

haggard and spent and aging- 
Roped clean, but almost storming clear, his 

fury too fierce to tame. 

And I cursed myself for a tenderfoot, moon- 
dazzled to play the part. 

But I was doubly desperate then, with the 
posse pulled out from town, 

Or I'd never have tried it. I only knew I must 
get a mount and a start. 

The iilly had snapped her foreleg short. I 
had had to shoot her down. 



15 



i6 



William Rose Be net 



So there he struggled and strangled, and I 

snubbed him around a tree. 
Nearer, a little nearer — hoofs planted, and 

loUing tongue — 
Till a sudden slack pitched me backward. He 

reared right on top of me. 
Mother of God — that moment! He missed 

me . . . and up I swung. 

Somehow, gone daft completely and clawing 
a bunch of his mane. 

As he stumbled and tripped in tlie lariat, 
there I was — up and astride 

And cursing for seven counties! And the mus- 
tang? Just insane! 

Crack-bang! went the rope; we cannoned off 
the tree — then — ^gods, that ride! 

A rocket — that's all, a rocket! I dug with my 
teeth and nails. 

Why, we never hit even the high spots 
(though I hardly remember things), 

But I heard a monstrous booming like a thun- 
der of flapping sails 

When he spread — well, call me a liar! — 
when he spread those wings, those 
wings! 

So white that my eyes were blinded, thick- 
feathered and wide unfurled, 

They beat the air into billows. We sailed and 
the earth was gone. 

Canyon and desert and mesa withered below, 
with the world. 

And then I knew that mustang; for I — ^was 
Bellerophon! 

Yes, glad as the Greek, and mounted on a 
horse of the elder gods. 

With never a magic bridle or a fountain- 
mirror nigh! 

My chaps and spurs and holster must have 
looked it! What's the odds? 

I'd a leg over lightning and thunder, careering 
across the sky! 

And forever streaming before me, fanning my 

forehead cool, 
Flowed a mane of molten silver; and just 

before my thighs 



(As I gripped his velvet-muscled ribs, while 

I cursed myself for a fool) 
The steady pulse of those pinions— their 

wonderful fall and rise! 

The bandanna I bought in Bowie blew loose 
and whipped from my neck. 

My shirt was stuck to my shoulders and rib- 
boning out behind. 

The stars were dancing, wheeling and glan- 
cing, dipping with smirk and beck. 

The clouds were flowing, dusking and glow- 
ing. We rode a roaring wind. 

We soared through the silver starlight to 
knock at the planets' gates. 

New shimmering constellations came whirl- 
ing into our ken. 

Red stars and green and golden swung out of 
the void that waits 

For man's great last adventure; the Signs 
took shape — and then 

I knew the Hnes of that Centaur the moment 
I saw him come! 

The musical box of the heavens all around 
us rolled to a tune 

That tinkled and chimed and trilled with sil- 
ver sounds that struck you dumb, 

As if some archangel were grinding out the 
music of the moon. 

Melody-drunk on the Milky Way, as we swept 

and soared hilarious, 
Full in our pathway he stood — the Centaur 

of the Stars, 
Flashing from head and hoofs and breast! I 

knew him for Sagittarius. 
He reared, and bent and drew his bow. He 

crouched as a boxer spars. 

Flung back on his haunches, weird he loomed; 

then leapt — and the dim void lightened^ 
Old White Wings shied and swerved aside, 

and fled from the splendor-shod. 
Through the flashing welter of worlds we 

charged. I knew why my horse was 

frightened. 
He had two faces — a dog's and a man's — 

that Babylonian god! 



The Burglar 

Also, he followed us real as fear. Ping I went an 

arrow past. 
My broncho buck-jumped, humping high. 

We plunged ... I guess that's all! 
I lay on the purple canyon's lip, when I opened 

my eyes at last — 
Stiff and sore and my head like a drum, but 

I broke no bones in the fall. 

So you know — and now you may string me 
up. Such was the way you caught me. 

Thank you for letting me tell it straight, 
though you never could greatly care. 



oj the y.odiac 17 

For I took a horse that wasn't mine! . . . But 
there's one the heavens brought me, 

And I'll hang right happy, because I know 
he is waiting for me up there. 

From creamy muzzle to cannon-br^ne, by Grxl, 

he's a peerless wonder! 
He is steel and velvet and furnace-fire, and 

death's supremest prize, 
And never again shall be roped on earth that 

neck that is "clothed in thunder". . . 
String me up, Dave! Go dig my grave! / 

rode him across the skjesl 



WASHINGTON IRVING (1783-1859) 



Go\ ernor Manco and the Soldier 



from THE ALHAMBRA 



The legend of a vast cave where \nights and their horses sleep, waiting 
for the signal to awa\e and conquer the earth, crops up in the folJ^lore 
of many lands. Washington Irving uses it here for a most amusing story 
that will always be a living part of our literature. 




'hen Governor Manco, or the 
one-armed, kept up a show of 
miHtary state in the Alham- 
bra, he became nettled at the reproaches 
continually cast upon his fortress of being 
a nestling place of rogues and contra- 
bandistas. On a sudden, the old potentate 
determined on reform, and setting vigor- 
ously to work, ejected whole nests of vaga- 
bonds out of the fortress, and the gypsy 
caves with which the surrounding hills are 
honey-combed. He sent out soldiers, also, 
to patrol the avenues and footpaths, with 
orders to take up all suspicious persons. 

One bright summer morning, a patrol 
consisting of the testy old corporal who had 
distinguished himself in the affair of the 
notary, a trumpeter and two privates were 
seated under the garden wall of the Gen- 
eralifle, beside the road which leads down 
from the mountain of the Sun, when they 
heard the tramp of a horse, and a male 



voice singing in rough, though not unmusi- 
cal tones, an old Castilian campaigning 
song. 

Presently they beheld a sturdy, sun-burnt 
fellow clad in the ragged garb of a foot- 
soldier, leading a powerful Arabian horse 
caparisoned in the ancient Morisco fashion. 

Astonished at the sight of a strange sol- 
dier, descending, steed in hand, from that 
solitary mountain, the corporal stepped 
forth and challenged him. 

"Who goes there.?" 

"A friend." 

"Who, and what are you?" 

"A poor soldier, just from the wars, with 
a cracked crown and empty purse for a 
reward." 

By this time they were enabled to view 
him more narrowly. He had a black patch 
across his forehead, which, with a grizzled 
beard, added to a certain dare-devil cast of 
countenance, while a slight squint threw 



i8 



into the whole an occasional gleam of 
roguish good-humor. 

Having answered the questions of the 
patrol, the soldier seemed to consider him- 
self entitled to make others in return. 

"May I ask," said he, "what city is this 
which I see at the foot of the hill ?" 

"What city!" cried the trumpeter; "come, 
that's too bad. Here's a fellow lurking about 
the mountain of the Sun, and demands the 
name of the great city of Granada." 

"Granada! Madre de Dios! can it be pos- 
sible!" 

"Perhaps not!" rejoined the trumpeter, 
"and perhaps you have no idea that yon- 
der are the towers of the Alhambra?" 

"Son of a trumpet," replied the stranger, 
"do not trifle with me; if this be indeed the 
Alhambra, 1 have some strange matters to 
reveal to the governor." 

"You will have an opportunity," said 
the corporal, "for we mean to take you 
before him." 

By this time the trumpeter had seized the 
bridle of the steed, the two privates had 
each secured an arm of the soldier, the cor- 
poral put himself in front, gave the word, 
"forward, march!" and away they marched 
for the Alhambra. 

The sight of a ragged foot-soldier and a 
fine Arabian horse brought in captive by 
the patrol, attracted the attention of all 
the idlers of the fortress, and of those gossip 
groups that generally assemble about wells 
and fountains at early dawn. The wheel 
of the cistern paused in its rotations; the 
slipshod servant-maid stood gaping with 
pitcher in hand, as the corporal passed by 
with his prize. A motley train gradually 
gathered in the rear of the escort. Know- 
ing nods, and winks, and conjectures passed 
from one to another. It is a deserter, said 
one; a contrabandista, said another; a 



The Alhambra 19 

bandalcro, said a third, until it was affirmed 
that a captain of a desperate band of rob- 
bers had been captured by the prowess of 
the corix)ral and his patrol. "Well, well,*' 
said the old crones one to another, "captain 
or not, let him get out of the grasp of old 
Governor Manco if he can, though he is but 
one-handed." 

Governor Manco was seated in one of the 
inner halls of the Alhambra, taking his 
morning's cup of chocolate in company 
with his confessor, a fat Franciscan friar 
from the neighbouring convent. A demure, 
dark-eyed damsel of Malaga, the daughter 
of his housekeeper, was attending upon 
him. 

The world hinted that the damsel, who, 
with all her demureness, was a sly, buxom 
baggage, had found out a soft spot in the 
iron heart of the old governor, and held 
complete control over him, — but let that 
pass; the domestic affairs of these mighty 
potentates of the earth should not be too 
narrowly scrutinized. 

When word was brought that a suspi- 
cious stranger had been taken lurking about 
the fortress, and was actually in the outer 
court, in durance of the corporal, waiting 
the pleasure of his excellency, the pride 
and stateliness of office swelled the bosom 
of the governor. Giving back his chocolate 
cup into the hands of the demure damsel, 
he called for his basket-hiked sword, girded 
it to his side, twirled up his mustachios, 
took his seat in a large high-backed chair, 
assumed a bitter and forbidding aspect, and 
ordered the prisoner into his presence. The 
soldier was brought in, still closely pinioned 
by his captors, and guarded by the corporal. 
He maintained, however, a resolute, self- 
confident air, and returned the sharp, scruti- 
nizing look of the governor with an easy 



20 



Washington Irving 



squint, which by no means pleased the 
punctiHous old potentate. 

"Well, culprit!" said the governor, after 
he had regarded him for a moment in si- 
lence, "what have you to say for yourself? 
who are you?" 

"A soldier, just from the wars, who has 
brought away nothing but scars and 
bruises." 

"A soldier? humph! a foot-soldier by 
your garb. I understand you have a fine 
Arabian horse. I presume you brought him 
too from the wars, besides your scars and 
bruises." 

"May it please your excellency, I have 
something strange to tell about that horse. 
Indeed, I have one of the most wonderful 
things to relate — something too that con- 
cerns the security of this fortress, indeed, 
of all Granada. But it is a matter to be 
imparted only to your private ear, or in 
presence of such only as are in your con- 
fidence." 

The governor considered for a moment, 
and then directed the corporal and his 
men to withdraw, but to post themselves 
outside of the door, and be ready at call. 
"This holy friar," said he, "is my confessor, 
you may say anything in his presence — and 
this damsel," nodding towards the hand- 
maid, who had loitered with an air of great 
curiosity, "this damsel is of great secrecy 
and discretion, and to be trusted with any 
thing." 

The soldier gave a glance between a 
squint and a leer at the demure hand- 
maid. "I am perfectly willing," said he, 
"that the damsel should remain." 

When all the rest had withdrawn, the 
soldier commenced his story. He was a 
fluent, smooth-tongued varlet, and had a 
command of language above his apparent 
rank. 



"May it please your excellency," said 
he, "I am, as I before observed, a soldier, 
and have seen some hard service, but 
my term of enlistment being expired, I 
was discharged not long since from the 
army at Valladolid, and set out on foot 
for my native village in Andalusia. Yes- 
terday evening the sun went down as I 
was traversing a great dry plain of old 
Castile." 

"Hold!" cried the governor, "what is this 
you say? Old Castile is some two or three 
hundred miles from this." 

"Even so," replied the soldier, coolly, 
"I told your excellency I had strange things 
to relate — but not more strange than true — 
as your excellency will find, if you will 
deign me a patient hearing." 

"Proceed, culprit," said the governor, 
twirling up his mustachios. 

"As the sun went down," continued the 
soldier, "I cast my eyes about in search of 
some quarters for the night, but far as my 
sight could reach, there were no signs of 
habitation. I saw that I should have to make 
my bed on the naked plain, with my knap- 
sack for a pillow; but your excellency is 
an old soldier, and knows that to one who 
has been in the wars, such a night's lodging 
is no great hardship." 

The governor nodded assent, as he drew 
his pocket-handkerchief out of the basket- 
hilt of his sword, to drive away a fly that 
buzzed about his nose. 

"Well, to make a long story short," con- 
tinued the soldier, "I trudged forward for 
several miles, until I came to a bridge over 
a deep ravine, through which ran a little 
thread of water, almost dried up by the 
summer heat. At one end of the bridge 
was a Moorish tower, the upper part all in 
ruins, but a vault in the foundations quite 
entire. Here, thinks I, is a good place to 



The Al ham bra 



21 



make a halt. So I went down to the stream, 
took a hearty drink, for the water was 
pure and sweet, and I was parched with 
thirst, then opening my wallet, I took out 
an onion and a few crusts, which were all 
my provisions, and seating myself on a stone 
on the margin of the stream, began to 
make my supper; intending afterwards to 
quarter myself for the night in the vault 
of the tower, and capital quarters they 
would have been for a campaigner just 
from the wars, as your excellency, who is 
an old soldier, may suppose." 

"I have put up gladly with worse in my 
time," said the governor, returning his 
pocket-handkerchief into the hilt of his 
sword. 

"While I was quietly crunching my 
crust," pursued the soldier, "I heard some- 
thing stir within the vault; I listened: it 
was the tramp of a horse. By and by a man 
came forth from a door in the foundation 
of the tower, close by the water's edge, lead- 
ing a powerful horse by the bridle. I could 
not well make out what he was by the 
starlight. It had a suspicious look to be 
lurking among the ruins of a tower in that 
wild solitary place. He might be a mere 
wayfarer like myself; he might be a contra- 
bandista; he might be a bandalero! What 
of that, — thank heaven and my poverty, I 
had nothing to lose, — so I sat still and 
crunched my crusts. 

"He led his horse to the water close by 
where I was sitting, so that I had a fair 
opportunity of reconnoitring him. To my 
surprise, he was dressed in a Moorish garb, 
with a cuirass of steel, and a polished skull- 
cap, that I distinguished by the reflection 
of the stars upon it. His horse, too, was 
harnessed in the Morisco fashion, with 
great shovel stirrups. He led him, as I 
said, to the side of the stream, into which 



the animal plunged his head almost to the 
eyes, and drank until I thought he would 
have burst. 

"'Comrade,' said I, *your steed drinks 
well: it's a good sign when a horse plunges 
his muzzle bravely into the water.' 

" *He may well drink,' said the stranger, 
speaking with a Moorish accent; *it is a 
good year since he had his last draught.' 

" 'By Santiago,' said I, 'that beats even 
the camels that I have seen in Africa. But 
come, you seem to be something of a sol- 
dier, won't you sit down, and take part of 
a soldier's fare?' — In fact, I felt the want 
of a companion in this lonely place, and 
was willing to put up with an infidel. Be- 
sides, as your excellency well knows, a 
soldier is never very particular about the 
faith of his company, and soldiers of all 
countries are comrades on peaceable 
ground." 

The governor again nodded assent. 

"Well, as I was saying, I invited him to 
share my supper, such as it was, for I could 
not do less in common hospitality. 

" 1 have no time to pause for meat or 
drink,' said he, 1 have a long journey to 
make before morning.' 

" *In which direction ?' said L 

" 'Andalusia,' said he. 

" 'Exactly my route,' said I. 'So as you 
won't stop and eat with me, perhaps you'll 
let me mount and ride with you. I see your 
horse is of a powerful frame: I'll warrant 
he'll carry double.' 

" 'Agreed,' said the trooper ; and it would 
not have been civil and soldierlike to re- 
fuse, especially as I had offered to share 
my supper with him. So up he mounted, 
and up I mounted behind him. 

" 'Hold fast,' said he, 'my steed goes 
like the wind.' 



22 



Washington Irving 



" *Never fear me/ said I, and so off we 
set. 

"From a walk the horse soon passed to a 
trot, from a trot to a gallop, and from a gal- 
lop to a harum-scarum scamper. It seemed 
as if rocks, trees, houses, everything, flew 
hurry-scurry behind us. 

"'What town is this?' said I. 

" 'Segovia,' said he; and before die words 
were out of his mouth, the towers of 
Segovia were out of sight. We swept up 
the Guadarama mountains, and down by 
the Escurial; and we skirted the walls of 
Madrid, and we scoured away across the 
plains of La Mancha. In this way we went 
up hill and down dale, by towns and cities 
all buried in deep sleep, and across moun- 
tains, and plains, and rivers, just glimmer- 
ing in the starlight. 

"To make a long story short, and not to 
fatigue your excellency, the trooper sud- 
denly pulled up on the side of a mountain. 
'Here we are,' said he, 'at the end of our 
journey.' 

"I looked about but could see no signs 
of habitation: nothing but the mouth of a 
cavern: while I looked, I saw multitudes of 
people in Moorish dresses, some on horse- 
back, some on foot, arriving as if borne by 
the wind from all points of the compass, 
and hurrying into the mouth of the cavern 
like bees into a hive. Before I could ask a 
question, the trooper struck his long Moor- 
ish spurs into the horse's flanks, and dashed 
in with the throng. We passed along a steep 
winding way that descended into the very 
bowels of the mountain. As we pushed on, 
a light began to glimmer up by little and 
little, like the first glimmerings of day, but 
what caused it, I could not discover. It 
grew stronger and stronger, and enabled 
me to see everything around. I now noticed 
as we passed along, great caverns opening 



to the right and left, like halls in an arsenal. 
In some there were shields, and helmets, 
and cuirasses, and lances, and scimitars 
hanging against the walls; in others, there 
were great heaps of warlike munitions and 
camp equipage lying upon the ground. 

"It would have done your excellency's 
heart good, being an old soldier, to have 
seen such grand provision for war. Then 
in other caverns there were long rows of 
horsemen, armed to the teeth, with lances 
raised and banners unfurled, all ready for 
the field ; but they all sat motionless in their 
saddles like so many statues. In other halls, 
were warriors sleeping on the ground be- 
side their horses, and foot soldiers in groups, 
ready to fall into the ranks. All were in old- 
fashioned Moorish dresses and armour. 

"Well, your excellency, to cut a long 
story short, we at length entered an im- 
mense cavern, or I might say palace, of 
grotto work, the walls of which seemed to 
be veined with gold and silver, and to 
sparkle with diamonds and sapphires, and 
all kinds of precious stones. At the upper 
end sat a Moorish king on a golden throne, 
with his nobles on each side, and a guard 
of African blacks with drawn scimitars. 
All the crowd that continued to flock in, 
and amounted to thousands and thousands, 
passed one by one before his throne, each 
paying homage as he passed. Some of the 
multitude were dressed in magnificent 
robes, without stain or blemish, and spar- 
kling with jewels; others in burnished and 
enamelled armour; while others were in 
mouldered and mildewed garments, and in 
armour all battered and dinted, and covered 
with rust. 

"I had hitherto held my tongue, for your 
excellency well knows, it is not for a soldier 
to ask many questions when on duty, but 
I could keep silence no longer. 



" Tr'ythec, comrade/ said I, Vhat is the 
meaning of all this?* 

" This/ said the trooper, *is a great and 
powerful mystery. Know, O Christian, that 
you see before you the court and army of 
Boabdil, the last king of Granada/ 

"'What is this you tell me!* cried I. 
*Boabdil and his court were exiled from 
the land hundreds of years agone, and all 
died in Africa.' 

" 'So it is recorded in your lying chron- 
icles,' replied the Moor, 'but know that 
Boabdil and the warriors who made the 
last struggle for Granada were all shut up 
in this mountain by powerful enchantment. 
As to the king and army that marched 
forth from Granada at the time of the 
surrender, they were a mere phantom train, 
or spirits and demons permitted to assume 
those shapes to deceive the Christian sov- 
ereigns. And furthermore let me tell you, 
friend, that all Spain is a country under 
the power of enchantment. There is not a 
mountain-cave, not a lonely watch-tower 
in the plains, nor ruined castle on the hills, 
but has some spell-bound warriors sleep- 
ing from age to age within its vaults, 
until the sins are expiated for which Allah 
permitted the dominion to pass for a time 
out of the hands of the faithful. Once every 
year, on the eve of St. John, they are re- 
leased from enchantment from sunset to 
sunrise, and permitted to repair here to pay 
homage to their sovereign; and the crowds 
which you beheld swarming into the cav- 
ern are Moslem warriors from their haunts 
in all parts of Spain; for my own part, you 
saw the ruined tower of the bridge in old 
Castile, where I have now wintered and 
summered for many hundred years, and 
where I must be back again by day-break. 
As to the battalions of horse and foot which 
you beheld drawn up in array in the neigh- 



Thc Alhambra 23 

bouring caverns, they are the spell-bound 
warriors of Granada. It is written in the 
book of fate, that when the enchantment is 
broken, Boabdil will descend from the 
mountains at the head of this army, resume 
his throne in the Alhambra and his sway 
of Granada, and gathering together the 
enchanted warriors from all parts of Spain, 
will reconquer the peninsula, and restore it 
to Moslem rule.' 

*' 'And when shall this happen ?' said I. 

" 'Allah alone knows. We had hoped the 
day of deliverance was at hand; but there 
reigns at present a vigilant governor in Al- 
hambra, a staunch old soldier, the same 
called Governor Manco; while such a war- 
rior holds command of the very outpost, 
and stands ready to check the first irruption 
from the mountain, I fear Boabdil and his 
soldiery must be content to rest upon their 
arms. 

Here the governor raised himself some- 
what perpendicularly, adjusted his sword, 
and twirled up his mustachios. 

"To make a long story short, and not 
fatigue your excellency, the trooper having 
given me this account, dismounted from 
his steed. 

" 'Tarry here,' said he, 'and guard my 
steed, while I go and bow the knee to 
Boabdil.' So saying, he strode away among 
the throng that pressed forward to the 
throne. 

"What's to be done? thought I, when 
thus left to myself. Shall I wait here until 
this infidel returns to whisk me off on his 
goblin steed, die Lord knows where? or 
shall I make the most of my time, and 
beat a retreat from this hobgoblin commu- 
nity? — A soldier's mind is soon made up, 
as your excellency well knows. As to the 
horse, he belonged to an avowxd enemy of 
the faith and the realm, and w^as a fair 



24 



Washington Irving 



prize according to the rules of war. So 
hoisting myself from the crupper into the 
saddle, I turned the reins, struck the Moor- 
ish stirrups into the sides of the steed, and 
put him to make the best of his way out 
of the passage by which we had entered. As 
we scoured by the halls where the Moslem 
horsemen sat in motionless battalions, I 
thought I heard the clang of armour, and a 
hollow murmur of voices. I gave the steed 
another taste of the stirrups, and doubled 
my speed. There was now a sound behind 
me like a rushing blast; I heard the clatter 
of a thousand hoofs; a countless throng 
overtook me; I was borne along in the 
press, and hurled forth from the mouth of 
the cavern, while thousands of shadowy 
forms were swept off in every direction by 
the four winds of heaven. 

"In the whirl and confusion of the scene, 
I was thrown from the saddle, and fell 
senseless to the earth. When I came to my- 
self I was lying on the brow of a hill, with 
the Arabian steed standing beside me, for 
in falling my arm had slipped within the 
bridle, which, I presume, prevented his 
whisking off to old Castile. 

"Your excellency may easily judge of my 
surprise on looking round, to behold hedges 
of aloes and Indian iigs, and other proofs 
of a southern climate, and see a great city 
below me with towers and palaces, and a 
grand cathedral. I descended the hill cau- 
tiously, leading my steed, for I was afraid 
to mount him again, lest he should play me 
some slippery trick. As I descended, I met 
with your patrol, who let me into the secret 
that it was Granada that lay before me: and 
that I was actually under the walls of the Al- 
hambra, the fortress of the redoubted Gov- 
ernor Manco, the terror of all enchanted 
Moslems. When I heard this, I determined 
at once to seek your excellency, to inform 



you of all that I had seen, and to warn you 
of the perils that surround and undermine 
you, that you may take measures in time to 
guard your fortress, and the kingdom it- 
self, from this intestine army that lurks in 
the very bowels of the land." 

"And pr'ythee, friend, you who are a 
veteran campaigner, and have seen so much 
service," said the governor, "how would you 
advise me to go about to prevent this evil ?'' 

"It is not for an humble private of the 
ranks," said the soldier modestly, "to pre- 
tend to instruct a commander of your ex- 
cellency's sagacity; but it appears to me 
that your excellency might cause all the 
caves and entrances into the mountain to 
be walled up with solid mason-work, so that 
Boabdil and his army might be completely 
corked up in their subterranean habitation. 
If the good father too," added the soldier, 
reverently bowing to the friar, and de- 
voutly crossing himself, "would consecrate 
the barricadoes with his blessing, and put 
up a few crosses and reliques, and images of 
saints, I think they might withstand all the 
power of infidel enchantments." 

"They doubtless would be of great avail," 
said the friar. 

The governor now placed his arm 
a-kimbo, with his hand resting on the hilt 
of his toledo, fixed his eye upon the soldier, 
and gently wagging his head from one side 
to the other: 

"So, friend," said he, "then you really 
suppose I am to be gulled with this cock- 
and-bull story about enchanted mountains, 
and enchanted Moors. Hark ye, culprit! — 
not another word. — ^An old soldier you 
may be, but you'll find you have an old 
soldier to deal with; and one not easily 
outgeneralled. Ho! guard there! — ^put this 
fellow in irons." 

The demure handmaid would have put 



The Alhambra 



25 



in a word in favour of the prisoner, but 
the governor silenced her with a look. 

As they were pinioning the soldier, one 
of the guards felt something of bulk in his 
pocket, and drawing it forth, found a long 
leathern purse that appeared to be well 
filled. Holding it by one corner, he turned 
out the contents on the table before the 
governor, and never did freebooter's bag 
make more gorgeous delivery. Out tumbled 
rings and jewels, and rosaries of pearls, 
and sparkling diamond crosses, and a pro- 
fusion of ancient golden coin, some of 
which fell jingling to the floor, and rolled 
away to the uttermost parts of the cham- 
ber. 

For a time the functions of justice were 
suspended: there was a universal scramble 
after the glittering fugitives. The governor 
alone, who was imbued with true Spanish 
pride, maintained his stately decorum, 
though his eye betrayed a little anxiety 
until the last coin and jewel was restored 
to the sack. 

The friar was not so calm; his whole face 
glowed like a furnace, and his eyes 
twinkled and flashed at sight of the rosaries 
and crosses. 

"Sacrilegious wretch that thou art," ex- 
claimed he, "what church or sanctuary hast 
thou been plundering of these sacred 
reliques.f^" 

"Neither one nor the other, holy father. 
If they be sacrilegious spoils, they must 
have been taken in times long past by the 
iniidel trooper I have mentioned. I was 
just going to tell his excellency, when he 
interrupted me, that, on taking possession 
of the trooper's horse, I unhooked a leath- 
ern sack which hung at the saddle bow, 
and which, I presume, contained the plun- 
der of his campaignings in days of old, 
when the Moors overran the country." 



"Mighty well, — at present you will make 
up your mind to take up your quarters 
in a chamber of the Vermilion towers, 
which, though not under a magic spell, 
will hold you as safe as any cave of your 
enchanted Moors." 

"Your excellency will do as you think 
proper," said the prisoner coolly. "I shall 
be thankful to your excellency for any ac- 
commodation in the fortress. A soldier who 
has been in the wars, as your excellency 
well knows, is not particular about his 
lodgings; and provided I have a snug dun- 
geon and regular rations, I shall manage 
to make myself comfortable. I would only 
entreat, that while your excellency is so 
careful about me, you would have an eye 
to your fortress, and think on the hint I 
dropped about stopping up the entrances 
to the mountain." 

Here ended the scene. The prisoner was 
conducted to a strong dungeon in the Ver- 
milion towers, the Arabian steed was led 
to his excellency's stable, and the trooper's 
sack was deposited in his excellency's 
strong box. To the latter, it is true, the friar 
made some demur, questioning whether 
the sacred reliques, which were evidently 
sacrilegious spoils, should not be placed in 
custody of the church; but as the governor 
was peremptory on the subject, and was 
absolute lord in the Alhambra, the friar 
discreetly dropped the discussion, but de- 
termined to convey intelligence of the fact 
to the church dignitaries in Granada. 

To explain these prompt and rigid meas- 
ures on the part of old Governor Manco, 
it is proper to observe, that about this time 
the Alpuxarra mountains in the neighbor- 
hood of Granada were terribly infected by 
a gang of robbers, under the command of 
a daring chief named Manuel Borasco, 
who were accustomed to prowl about the 



26 



Washington Irving 



country, and even to enter the city in vari- 
ous disguises to gain intelligence of the 
departure of convoys of merchandise, or 
travellers with well-lined purses, whom 
they rook care to waylay in distant and 
solitary passes of their road. These repeated 
and darincr outrages had awakened the at- 
tcntion of government, and the com- 
manders of the various posts had received 
instructions to be on the alert, and to take 
up all suspicious stragglers. Governor 
Manco was particularly zealous, in conse- 
quence of the various stigmas that had been 
cast upon his fortress, and he now doubted 
not that he had entrapped some formidable 
desperado of this gang. 

In the mean time the story took wind, 
and became the talk not merely of the 
fortress, but of the whole city of Granada. 
It was said that the noted robber, Manuel 
Borasco, the terror of the Alpuxarras, had 
fallen into the clutches of old Governor 
Manco, and been cooped up by him in a 
dungeon of the Vermilion towers, and 
every one who had been robbed by him 
flocked to recognize the marauder. The 
Vermilion towers, as is well known, stand 
apart from the Alhambra, on a sister hill 
separated from the main fortress by the 
ravine, down which passes the main ave- 
nue. There were no outer walls, but a senti- 
nel patrolled before the tower. The window 
of the chamber in which the soldier was 
confined was strongly grated, and looked 
upon a small esplanade. Here the good 
folks of Granada repaired to gaze at him, 
as they would at a laughing hyena grin- 
ning through the cage of a menagerie. No- 
body, however, recognized him for Manuel 
Borasco, for that terrible robber was noted 
for a ferocious physiognomy, and had by 
no means the good-humored squint of the 
prisoner. Visitors came not merely from 



the city, but from all parts of the country, 
but nobody knew him, and there began 
to be doubts in the minds of the common 
people, whether there might not be some 
truth in his story. That Boabdil and his 
army were shut up in the mountain, was 
an old tradition which many of the ancient 
inhabitants had heard from their fathers. 
Numbers went up to the mountain of the 
Sun, or rather of St. Elena, in search of 
the cave mentioned by the soldier; and saw 
and peeped into the deep dark pit, descend- 
ing, no one knows how far, into the moun- 
tain, and which remains there to this day, 
the fabled entrance to the subterranean 
abode of Boabdil. 

By degrees, the soldier became popular 
with the common people. A freebooter of 
the mountains is by no means the oppro- 
brious character in Spain that a robber is 
in any other country; on the contrary, he 
is a kind of chivalrous personage in the 
eyes of the lower classes. There is always a 
disposition, also, to cavil at the conduct of 
those in command, and many began to 
murmur at the high-handed measures of 
old Governor Manco, and to look upon the 
prisoner in the light of a martyr. 

The soldier, moreover, was a merry, 
waggish fellow, that had a joke for every 
one who came near his window, and a soft 
speech for every female. He had procured 
an old guitar also, and would sit by his 
window and sing ballads and love-ditties 
to the delight of the women of the neigh- 
bourhood, who would assemble on the es- 
planade in the evenings, and dance boleros 
to his music. Having trimmed off his rough 
beard, his sunburnt face found favour in 
the eyes of the fair, and the demure hand- 
maid of the governor declared that his 
squint was perfectly irresistible. This kind- 
hearted damsel had, from the first, evinced 



The Al ham bra 



27 



a deep sympathy in his fortunes, and hav- 
ing in vain tried to mollify the governor, 
had set to work privately to mitigate the 
rigour of his dispensations. Every day she 
brought the prisoner some crumbs of com- 
fort w^hich had fallen from the governor's 
table, or been abstracted from his larder, 
together v^ith, now and then, a consoling 
bottle of choice Val de Penas, or rich 
Malaga. 

While this petty treason was going on 
in the very centre of the old governor's 
citadel, a storm of open war was brewing 
up among his external foes. The circum- 
stance of a bag of gold and jewels having 
been found upon the person of the sup- 
posed robber, had been reported with 
many exaggerations in Granada. A question 
of territorial jurisdiction was immediately 
started by the governor's inveterate rival, 
the captain-general. He insisted that the 
prisoner had been captured v/ithout the 
precincts of the Alhambra, and within the 
rules- of his authority. He demanded his 
body, therefore, and the spolia opima taken 
with him. Due information having been 
carried likewise by the friar to the grand 
Inquisitor, of the crosses, and the rosaries, 
and other reliques contained in the bag, he 
claimed the culprit, as having been guilty 
of sacrilege, and insisted that his plunder 
was due to the church, and his body to the 
next Auto da Fe. The feuds ran high; the 
governor was furious, and swore, rather 
than surrender his captive, he would hang 
him up within the Alhambra, as a spy 
caught within the purlieus of the fortress. 

The captain-general direatened to send 
a body of soldiers to transfer the prisoner 
from the Vermilion towers to the city. The 
grand Inquisitor was equally bent upon 
despatching a number of the familiars of 



the holy office. Word was brought late at 
night to the governor, of these machina- 
tions. "Let them come," said he, "they'll 
find me beforehand with them. He must 
rise bright and early who would take in 
an old soldier." He accordingly issued or- 
ders to have the prisoner removed at day- 
break to the Donjon Keep within the walls 
of the Alhambra: "And d'ye hear, child," 
said he to his demure handmaid, "tap at my 
door, and wake me before cock-crowing, 
that I may see to the matter myself.'* 

The day dawned, the cock crowed, but 
nobody tapped at the door of the governor. 
The sun rose high above the mountain- 
tops, and glittered in at his casement ere 
the governor was awakened from his 
morning dreams by his veteran corporal, 
who stood before him with terror stamped 
upon his iron visage. 

"He's off! he's gone!" cried the corporal, 
gasping for breath. 

"Who's off? — who's gone?" 

"The soldier — the robber — the devil, for 
aught I know. His dungeon is empty, but 
the door locked. No one knows how he 
has escaped out of it." 

"Who saw him last?" 

"Your handmaid, — she brought him his 
supper." 

"Let her be called instantly." 

Here was new matter of confusion. The 
chamber of the demure damsel w^as like- 
wise empty; her bed had not been slept in; 
she had doubtless gone off with the culprit, 
as she had appeared, for some days past, 
to have frequent conversations with him. 

This was wounding the old governor in 
a tender part, but he had scarce time to 
wince at it, when new misfortunes broke 
upon his view. On going into his cabinet, 
he found his strong box open, the leathern 



28 



Washington Irving 



purse of the trooper extracted, and with it 
a couple of corpulent bags of doubloons. 
But how, and which way had the fugi- 
tives escaped? A peasant who lived in a 
cottage by the road-side leading up into 
the Sierra, declared that he had heard the 
tramp of a powerful steed, just before day- 
break, passing up into the mountains. He 
had looked out at his casement, and could 



just distinguish a horseman, with a female 
seated before him. 

"Search the stables," cried Governor 
Manco. The stables were searched; all the 
horses were in their stalls, excepting the 
Arabian steed. In his place was a stout 
cudgel tied to the manger, and on it a 
label bearing these words, "A gift to Gov- 
ernor Manco, from an old soldier." 



RUDOLPH ERICK RASPE (1737-1794) 
(Edited by William Rose) 

Baron Munchausen Acquires a Horse 

frmt THE TRAVELS 
OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN 



Baron Munchausen and his horse may have been superseded in late 
years by Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, but he will never die in the hearts 
of those of us to whom he was a familiar character in our days of growing 
up. Notice how the good Baron first performs feats, incredible to one who 
knows horses, but perhaps possible to the tyro, then goes on, when he 
has gotten his reader's confidence and interest, to the completely ludicrous. 



I was at Count Przobossky's noble 
country-seat in Lithuania, and re- 
mained with the ladies at tea in the 
drawing-room, while the gentlemen were 
down in the yard, to see a young horse of 
blood which had just arrived from the stud. 
We suddenly heard a noise of distress; I 
hastened down-stairs, and found the horse 
so unruly, that nobody durst approach or 
mount him. The most resolute horsemen 
stood dismayed and aghast; despondency 
was expressed in every countenance, when, 
in one leap, I was on his back, took him by 
surprise, and worked him quite into gentle- 
ness and obedience, with the best display 
of horsemanship I was master of. Fully to 
show this to the ladies, and save them un- 
necessary trouble, I forced him to leap in 
at one of the open windows of the tea- 
room, walked round several times, pace. 



trot and gallop, and at last made him 
mount the tea-table, there to repeat his les- 
sons, in a pretty style of miniature — which 
was exceedingly pleasing to the ladies, for 
he performed them amazingly well, and 
did not break either cup or saucer. It 
placed me so high in their opinion, and so 
well in that of the noble lord, that, with 
his usual politeness, he begged I would 
accept of this young horse, and ride him 
full career to conquest and honor in the 
campaign against the Turks, which was 
soon to be opened, under tlie command of 
Count Munich. 

I could not indeed have received a more 
agreeable present, nor a more ominous 
one at the opening of that campaign, in 
which I made my apprenticeship as a sol- 
dier. A horse so gende, so spirited, and so 
fierce — at once a lamb and a Bucephalus — 



29 



^0 Rudolph 

put me always in mind of the soldier's 
and the gentleman's duty! of young Alex- 
ander, and of the astonishing things he 
performed in the field. 

We took the field, among several other 
reasons, it seems, with an intention to re- 
trieve the character of the Russian arms, 
which had been blemished a little by Czar 
Peter's last campaign on the Pruth; and 
this we fully accomplished by several very 
fatiguing and glorious campaigns under 
the command of that great general I men- 
tioned before. 

Modesty forbids individuals to arrogate 
to themselves great successes or victories, 
the glory of which is generally engrossed by 
the commander, nay, which is rather awk- 
ward, by kings and queens who never 
smelt gunpowder but at the field-days and 
reviews of their troops; never saw a field of 
battle, or an enemy in battle array. 

Nor do I claim any particular share of 
glory in the great engagements with the 
enemy. — We all did our duty, which, in the 
patriot's, soldier's, and gentleman's lan- 
guage, is a very comprehensive word, of 
great honor, meaning, and import, and of 
which the generality of idle quidnuncs and 
coffee-house politicians can hardly form 
any but a very mean and contemptible idea. 
However, having had the command of a 
body of hussars, I went upon several expedi- 
tions, with discretionary powers; and the 
success I then met with is, I think, fairly and 
only to be placed to my account, and to that 
of the brave fellows whom I led on to con- 
quest and to victory. We had very hot work 
once in the van of the army, when we 
drove the Turks into Oczakow. My spirited 
Lithuanian had almost brought me into a 
scrape: I had an advanced fore-post, and 
saw the enemy coming against me in a 
cloud of dust, which left me rather uncer- 



Eric}{ Raspe 

tain about their actual numbers and real 
intentions; to wrap myself up in a similar 
cloud was common prudence, but would 
not have much advanced my knowledge, or 
answered the end for which I had been 
sent out; therefore I let my flankers on 
both wings spread to the right and left, 
and make what dust they could, and I my- 
self led on straight upon the enemy, to 
have a nearer sight of them; in this I was 
gratified, for they stood and fought, till, for 
fear of my flankers, they began to move 
off rather disorderly. This was the moment 
to fall upon them with spirit; — ^we broke 
them entirely — made a terrible havoc 
amongst them and drove them not only 
back to a walled town in their rear, but 
even through it, contrary to our most san- 
guine expectation. 

The swiftness of my Lithuanian enabled 
me to be foremost in the pursuit; and see- 
ing the enemy fairly flying through the op- 
posite gate, I thought it would be prudent 
to stop in the market-place, to order the men 
to rendezvous. I stopped, gentlemen; but 
judge of my astonishment when in this 
market-place I saw not one of my hussars 
about me! Are they scouring the other 
streets.? or what is become of them? They 
could not be far off, and must, at all events, 
soon join me. In that expectation I walked 
my panting Lithuanian to a spring in this 
market-place, and let him drink. He drank 
uncommonly, with an eagerness not to be 
satisfied, but natural enough, for when I 
looked round for my men, what should I 
see, gentlemen — the hind part of the poor 
creature, croup and legs, were missing, as 
if he had been cut in two, and the water 
ran out as it came in, without refreshing 
or doing him any good! How it could 
have happened was quite a mystery to me, 
till I returned with him to the town-gate. 



The Travels of 

There I saw, that when 1 rushed in pell- 
mell with the flying enemy, they had 
dropped the portcullis (a heavy falling 
door, with sharp spikes at the bottom, let 
down suddenly to prevent the entrance of 
an enemy into a fortified town) unper- 
ceived by me, which had totally cut off his 
hind part, that still lay quivering on the 
outside of the gate. It would have been an 
irreparable loss, had not our farrier con- 



Baron Munchausen 



31 



trivcd to bring both parts together while 
hot. He sewed them up with sprigs and 
young shoots of laurels that were at hand. 
The wound healed; and, what could not 
have happened but to so glorious a horse, 
the sprigs took root in his body, grew up 
and formed a bower over mc; so that after- 
wards I could go upon many other expedi- 
tions in the shade of my own and my 
horses's laurels. 



LUIGI PIRANDELLO (1867-1936) 



Black Horses 



jrom BETTER THINK TWICE ABOUT IT 



The unusual subject of this story would be sufficient reason for including 
it ifi this anthology and its writing makes it doubly desirable, but it is not 
until the very last paragraph that one realizes the theme of the story. 




^ o sooner had the head-groom 
left, cursing even louder than 
usual, than Fofo turned to the 
new arrival — his stable companion, Nero — 
and remarked with a sigh: — 

"I've got the hang of it! Velvets, tassels 
and plumes. You're starting well, old fel- 
low. Today's a first-class job." 

Nero turned his head away. Being a 
well-bred horse, he did not snort, but he 
had no wish to become too intimate with 
that Fofo. 

He had come there from a princely 
stable — a stable where one saw one's reflec- 
tion in the polished walls, where the stalls 
were separated by leather-padded parti- 
tions, and each had a hay-rack made of 
beech-wood, rings of gun-metal, and posts 
with bright shining nobs on top of them. 

But alas! the young prince was mad on 
those noisy carriages, foul things which 
belch out smoke behind and run along of 
themselves. Three tim^s he had nearly 



broken his neck in one of them. The old 
princess — the dear lady — would never have 
anything to do with those devil-carriages; 
but, as soon as she was struck down by 
paralysis, the prince had hastened to dis- 
pose of both Nero and Corbino — the last 
remnants of the stable, hitherto retained to 
take the mother out for a quiet drive in her 
landau. 

Poor Corbino! Who could tell where he 
had gone to end his days, after long years 
of dignified service.? 

Giuseppe, the good old coachman, had 
promised them that when he went with 
the otlier faithful old retainers to kiss the 
hand of the princess — ^now restricted per- 
manently to her arm-chair — ^he would inter- 
cede for them. But it was of no avail: from 
the way the old man had stroked their 
necks and flanks, on his return soon after- 
wards, they both understood at once that 
all hope was lost, that their fate was 
settled — they were to be sold. 



32 



Better Thinl^^ 

And so it had come about and Nero did 
not yet grasp what kind of a place he had 
found. Bad? — no, one couldn't say that it 
was really bad. Of course, it was not like 
the princess' stable. Yet this stable also was 
a good one. It had more than a score of 
horses, all black and all rather old, but 
fine-looking animals, dignified and quite 
sedate — for that matter, rather too sedate. 

Nero doubted whether his companions 
had any clear idea as to the work on which 
they were engaged. They seemed to be con- 
stantly pondering over it without ever be- 
ing able to come to any conclusion: the 
slow swish of their bushy tails, with an oc- 
casional scraping of hoofs showed clearly 
that they were engaged in thinking deeply 
over something. 

Fofo was the only one who was certain 
— a good deal too certain — that he knew all 
about it. 

A common, presumptuous animal! 

Once a regimental charger, cast out 
after three years' service, because — accord- 
ing to his own story — a brute of a cavalry- 
man from the Abruzzi had broken his 
wind, he spent his whole time talking and 
gossiping. Nero, who was still very sad at 
the parting from his old friend Corbino, 
could not stand his new acquaintance, 
whose confidential manner and habit of 
making nasty remarks about his stable 
companions jarred upon him horribly. 

Heavens! what a tongue he had! Not 
one of the twenty escaped from it — there 
was always some fault to find. 

"Look at his tail, do look! Fancy calling 
that a tail! And what a way to swish it! 
He thinks that's very dashing, you know. 
I don't mind betting he's been a doctor's 
horse. 

"And just look over there at that Cala- 
brian nag. D'you see how gracefully he 



Twice About It 



a 



pricks up his pig's ears . . . Ifxjk at his fine 
mane and his chin! He's a showy beast, 
too, don't you think? 

"Every now and then he forgets that he's 
a gelding and wants to make love to that 
mare over there, three stalls to the right — 
d'you see her? — the one whose face looks 
so old, who's low in the fore-quarters and 
has her belly on the ground. 

"Is she a marc, that thing? She's a cow, 
I assure you. If you could only see how she 
moves — regular riding-school style! You'd 
think she was walking on hot cinders, the 
way she puts her Jioofs down. And a 
mouth as hard as iron, my dear fellow!" 

§ § § 

In vain did Nero intimate to Fofo in 
every possible manner that he did not wish 
to listen to him. Fofo overwhelmed him 
with incessant chatter. 

"D'you know where we are ? We're with 
a firm of carriers. There are many differ- 
ent sorts of carriers — ours are called under- 
takers. 

"Do you know what it means to be an 
undertaker's horse? It means that your job 
is to pull a strange-looking black carriage 
that has four pillars supporting the roof 
and is all decked out grand with gilding 
and a curtain and fringes — in fact a hand- 
some carriage de luxe. But it's sheer waste 
— you'd hardly believe it — sheer waste, 
'cause no one ever comes and sits inside it. 

"There's only the coachman on the box, 
looking as solemn as can be. 

"And we go slowly, always at a walk. 
No risk of your ever getting into a muck 
of sweat and having to be rubbed down on 
your return, nor of the coachman giving 
you a cut of the whip or anytliing else to 
hurry you up. 

"But slowly . . . slowly . . . slowdy . . . 



34 



Ltiigi Pirandello 



"And the place we go to — our destina- 
tion — we always seem to be there in time. 

*'You know the carriage I described to 
you. Well, Fve noticed, by the way, that 
human beings seem to look upon it as an 
object of peculiar reverence. 

*'As I told you before, no one ever dares 
to sit inside it, and, as soon as people see 
it stop in front of a house, they all stand 
still and stare at it with long faces, looking 
quite frightened; and they all surround it, 
holding lighted candles, and, as soon as it 
starts again, they follow after it, walking 
very quietly. 

"Quite often, too, there's a band playing 
in front of us — a band, my dear fellow, 
which plays a particular kind of music 
tliat makes you feel all funny in your 
bowels. 

"Now you mark my words! YouVe got 
a nasty habit of shaking your head and 
snorting. Well, you'll have to drop those 
tricks. If you snort for nothing at all, what 
d'you think you'll be doing when you have 
to listen to that music? 

"Ours is a soft enough job, I don't deny; 
but it does call for composure and sol- 
emnity. No snorting or jerking your head 
up and down ! The very most we're allowed 
is to swish our tails, quite, quite gently, 
because the carriage we pull — I tell you 
once again — is highly venerated. You'll 
notice that all the men take off their hats 
when they see us pass. 

"D'you know how I discovered that 
we're working for a firm of carriers } It was 
this way: — 

"About two years ago, I was standing 
harnessed to one of our canopied carriages, 
in front of the big gateway leading to the 
building which is our regular goal. 

"You'll see it, that big gateway. Behind 
the railings are any number of dark trees 



growing up to a sharp point: they're 
planted in two rows, forming a long 
straight avenue. Here and there, between 
them, there are some fine, green meadows 
full of good, luscious grass; but that's all 
sheer waste, too, for one's not allowed to 
eat it. Woe betide you if you put your lips 
to it. 

"Well — as I was saying — I was standing 
there, when an old pal of mine from the 
regimental days came up to me. The poor 
fellow had come down in the world ter- 
ribly and was reduced to drawing a 
waggon — one of those long, low ones, 
without any springs. 

"He said to me: — 

"'Hallo, Fofo! D'you see the state Fm 
in? I'm quite done for!' 

"'What work are you on?' I asked. 

"'Transporting boxes!' he replied. — 'AH 
day long, from a carrier's office to the cus- 
tom house.' 

"'Boxes?' I said. 'What kind of boxes?' 

"'Heavy!' he answered. 'Frightfully 
heavy! — ^full of merchandise to be for- 
warded.' 

"Then the light dawned on me, for I 
may as well tell you that we also transport 
a kind of very long box. They put it inside 
our carriage from the back, as gently as 
can be; while that's being done, with tre- 
mendous care, the people standing round 
all take off their hats and watch, with a 
sort of frightened look. Why they do that 
I really can't say, but it's obvious that, as 
our business also is to take boxes, we must 
be working for a carrier, don't you think 
so? 

"What the devil can be in those boxes? 
They're heavy — you can't think how heavy 
they are. Luckily we only convey one at a 
time. 

"We're carriers employed for the trans- 



Better Thinly 

port of goods, that's certain; but what 
goods I don't know. They seem to be very 
valuable, because the transport's always 
carried out with much pomp and accom- 
panied by a number of persons. 

"At a certain point we usually, but not 
always, stop in front of a splendid edifice, 
which may perhaps be the custom house 
for our line of transport. This building has 
a great door-way. Out of this door-way 
there come men dressed in black gowns, 
with shirts worn outside them — I suppose 
they're the customs officials. The box is re- 
moved from the carriage, all heads being 
bared again; then those men mark on the 
box the permit to proceed with it. 

"Where all these valuable goods that we 
transport go to, I really don't now. I must 
admit that's something I don't understand. 
But I'm not at all sure that the human 
beings know much about that — so I con- 
sole myself with that thought. 

"Indeed the magnificence of the boxes 
and the solemnity of the ceremony might 
lead one to suppose that men must know 
something about this transport business of 
theirs. But I notice that they're often filled 
with doubt and fear; and from the long 
dealings I've had with them for many 
years, I have come to this conclusion — that 
human beings do many things, my dear 
chap, without having any idea at all why 
they are doing them!" 

§ § § 

That morning, as Fofo had already 
guessed from the head-groom's curses, the 
preparations included velvets, tassels, and 
plumes, and four horses to the carriage — 
evidently a first-class affair. 
"You see! What did I tell you.?" 
Nero found himself harnessed to the 
shaft, with Fofo as his partner. To his an- 



Twice About It 35 

noyance there was no escape from his com- 
panion's ceaseless explanations. 

Fofo was also annoyed that morning, on 
account of the unfairness of the head- 
groom, who, when arranging a four-in- 
hand, always took him as a wheeler, never 
as one of the leaders. 

"The dirty dog! You can see for yourself 
that pair in front of us is only for show. 
What are they pulling? Nothing at all! 
We go so slowly that all the pull falls upon 
us wheelers. The other pair are merely out 
for a pleasant walk, to stretch their legs, 

dressed up to the nines And just look 

at the kind of animals that are given the 
preference over me, and I've got to put up 
with it! D'you recognise them?" 

They were the two black horses whom 
Fofo had described as the doctor's horse 
and the Calabrian nag. 

"That foul Calabrian beast! I'm glad 
he's in front of you, not of me. You'll get 
a whifT from him, my dear fellow! You'll 
soon find that it isn't only in the ears that 
he's like a pig. Won't you just be grateful 
to the head-groom for making a pet of 
him and giving him double rations! ... If 
you want to get on in this line of work, 
don't start snorting Hallo ! You're be- 
ginning it already. Keep your head still. 
Look here, old chap, if you go on like that, 
you'll find the reins jerked so hard that 
your mouth will bleed, I assure you. Be- 
cause to-day we're going to have speeches, 

you know You'll see what a cheery 

show it's going to be — one speech, two 

speeches — three speeches I've even had 

one first-class affair which had five 
speeches! It was enough to drive one mad 
— having to stand still for three hours on 
end, decked out with all this finery so that 
one could hardly breathe — one's legs 
shackled, tail imprisoned and ears in tsvo 



36 



Luigi Pirandello 



sheaths A jolly time, with the flies bit- 

iitg one under the tail! You want to know 
what speeches are? Oh, just rot! To tell 
you the truth I haven't got the hang of it, 

not altoc^ether These first-class shows 

must be cases where there's a lot of com- 
plication about the transport. Perhaps they 
have to make those speeches to give the 
necessary explanations. One isn't enough, 
so they make a second one. Two aren't 
enough, so they make a third. They may 
even run to iive, as I told you before. 
There have been times when I've gone so 
far as to start kicking to right and left and 
finished by rolling on the ground like a 

lunatic Perhaps it'll be the same to-day. 

...It's a swagger affair, I tell you! Have 
you seen the coachman — doesn't he look 
grand? There come the servants and the 
candle-sticks I say, are you apt to shy T' 

"I don't understand." 

"Don't you? I mean do you take fright 
easily? Because, you see, in a short time 
they'll be shoving their lighted candles al- 
most under your nose Steady ! oh, 

steady ! What's come over you ? There, you 

see, you've had a jerk at your mouth 

Did it hurt ? Well, you'll get many more like 
it to-day, I warn you, if . . . What are you 
up to? What's the matter? Have you gone 
mad? Don't stretch your neck out like 
that! (What a funny old chap he is! — does 
he fancy he's swimming? Or is he starting 
a game of mora?) Stand still, I say!... 
There! You've had some more jerks with 

the reins Here, stop it! You're making 

him hurt my mouth too. . . . (Oh, he's 
mad! . . . Good God! He's gone clean crazy! 
He's panting and neighing and snorting 
and plunging and kicking up a row! My 
God! what a row! He's mad, quite mad! 
Fancy doing a kick-up when one's drawing 
a carriage in a first-class show!)"- 



Nero did indeed appear to have gone 
quite mad; he panted and quivered and 
pawed the ground, neighing and squealing. 
The lackeys sprang hastily down from their 
carriage to hold him — they had just reached 
the door of the palace where they were 
due to halt, where they were received by a 
large company of gentlemen, all very trim, 
in frock-coats and silk hats. 

"What's happened?" everyone was ask- 
ing. "Oh, look! look! One of the horses 
is playing up!" 

They rushed up, surrounding the hearse 
in a jostling crowd and watching the pro- 
ceedings with interest and surprise, some of 
them shocked and frightened. The serv- 
ants were unable to control Nero. The 
coachman stood up and tugged furiously 
at the reins, but all in vain. The horse con- 
tinued to paw the ground, neighing and 
trembling violently, with his head turned 
towards the door-way of the palace. 

He only quieted down when an aged 
servant in livery emerged from that door- 
way, pushed the lackeys on one side and 
caught hold of the reins. Recognising the 
animal at once, he cried out with tears in 
his eyes: — 

"Why, it's Nero! it's Nero! Poor old 
Nero ! Of course he is excited ... he was 
our dear mistress' horse! The horse of the 
poor princess! He recognises the palace, 
you know ... he smells his stable. Poor 
Nero ! . . . come, be good. Yes, you can see, 

it's me, your old Giuseppe Now stand 

still ! . . . that's better Poor old Nero, 

you have the task of taking her away — 
d'you see? — your old mistress, whom you 
still remember . . . it's your duty to convey 
her. She'll be glad it's you who are to take 
her for her last drive." 

Furious at the discredit brought upon 
the undertaker's firm — with all those 



Better Thinly 

gentlefolk present, too — the driver was still 
pulling savagely at the reins and threaten- 
ing to flog the horse, but Giuseppe called 
out to him:— 

"That'll do! That'll do! Stop it! Ill look 
after him . . . he's as quiet as a lamb. . . . 

Sit down. I'll lead him the whole way 

We'll go together — eh, Nero? — taking our 
kind mistress, very quietly, as we always 
did, eh? You'll be good, so's not to hurt 
her, won't you?. ..Poor old Nero! You 
still remember her, don't you? They've 
shut her up in the big box and now they're 
just carrying her down " 

At this point Fofo, who had been listen- 
ing from the other side of the shaft, was so 
astonished that he broke in with the in- 
quiry: — 



Twice About It 37 

**Inside the box! — your mistress?** 

Nero launched a kick sideways at him. 
But Fofo was too excited by his new dis- 
covery to resent the attack : — 

"Oh! I see! Now I see! so we..." he 
went on to himself, "so we ... I mean to 
say . . . Yes, of course, I've got it now!... 
That old man's weeping I've often be- 
fore seen lots of others weep on similar 
occasions ... so often seen long faces, sad 
faces . . . and heard sad music . . . just like 

now Yes, now I know all about it 

That's why our job's such a soft one! 
It's only when men must weep, that we 
horses can be happy and have a restful 
time. . . . 

He felt strongly tempted to do some 
kicking and prancing on his own account. 



AESOP (6th Century B. C.) 



The Horse and His Rider 



As there is nothing li\e Aesop's Fables to be found anywhere in literature, 
so an anthology of this sort would be incomplete without a quotation 
from the Greeks slave's boo\ of etiquette. 



A' 



horse soldier took the utmost 
care of his charger. As long as the 
war lasted, he looked upon him 
as his fellow-helper in all emergencies, and 
fed him carefully with hay and corn. When 
the war was over, he only allowed him 
chaff to eat, and made him carry heavy 
loads of wood, and subjected him to much 
slavish drudgery and ill treatment. War, 
however, being again proclaimed, and the 
trumpet summoning him to his standard, 
the Soldier put on his charger its military 



trappings, and mounted, being clad in his 
heavy coat of mail. The Horse fell down 
straightway under the weight, no longer 
equal to the burden, and said to his master, 
'Tou must now e'en go to war on foot, for 
you have transformed me from a Horse 
into an Ass; and how can you expect that 
I can again turn in a moment from an 
Ass to a Horse .f^ 

§ § § 

Damage is slow to mend. 



38 



WALTER dc la MARE (1873- ) 



Supp 



ose 



De la Mares ability to portray for the reader the wishful dreams of a 
child gives us this charming little poem. 



Suppose . . . and suppose that a wild little Horse of Magic 

Came cantering out of the sky, 
With bridle of silver and into the saddle I mounted 

To fly — and to fly. 

And we stretched up into the air, fleeting on in the sunshine, 

A speck in the gleam 
On galloping hoofs, his mane in the wind out-flowing, 

As if in a dream. 

Suppose and suppose, when the gentle star of evening 

Came crinkling into the blue, 
A magical castle we saw in the air, like a cloud of moonlight 

As onward we flew. 

And across the green moat on the drawbridge we foamed and we snorted, 

And there was a beautiful queen 
Who smiled at me strangely; and spoke to my wild little Horse, too — 

A lovely and beautiful Queen. 

Suppose and suppose she cried to her delicate maidens, 

"Behold my daughter — my dear!" 
And they crowned me with flowers, and then on their harps sate playing, 

Solemn and clear. 

And magical cakes and goblets were spread on the table; 

And at the window the birds came in; 
Hopping along with bright eyes, pecking the crumbs from the platters, 

And sipped of the wine. 



39 



Walter dc la Mare 

And splashing up — up on the roof, tossed fountains of crystal; 

And Princes in scarlet and green 
Shot with their bows and arrows, and kneeled with their dishes 

Of fruits for the Queen. 

And we walked in a magical garden with rivers and bowers, 
And my bed was of ivory and gold; * 

And the Queen breathed soft in my ear a song of enchantment. 
And I never grew old. 

And I never came back to the earth, oh never and never, 

How mother would cry and cry. 
There'd be snow on the fields then, and all these sweet flowers in winter 

Would wither and die. . . . 
Suppose . . . and suppose. . . , 



40 



LORD DUNSANY (1878- ) 



The Bride of the Man-Horse 



frmn THE BOOK OF WONDER 



The centaur, though not strictly a horse, is surely the result of man's 
desire to be one with his mount. As such, and because of its prominence 
in fable and legend, this anthology would not be complete without one 
story of the miraculous Man-Horse. Lord Dunsany's love of the fa?2tastic, 
and his wonderfully beautiful descriptions, ma\e this tale unforgettable. 



o 



n the morning of his two hun- 
dred and fiftieth year Shepperalk 
the centaur went to the golden 
coffer, wherein the treasure of the centaurs 
was, and taking from it the hoarded amulet 
that his father, Jyshak, in the years of his 
prime, had hammered from mountain gold 
and set with opals bartered from the 
gnomes, he put it upon his wrist, and said 
no word, but walked from his mother's 
cavern. 

And he took with him too that clarion 
of the centaurs, that famous silver horn, 
that in its time had summoned to surrender 
seventeen cities of Man, and for twenty 
years had brayed at star-girt walls in the 
Siege of Tholdenblarna, the citadel of the 
gods, what time the centaurs waged their 
fabulous war and were not broken by any 
force of arms, but retreated slowly in a 
cloud of dust before the final miracle of 



the gods that They brought in Their des- 
perate need from Their ultimate armoury. 
He took it and strode away, and his mother 
only sighed and let him go. 

She knew that to-day he would not drink 
at the stream coming down from the ter- 
races of Varpa Niger, the inner land of the 
mountains, that today he would not wonder 
awhile at the sunset and afterwards trot 
back to the cavern again to sleep on rushes 
pulled by rivers that know not Man. She 
knew that it was with him as it had been 
of old with his father, and with Goom 
die father of Jyshak, and long ago with the 
gods. Therefore she only sighed and let 
him go. 

But he, coming out from tlie cavern that 
was his home, went for the first time over 
the little stream, and going round the cor- 
ner of the crags saw glittering beneath him 
the mundane plain. And the wind of the 



41 



4^ 



Lord 



autumn that was gilding the world, rush- 
ing up the slopes of the mountain, beat 
cold on his naked flanks. He raised his 
head and snorted. 

"I am a man-horse now!" he shouted 
aloud; and leaping from crag to crag he 
galloped by valley and chasm, by torrent- 
bed and scar of avalanche, until he came 
to the wandering leagues of the plain, and 
left behind him for ever the Athraminau- 
rian mountains. 

His goal was Zretazoola, the city of Som- 
belene. What legend of Sombelene's inhu- 
man beauty or of the wonder of her mystery 
had ever floated over the mundane plain 
to the fabulous cradle of the centaur's race, 
the Athraminaurian mountains, I do not 
know. Yet in the blood of man there is 
a tide, an old sea-current, rather, that is 
somehow akin to the twilight, which brings 
him rumours of beauty from however far 
away, as driftwood is found at sea from 
islands not yet discovered: and this spring- 
tide or current that visits the blood of man 
comes from the fabulous quarter of his 
lineage, from the legendary, the old; it 
takes him out to the woodlands, out to the 
hills; he listens to ancient song. So it may 
be that Shepperalk's fabulous blood stirred 
in those lonely mountains away at the edge 
of the world to rumors that only the airy 
twilight knew and only confided secretly 
to the bat, for Shepperalk was more legend- 
ary even than man. Certain it was that he 
headed from the first for the city of Zreta- 
zoola, where Sombelene in her temple 
dwelt; though all the mundane plain, its 
rivers and mountains, lay between Shep- 
peralk's home and the city he sought. 

When first the feet of the centaur touched 
the grass of that soft alluvial earth he blew 
for joy upon the silver horn, he pranced 
and caracoled, he gambolled over the 



Dunsany 

leagues; pace came to him like a maiden 
with a lamp, a new and beautiful wonder; 
the wind laughed as it passed him. He put 
his head down low to the scent of the 
flowers, he lifted it up to be nearer the 
unseen stars, he revelled through kingdoms, 
took rivers in his stride ; how can I tell you, 
ye that dwell in cities, how shall I tell you 
what he felt as he galloped? He felt for 
strength like the towers of Bel-Narana; for 
lightness like those gossamer palaces that 
the fairy-spider builds 'twixt heaven and sea 
along the coasts of Zith; for swiftness like 
some bird racing up from the morning to 
sing in some city's spires before daylight 
comes. He was the sworn companion of 
the wind. For joy he was as a song; the 
lightnings of his legendary sires, the earlier 
gods, began to mix with his blood; his 
hooves thundered. He came to the cities of 
men, and all men trembled, for they re- 
membered the ancient mythical wars, and 
now they dreaded new battles and feared 
for the race of man. Not by Clio are these 
wars recorded, history does not know them, 
but what of that f Not all of us have sat at 
historians' feet, but all have learned fable 
and myth at their mothers' knees. And 
there were none that did not fear strange 
wars when they saw Shepperalk swerve 
and leap along the public ways. So he passed 
from city to city. 

By night he lay down unpanting in the 
reeds of some marsh or a forest; before 
dawn he rose triumphant, and hugely 
drank of some river in the dark, and splash- 
ing out of it would trot to some high place 
to find the sunrise, and to send echoing 
eastwards the exultant greetings of his jubi- 
lant horn. And lo! the sunrise coming up 
from the echoes, and the plains new-lit by 
the day, and the leagues spinning by like 
water flung from a top, and that gay com- 



The Boo^ 

panion, the loudly laughing wind, and men 
and the fears of men and their little cities; 
and, after that, great rivers and waste spaces 
and huge new hills, and then new lands 
beyond them, and more cities of men, and 
always the old companion the glorious 
wind. Kingdom by kingdom slipt by, and 
still his breath was even. "It is a golden 
thing to gallop on good turf in one's youth," 
said the young man-horse, the centaur. "Ha, 
ha," said the wind of the hills, and the 
winds of the plain answered. 

Bells pealed in frantic towers, wise men 
consulted parchments, astrologers sought 
of the portent from the stars, the aged made 
subtle prophecies. "Is he not swift?" said 
the young. "How glad he is," said children. 

Night after night brought him sleep, 
and day after day lit his gallop, till he 
came to the lands of the Athalonian men 
who live by the edges of the mundane 
plain, and from them he came to the lands 
of legend again such as those in which he 
was cradled on the other side of the world, 
and which fringe the marge of the world 
and mix with the twilight. And there a 
mighty thought came into his untired heart, 
for he knew that he neared Zretazoola now, 
the city of Sombelene. 

It was late in the day when he neared 
it, and clouds coloured with evening rolled 
low on the plain before him; he galloped 
on into their golden mist, and when it hid 
from his eyes the sight of things, the dreams 
in his heart awoke and romantically he 
pondered all those rumours that used to 
come to him from Sombelene, because of 
the fellowship of fabulous things. She dwelt 
(said evening secretly to the bat) in a little 
temple by a lone lake-shore. A grove of 
cypresses screened her from the city, from 
Zretazoola of the climbing ways. And oppo- 
site her temple stood her tomb, her sad 



of Wonder ^-^ 

lake-sepulchre with open do^jr, lest her 
amazing beauty and the centuries of her 
youth should ever give rise to the heresy 
among men that lovely Sombelene was im- 
mortal: for only her beauty and her lineage 
were divine. 

Her father had been half centaur and 
half god; her mother was the child of a 
desert lion and that sphinx that watches 
the pyramids; — she was more mystical than 
Woman. 

Her beauty was as a dream, was as a 
song; the one dream of a lifetime dreamed 
on enchanted dews, the one song sung to 
some city by a deathless bird blown far 
from his native coasts by storm in Para- 
dise. Dawn after dawn on mountains of 
romance or twilight after twilight could 
never equal her beauty; all the glow-worms 
had not the secret among them nor all the 
stars of night; poets had never sung it nor 
even guessed its meaning; the morning 
envied it, it was hidden from lovers. 

She was unwed, un wooed. 

The lions came not to woo her because 
they feared her strength, and the gods dared 
not love her because they knew she must 
die. 

This was what evening had whispered 
to the bat, this was the dream in the heart 
of Shepperalk as he cantered blind through 
the mist. And suddenly there at his hooves 
in the dark of the plain appeared the cleft 
in the legendary lands, and Zretazoola shel- 
tering in the cleft, and sunning herself in 
the evening. 

Swiftly and craftily he bounded down by 
the upper end of the cleft, and entering 
Zretazoola by the outer gate which looks 
out sheer on the stars, he galloped sud- 
denly down the narrow streets. Many that 
rushed out on to the balconies as he went 
., clattering by, many that put their heads 



44 Lord 

from glittering windows, are told of in 
olden song. Shcpperalk did not tarry to give 
greetings or to answer challenges from 
martial towers, he was down through the 
earthward gateway like the thunderbolt of 
his sires, and, like Leviathan who has leapt 
at an eagle, he surged into the water be- 
tween temple and tomb. 

He galloped with half-shut eyes up the 
temple steps, and, only seeing dimly 
dirough his lashes, seized Sombelene by the 



Dtinsany 

hair, undazzled as yet by her beauty, and so 
haled her away; and leaping with her over 
the floorless chasm where the waters of the 
lake fall unremembered away into a hole in 
the world, took her we know not where, to 
be her slave for all those centuries that are 
allowed to his race. 

Three blasts he gave as he went upon 
that silver horn that is the world-old treas- 
ure of the centaurs. These were his wedding 
bells. 



WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) 



The Stallion of Adonis 



from VENUS AND ADONIS 



Venus and Adonis was the earliest of Sha\e spear e*s workj to be published, 
being first issued in quarto in 1^93- The following verses come very early 
in the poem and set the stage for the love-mahjng of the Goddess and her 
lover. Never has this description of the physical beauty and passion of a 
stallion, as expressed in his appearance and movements, been surpassed 
either in its loveliness or its accuracy. 



But, lo, from forth a copse that neighbours by, 
A breeding jennet, lusty, young and proud, 
Adonis' trampling courser doth espy, 
And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud : 

The strong-neck'd steed, being tied unto a 
tree, 

Breaketh his rein and to her straight goes he. 

Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds. 
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder; 
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he 

wounds, 
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven's 
thunder; 
The iron bit he crusheth 'tween his teeth, 
ControUing what he was controlled with. 

His ears up-prick'd; his braided hanging 
mane 

Upon his compass'd crest now stand on end; 

His nostrils drink the air, and forth again, 

As from a furnace, vapours doth he send: 
His eye which scornfully glisters like fire, 
Shows his hot courage and his high desire. 



Sometimes he trots, as if he told the steps, 
With gentle majesty and modest pride; 
Anon he rears upright, curvets and leaps, 
As who should say, "Lo, thus my strength is 
tried; 
And this I do to captivate the eye 
Of the fair breeder that is standing by." 

What recketh he his rider's angry stir, 

His flattering "Holla" or his "Stand, I say"? 

What cares he now for curb or pricking spur? 

For rich caparisons or trappings gay? 
He sees his love, and nothing else he sees, 
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees. 

Sometimes he scuds far off, and there he 

stares; 
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather; 
To bid the wind a base he now prepares, 
And whether he run or fly they know not 

whether; 
For through his mane and tail the high wind 

sings. 
Fanning the hairs, who wave Hke feather 'd 

wings. 



45 



Will jam Sha\espeare 

He looks upon his love and neighs unto her; Beating his kind embracement with her 

She answers him, as if she knew his mind: heels. 

Being proud, as females are, to see him woo Then, like a melancholy malcontent, 

her, He veils his tail, that, like a falling plume, 

She puts on outward strangeness, seems un- Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent: 

kind. He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume. 

Spurns at his love and scorns the heat he His love perceiving how he was enraged, 

feels, Grew kinder and his fury was assuaged. 



46 



I 




Hunting & Polo 



p 



"The 'orse and 'ound were made for each 
other, and natur threw in the fox as a con- 
necting hnk between the two." 

m — JORROCKS 



JOHN MASEFIELD (1875- ) 

the FIND from 



REYNARD THE FOX 



Every page of Masefield's magnificent poem, Reynard the Fox, contains 
passages which are quotable; the description of the members of the Field 
and their mounts as they collect, which precedes the one I have quoted, 
so vivid, yet so simple and sparing in its choice of words and metaphor 
that one wants to read and reread it; the beautiful descriptions of the 
English countryside; the transformation of the fox from a jaunty, cock-- 
sure fellow who enjoys the beginnings of the chase to a frantic, harried, 
desperate creature, seeding sanctuary behind every clump; all are quot- 
able, all are dramatic, all are impressive. After long consideration I chose 
the stanzas which follow because of the completeness of the picture they 
lay before us, "the hunt has been, and found, and gone." 



The hunt 
Followed down hill to race with him, 
White Rabbit with his swallow's skim, 
Drew within hail, "Quick burst, Sir Peter." 
"A traveller. Nothing could be neater. 
Making for Godsdown clumps, I take it?" 
"Lark's Ley bourne, sir, if he can make it. 
Forrard." 

Bill Ridden thundered down; 
His big mouth grinned beneath his frown, 
The hounds were going away from horses. 

He saw the glint of water-courses, 
Yell Brook and Wittold's Dyke ahead. 
His horse shoes sliced the green turf red. 
Young Cothill's chaser rushed and passt him. 
Nob Manor, running next, said "Blast him. 
That poet chap who thinks he rides." 
Hugh Colway's mare made straking strides 
Across the grass, the Colonel next: 
Then Squire volleying oaths and vext. 
Fighting his hunter for refusing: 



Bell Ridden like a cutter cruising 
SaiUng the grass, then Cob on Warder 
The Minton Price upon Marauder; 
Ock Gurney with his eyes intense, 
Burning as with a different sense, 
His big mouth muttering glad "by damns"; 
Then Pete crouched down from head to hams, 
Rapt like a saint, bright focussed flame. 
Bennett with devils in his wame 
Chewing black cud and spitting slanting; 
Copse scattering jests and Stukely ranting; 
Sal Ridden taking line from Dansey; 
Long Robert forcing Necromancy; 
A dozen more with bad beginnings; 
Myngs riding hard to snatch an innings, 
A wild last hound with high shrill yelps, 
Smacked forrard with some whip-thong 

skelps. 
Then last of all, at top of rise, 
The crowd on foot all gasps and eves 
The run up hill had winded them. 



49 



John Mase field 



TTiey saw the Yell Brook like a gem 

Blue in the grass a short mile on; 

They heard faint cries, but hounds were 

gone 
A good eight fields and out of sight 
Except a rippled glimmer white 
Going away with dying cheering, 
And scarlet flappings disappearing, 
And scattering horses going, going. 
Going like mad, White Rabbit snowing 
Far on ahead, a loose horse taking, 



Fence after fence with stirrups shaking. 
And scarlet specks and dark specks dwindling. 

Nearer, were twigs knocked into kindling, 
A much bashed fence still dropping stick, 
Flung clods, still quivering from the kick, 
Cut hoof-marks pale in cheesy clay. 
The horse-smell blowing clean away. 
Birds flitting back into the cover. 
One last faint cry, then all was over. 
The hunt had been, and found, and gone. 



50 



E. CE SOMERVILLE (1861- ) 
AND MARTIN ROSS (1862-1915) 



Philippa's Fox-Hunt 



from SOME EXPERIENCES 
OF AN miSH R.M. 



No fox-hunter or lover of Irish tales need he introduced to the stones of 
that magnificent team of writers, E. CE Somerville and Martin Ross, for 
they are revered and loved by all such. And deservedly so; where will you 
find characters which are more vivid or alive, humor tvhich is more J{een 
and sharp and yet good-tempered and sympathetic, and situations which 
bring to mind images which are more excrutiatingly funny? It is hard 
indeed to choose from the several volumes which Somerville and Ross 
have given us, but, if a vote were ta\en, probably the story which follows 
would receive as many plaudits as any, 

"It isn't the 'unting as 'urts the horse's 'oofs, 
It's the 'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer on the 'ard 
'igh road!" 

— OLD ENGLISH ADAGE. 




^ o one can accuse Philippa and 
me of having married in haste. 
As a matter of fact, it was but 
Httle under five years from that autumn 
evening on the river v^hen I had said w^hat 
is called in Ireland "the hard w^ord," to the 
day in August v^hen I v^as led to the altar 
by my best man, and v^as subsequently led 
away from it by Mrs. Sinclair Yeates. About 
two years out of the five had been spent 
by me at Shreelane in ceaseless warfare 
with drains, eaveshoots, chimneys, pumps; 
all those fundamentals, in short, that the 



ingenuous and improving tenant expects 
to find established as a basis from which to 
rise to higher things. As far as rising to 
higher things went, frequent ascents to the 
roof to search for leaks summed up my 
achievements; in fact, I suffered so general 
a shrinkage of my ideals that the triumph 
of making the hall-door bell ring blinded 
me to the fact that the rat-holes in the hall 
floor were nailed up with pieces of tin bis- 
cuit boxes, and that the casual visitor could, 
instead of leaving a card, have easily writ- 
ten his name in the damp on the walls. 



51 



E. (E Someri/ille and Martin Ross 



Philippa, however, proved adorably cal- 
lous to these and similar shortcomings. She 
regarded Shreelane and its floundering, 
foundering menage of incapables in the 
light of a gigantic picnic in a foreign land; 
she held long conversations daily with Mrs. 
Cadogan, in order, as she informed me, 
to acquire the language; without any ul- 
terior domestic intention she engaged 
kitchen-maids because of the beauty of their 
eyes, and housemaids because they had such 
delightfully picturesque old mothers, and 
she declined to correct the phraseology of 
the parlour-maid, whose painful habit it 
was to whisper "Do ye choose cherry or 
clarry?" when proffering the wine. Fast- 
days, perhaps, afforded my wife her first 
insight into the sterner realities of Irish 
housekeeping. Philippa had what are 
known as High Church proclivities, and 
took the matter seriously. 

"I don't know how we are to manage for 
the servants' dinner to-morrow, Sinclair," 
she said, coming in to my office one Thurs- 
day morning; "Julia says she 'promised 
God this long time that she wouldn't eat an 
egg on a fast-day,' and the kitchen-maid 
says she won't eat herrings 'without they're 
fried with onions,' and Mrs. Cadogan says 
she will 'not go to them extremes for serv- 
ants.' " 

"I should let Mrs. Cadogan settle the 
menu herself," I suggested. 

"I asked her to do that," replied Philippa, 
"and she only said she 'thanked God she 
had no appetite!' " 

The lady of the house here fell away into 
unseasonable laughter. 

I made the demoralising suggestion that, 
as we were going away for a couple of 
nights, we might safely leave them to fight 
it out, and the problem was abandoned. 

Philippa had been much called on by the 



neighbourhood in all its shades and grades, 
and daily she and her trousseau frocks pre- 
sented themselves at hall-doors of varying 
dimensions in due acknowledgment of ci- 
vilities. In Ireland, it may be noted, the 
process known in England as "summering 
and wintering" a newcomer does not ob- 
tain; sociability and curiosity alike forbid 
delay. The visit to which we owed our 
escape from the intricacies of the fast-day 
was to the Knoxes of Castle Knox, relations 
in some remote and tribal way of my land- 
lord, Mr. Flurry of that ilk. It involved a 
short journey by train, and my wife's long- 
est basket-trunk; it also, which was more 
serious, involved my being lent a horse to 
go out cubbing the following morning. 

At Castle Knox we sank into an almost 
forgotten environment of draught-proof 
windows and doors, of deep carpets, of si- 
lent servants instead of clattering bel- 
ligerents. Philippa told me afterwards that 
it had only been by an effort that she had 
restrained herself from snatching up the 
train of her wedding-gown as she paced 
across the wide hall on little Sir Valentine's 
arm. After three weeks at Shreelane she 
found it difficult to remember that the floor 
was neither damp nor dusty. 

I had the good fortune to be of the lim- 
ited number of those who got on with 
Lady Knox, chiefly, I imagine, because I 
was as a worm before her, and thankfully 
permitted her to do all the talking. 

"Your wife is extremely pretty," she pro- 
nounced autocratically, surveying Philippa 
between the candle-shades; "does she ride.?" 

Lady Knox was a short square lady, with 
a weather-beaten face, and an eye decisive 
from long habit of taking her own line 
across country and elsewhere. She would 
have made a very imposing little coachman, 
and would have caused her stable helpers 



Some Experiences 

to rue the day they had the presumption to 
be born; it struck me that Sir Valentine 
sometimes did so. 

"I'm glad you like her looks," I replied, 
"as I fear you will find her thoroughly 
despicable otherwise; for one thing, she not 
only can't ride, but she believes that I 
can!" 

"Oh come, you're not as bad as all that!" 
my hostess was good enough to say; "I'm 
going to put you up on Sorcerer to-morrow, 
and we'll see you at the top of the hunt — if 
there is one. That young Knox hasn't a 
notion how to draw these woods." 

"Well, the best run we had last year out 
of this place was with Flurry's hounds," 
struck in Miss Sally, sole daughter of Sir 
Valentine's house, and home, from her 
place half-way down the table. It was not 
difficult to see that she and her mother held 
different views on the subject of Mr. Flurry 
Knox. 

"I call it a criminal thing in any one's 
great-great-grandfather to rear up a prepos- 
terous troop of sons and plant them all out 
in his own country," Lady Knox said to me 
with apparent irrelevance. "I detest col- 
laterals. Blood may be thicker than water, 
but it is also a great deal nastier. In this 
country I find that fifteenth cousins con- 
sider themselves near relations if they live 
within twenty miles of one!" 

Having before now taken in the position 
with regard to Flurry Knox, I took care to 
accept these remarks as generalities, and 
turned the conversation to other themes. 

"I see Mrs. Yeates is doing wonders with 
Mr. Hamilton," said Lady Knox presently, 
following the direction of my eyes, which 
had strayed away to where Philippa was 
beaming upon her left-hand neighbour, a 
mildewed-looking old clergyman, who was 



of an Irish R.M. 53 

delivering a long dissertation, the purport of 
which we were happily unable to catch. 

"She has always had a gift for the 
Church," I said. 

"Not curates?" said Lady Knox, in her 
deep voice. 

I made haste to reply that it was the 
elders of the Church who were venerated 
by my wife. 

"Well, she has her fancy in old Eustace 
Hamilton; he's elderly enough!" said Lady 
Knox. "I wonder if she'd venerate him as 
much if she knew that he had fought with 
his sister-in-law, and they haven't spoken 
for thirty years! though for the matter of 
that," she added, "I think it shows his good 
sense I 

"Mrs. Knox is rather a friend of mine," 
I ventured. 

"Is sht? H'm! Well, she's not one of 
mine!" replied my hostess, with her usual 
definiteness. "I'll say one thing for her, I be- 
lieve she's always been a sportswoman. She's 
very rich, you know, and they say she only 
married old Badger Knox to save his hounds 
from being sold to pay his debts, and then 
she took the horn from him and hunted 
them herself. Has she been rude to your 
wife yet.?' No? Oh, well, she will. It's a mere 
question of time. She hates all English 
people. You know the story they tell of 
her? She was coming home from London, 
and when she was getting her ticket the 
man asked if she had said a ticket for 
York. 'No, thank God, Cork!' says Mrs. 
Knox." 

"Well, I rather agree with her!" said I; 
"but why did she fight with Mr. Hamil- 
ton?" 

"Oh, nobody knows. I don't believe they 
know themselves! Whatever it was, the 
old lady drives five miles to Fort\villiam 
every Sunday, rather than go to his church, 



54 



E. (E Somerville and Martin Ross 



just outside her own back gates;' Lady 
Knox said with a laugh Uke a terrier's 
bark. "I wish I'd fought with him myself," 
she said; "he gives us forty minutes every 
Sunday." 

As I struggled into my boots the follow- 
ing morning, I felt that Sir Valentine's acid 
coniidences on cub-hunting, bestowed on 
me at midnight, did credit to his judgment. 
**A very moderate amusement, my dear 
Major," he had said, in his dry little voice; 
"you should stick to shooting. No one ex- 
pects you to shoot before daybreak." 

It was six o'clock as I crept downstairs, 
and found Lady Knox and Miss Sally at 
breakfast, with two lamps on the table, and 
a foggy daylight oozing in from under the 
half-raised blinds. Philippa was already in 
the hall, pumping up her bicycle, in a state 
of excitement at the prospect of her first 
experience of hunting that would have been 
more comprehensible to me had she been 
going to ride a strange horse, as I was. As 
I bolted my food I saw the horses being led 
past the windows, and a faint twang of a 
horn told that Flurry Knox and his hounds 
were not far off. 

Miss Sally jumped up. 

"If Fm not on the Cockatoo before the 
hounds come up, I shall never get there!" 
she said, hobbling out of the room in the 
toils of her safety habit. Her small, alert 
face looked very childish under her riding- 
hat; the lamp-light struck sparks out of her 
thick coil of golden-red hair: I wondered 
how I had ever thought her like her prim 
litde father. 

She was already on her white cob when 
I got to the hall-door, and Flurry Knox 
was riding over the glistening wet grass 
with his hounds, while his whip. Dr. Je- 
rome Hickey, was having a stirring time 
with the young entry and the rabbit-holes. 



They moved on without stopping, up a 
back avenue, under tall and dripping trees, 
to a thick laurel covert, at some little dis- 
tance from the house. Into this the hounds 
were thrown, and the usual period of 
fidgety inaction set in for the riders, of 
whom, all told, there were about half-a- 
dozen. Lady Knox, square and solid, on her 
big, confidential iron-grey, was near me, 
and her eyes were on me and my mount; 
with her rubicund face and white collar 
she was more than ever like a coachman. 

"Sorcerer looks as if he suited you well," 
she said, after a few minutes of silence, 
during which the hounds rustled and 
crackled steadily through the laurels; "he's 
a little high on the leg, and so are you, you 
know, so you show each other ofl." 

Sorcerer was standing like a rock, with 
his good-looking head in the air and his 
eyes fastened on the covert. His manners, 
so far, had been those of a perfect gentle- 
man, and were in marked contrast to those 
of Miss Sally's cob, who was sidling, hop- 
ping, and snatching unappeasably at his 
bit. Philippa had disappeared from view 
down the avenue ahead. The fog was melt- 
ing, and the sun threw long blades of light 
through the trees; everything was quiet, 
and in the distance the curtained windows 
of the house marked the warm repose of 
Sir Valentine, and those of the party who 
shared his opinion of cubbing. 

"Hark! hark to cry there!" 

It was Flurry's voice, away at the other 
side of the covert. The rustling and brush- 
ing through the laurels became more ve- 
hement, then passed out of hearing. 

"He never will leave his hounds alone," 
said Lady Knox disapprovingly. 

Miss Sally and the Cockatoo moved away 
in a series of heraldic capers towards the 
end of the laurel plantation, and at the 



Some Experiences 

same moment I saw Philippa on her bicycle 
shoot into view on the drive ahead of us. 

"IVc seen a fox!" she screamed, white 
with what I bcHcve to have been personal 
terror, though she says it was excitement; 
"it passed quite close to me!" 

"What way did he go?" bellowed a voice 
which I recognised as Dr. Hickey's, some- 
where in the deep of the laurels. 

"Down the drive!" returned Philippa, 
with a pea-hen quality in her tones with 
which I was quite unacquainted. 

An electrifying screech of "Gone away!" 
was projected from the laurels by Dr. 
Hickey. 

"Gone away!" chanted Flurry's horn at 
the top of the covert. 

"This is what he calls cubbing!" said 
Lady Knox, "a mere farce!" but none the 
less she loosed her sedate monster into a 
canter. 

Sorcerer got his hind-legs under him, and 
hardened his crest against the bit, as we all 
hustled along the drive after the flying 
figure of my wife. I knew very little about 
horses, but I realised that even with the 
hounds tumbling hysterically out of the 
covert, and the Cockatoo kicking the gravel 
into his face. Sorcerer comported himself 
with the manners of the best society. Up a 
side road I saw Flurry Knox opening half 
of a gate and cramming through it; in a 
moment we also had crammed through, 
and the turf of a pasture field was under 
our feet. Dr. Hickey leaned forward and 
took hold of his horse; I did likewise, with 
the trifling difference that my horse took 
hold of me, and I steered for Flurry Knox 
with single-hearted purpose, the hounds, 
already a field ahead, being merely an ex- 
citing and noisy accompaniment of this 
endeavour. A heavy stone wall was the 
first occurrence of note. Flurry chose a place 



of an Irish RM. «g 

where the top was loose, and his clumsy- 
looking brown marc changed feet on the 
rattling stones like a fairy. Sorcerer came 
at it, tense and collected as a bow at full 
stretch, and sailed steeply into the air; I 
saw the wall far beneath me, with an un- 
suspected ditch on the far side, and I felt 
my hat following me at the full stretch 
of its guard as we swept over it, then, 
with a long slant, we descended to earth 
some sixteen feet from where we had left 
it, and I was possessor of the gratifying fact 
that I had achieved a good-sized "fly," and 
had not perceptibly moved in my saddle. 
Subsequent disillusioning experience has 
taught me that but few horses jump like 
Sorcerer, so gallantly, so sympathetically, 
and with such supreme mastery of the sub- 
ject; but none the less the enthusiasm that 
he imparted to me has never been extin- 
guished, and that October morning ride 
revealed to me the unsuspected intoxication 
of fox-hunting. 

Behind me I heard the scrabbling of the 
Cockatoo's little hoofs among the loose 
stones, and Lady Knox, galloping on my 
left, jerked a maternal chin over her shoul- 
der to mark her daughter's progress. For 
my part, had there been an entire circus 
behind me, I was far too much occupied 
with ramming on my hat and trying to 
hold Sorcerer, to have looked round, and 
all my spare faculties were devoted to steer- 
ing for Flurry, who had taken a right- 
handed turn, and was at that moment 
surmounting a bank of uncertain and briary 
aspect. I surmounted it also, with the swift- 
ness and simplicity for which the Quaker's 
methods of bank jumping had not prepared 
me, and two or three fields, traversed at the 
same steeplechase pace, brought us to a 
road and to an abrupt check. There, sud- 
denly, were the hounds, scrambling in 



56 E, CE Somen' Hie 

baffled silence down into the road from the 
opposite bank, to look for the line they had 
overrun, and there, amazingly, was Phi- 
lippa, engaged in excited converse with 
several men with spades over their shoul- 
ders. 

"Did ye see the fox, boys?" shouted 
Flurry, addressing the group. 

"We did! we did!" cried my wife and her 
friends in chorus; "he ran up the road!" 

"We'd be badly off without Mrs. Yeates!" 
said Flurry, as he whirled his mare round 
and clattered up the road with a hustle of 
hounds after him. 

It occurred to me as forcibly as any mere 
earthly thing can occur to those who are 
wrapped in the sublimities of a run, that, 
for a voun^ woman who had never before 
seen a fox out of a cage at the Zoo, Philippa 
w^as taking to hunting very kindly. Her 
cheeks were a most brilliant pink, her blue 
eyes shone. 

"Oh, Sinclair!" she exclaimed, "they say 
he's going for Aussolas, and there's a road 
I can ride all the way!" 

"Ye can. Miss! Sure we'll show you!" 
chorussed her cortege. 

Her foot was on the pedal ready to 
mount. Decidedly my wife was in no need 
of assistance from me. 

Up the road a hound gave a yelp of dis- 
covery, and flung himself over a stile into 
the fields; the rest of the pack went squeal- 
ing and jostling after him, and I followed 
Flurry over one of those infinitely varied 
erections, pleasantly termed "gaps" in Ire- 
land. On this occasion the gap was made of 
three razor-edged slabs of slate leaning 
against an iron bar, and Sorcerer conveyed 
to me his thorough knowledge of the matter 
by a lift of his hind-quarters that made me 
feel as if I were being skilfully kicked 
downstairs. To what extent I looked it, I 



and Martin Ross 

cannot say, nor providentially can Philippa, 
as she had already started. I only know 
that undeserved good luck restored to me 
my stirrup before Sorcerer got away with 
me in the next field. 

What followed was, I am told, a very fast 
fifteen minutes; for me time was not; the 
empty fields rushed past uncounted, fences 
came and went in a flash, while the wind 
sang in my ears, and the dazzle of the early 
sun was in my eyes. I saw the hounds occa- 
sionally, sometimes pouring over a green 
bank, as the charging breaker lifts and 
flings itself, sometimes driving across a 
field, as the white tongues of foam slide 
racing over the sand; and always ahead of 
me was Flurry Knox, going as a man goes 
who knows his country, who knows his 
horse, and whose heart is wholly and abso- 
lutely in the right place. 

Do what I would. Sorcerer's implacable 
stride carried me closer and closer to the 
brown mare, till, as I thundered down the 
slope of a long field, I was not twenty 
yards behind Flurry. Sorcerer had stiffened 
his neck to iron, and to slow him down was 
beyond me; but I fought his head away to 
the right, and found myself coming hard 
and steady at a stonefaced bank with broken 
ground in front of it. Flurry bore away to 
the left, shouting something that I did not 
understand. That Sorcerer shortened his 
stride at the right moment was entirely due . 
to his own judgment; standing well away 
from the jump, he rose like a stag out of 
the tussocky ground, and as he swung my 
twelve stone six into the air the obstacle 
revealed itself to him and me as consisting 
not of one bank but of two, and between 
the two lay a deep grassy lane, half choked 
with furze. I have often been asked to state 
the width of the bohereen, and can only 
reply that in my opinion it was at least 



Some Experiences 

eighteen feet; Flurry Knox and Dr. Hickcy, 
who did not jump it, say that it is not more 
than five. What Sorcerer did with it I can- 
not say; the sensation was of a towering 
flight with a kick back in it, a biggish drop, 
and a landing on cee-springs, still on the 
downhill grade. That was how one of the 
best horses in Ireland took one of Ireland's 
most ignorant riders over a very nasty place. 

A sombre line of fir-wood lay ahead, 
rimmed with a grey wall, and in another 
couple of minutes we had pulled up on the 
Aussolas road, and were watching the 
hounds struggling over the wall into Aus- 
solas demesne. 

"No hurry now," said Flurry, turning in 
his saddle to watch the Cockatoo jump into 
the road, "he's to ground in the big earth 
inside. Well, Major, it's well for you that's 
a big-jumped horse. I thought you were a 
dead man a while ago when you faced him 
at the bohereen!" 

I was disclaiming intention in the matter 
when Lady Knox and the others joined us. 

"I thought you told me your wife was no 
sportswoman," she said to me, critically 
scanning Sorcerer's legs for cuts the while, 
"but when I saw her a minute ago she had 
abandoned her bicycle and was running 
across country like " 

"Look at her now!" interrupted Miss 
Sally. "Oh! — oh!" In the interval between 
these exclamations my incredulous eyes be- 
held my wife in mid-air, hand in hand with 
a couple of stalwart country boys, with 
whom she was leaping in unison from the 
top of a bank on to the road. 

Every one, even the saturnine Dr. Hickey, 
began to laugh; I rode back to Philippa, 
who was exchanging compliments and con- 
gratulations with her escort. 

"Oh, Sinclair!" she cried, "wasn't it splen- 



of an Irish R.M. 57 

did? I saw you jumping, and everything! 
Where are they going now?" 

"My dear girl," I said, with marital dis- 
approval, "you're killing yourself. Where's 
your bicycle?" 

"Oil, it's punctured in a sort of lane, back 
there. It's all right; and then they" — she 
breathlessly waved her hand at her attend- 
ants — "they showed me the way." 

"Begor! you proved very good. Miss!" 
said a grinning cavalier. 

"Faith she did!" said another, polishing 
his shining brow with his white flannel 
coat-sleeve, "she lepped like a haarse!" 

"And may I ask how you propose to go 
home?" said I. 

"I don't know and I don't care! I'm not 
going home!" She cast an entirely dis- 
obedient eye at me. "And your eye-glass is 
hanging down your back and your tie is 
bulging out over your waistcoat!" 

The little group of riders had begun to 
move away. 

"We're going on into Aussolas," called 
out Flurry; "come on, and make my grand- 
mother give you some breakfast, Mrs. 
Yeates; she always has it at eight o'clock." 

The front gates were close at hand, and 
we turned in under the tall beech-trees, 
with the unswept leaves rustling round the 
horses' feet, and the lovely blue of the 
October morning sky filling the spaces be- 
tween smooth grey branches and golden 
leaves. The woods rang with the voices of 
the hounds, enjoying an untrammelled 
rabbit hunt, while die Master and the Whip, 
both on foot, strolled along unconcernedly 
with their bridles over their arms, making 
themselves agreeable to my wife, an occa- 
sional touch of Flurry's horn, or a crack of 
Dr. Hickey's whip, just indicating to the 
pack that the authorities still took a friendly 
interest in their doings. 



58 



E, CE Somen/ille and Martin Ross 



Down a grassy glade in the wood a party 
of old Mrs. Knox's young horses suddenly 
swept into view, headed by an old mare, 
who, widi her tail over her back, stampeded 
ponderously past our cavalcade, shaking 
and swinging her handsome old head, 
while her youthful friends bucked and 
kicked aiid snapped at each other round 
her with the ferocious humor of their kind. 

"Here, Jerome, take the horn," said 
Flurry to Dr. Hickey; "I'm going to see 
Mrs. Yeates up to die house, the way these 
tomfools won't gallop on top of her." 

From this point it seems to me that Phi- 
lippa's adventures are more worthy of rec- 
ord than mine, and as she has favoured me 
with a full account of them, I venture to 
think my version may be relied on. 

Mrs. Knox was already at breakfast when 
Philippa was led, quaking, into her for- 
midable presence. My wife's acquaintance 
with Mrs. Knox was, so far, limited to a 
state visit on either side, and she found but 
little comfort in Flurry's assurances that his 
grandmother wouldn't mind if he brought 
all the hounds in to breakfast, coupled with 
the statement that she would put her eyes 
on sticks for the Major. 

Whatever the truth of this may have 
been, Mrs. Knox received her guest with an 
equanimity quite unshaken by the fact that 
her boots were in the fender instead of on 
her feet, and that a couple of shawls of 
varying dimensions and degrees of age did 
not conceal the inner presence of a magenta 
flannel dressing-jacket. She installed Phi- 
lippa at the table and plied her with food, 
oblivious as to whether the needful imple- 
ments with which to eat it were forthcom- 
ing or no. She told Flurry where a vixen 
had reared her family, and she watched him 
ride away, with some biting comments on 



his mare's hocks screamed after him from 
the window. 

The dining-room at Aussolas Casde is 
one of the many rooms in Ireland in which 
Cromwell is said to have stabled his horse 
(and probably no one would have objected 
less than Mrs. Knox had she been consulted 
in the matter). Philippa questions if the 
room had ever been tidied up since, and 
she endorses Flurry's observation that 
"there wasn't a day in the year you wouldn't 
get feeding for a hen and chickens on the 
floor." Opposite to Philippa, on a Louis 
Quinze chair, sat Mrs. Knox's woolly dog, 
its suspicious little eyes peering at her out 
of their setting of pink lids and dirty white 
wool. A couple of young horses outside the 
windows tore at the matted creepers on the 
walls, or thrust faces that were half-shy, 
half-impudent, into the room. Portly pi- 
geons waddled to and fro on the broad 
window-sill, sometimes flying in to perch 
on the picture-frames, while they kept up 
incessantly a hoarse and pompous cooing. 

Animals and children are, as a rule, alike 
destructive to conversation; but Mrs. Knox, 
when she chose, bien entendu, could have 
made herself agreeable in a Noah's ark, and 
Philippa has a gift of sympathetic attention 
that personal experience has taught me to 
regard with distrust as well as respect, while 
it has often made me realise the worldly 
wisdom of Kingsley's injunction: 

"Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be 
clever." 

Family prayers, declaimed by Mrs. Knox 
with alarming austerity, followed close on 
breakfast, Philippa and a vinegar-faced 
henchwoman forming the family. The 
prayers were long, and through the open 
window as they progressed came distandy 
a whoop or two; the declamatory tones stag- 



Some Experiences 

gered a little, and then continued at a dis- 
tinctly higher rate of speed. 

"Ma'am! Ma'am!" whispered a small 
voice at the window. 

Mrs. Knox made a repressive gesture and 
held on her way. A sudden outcry of hounds 
followed, and the owner of the whisper, 
a small boy with a face freckled like a tur- 
key's tgg^ darted from the window and 
dragged a donkey and bath-chair into view. 
Philippa admits to having lost the thread 
of the discourse, but she thinks that the 
"Amen" that immediately ensued can 
hardly have come in its usual place. Mrs. 
Knox shut the book abruptly, scrambled 
up from her knees, and said, "They've 
found!" 

In a surprisingly short space of time she 
had added to her attire her boots, a fur 
cape, and a garden hat, and was in the bath- 
chair, the small boy stimulating the donkey 
with the success peculiar to his class, while 
Philippa hung on behind. 

The woods of Aussolas are hilly and 
extensive, and on that particular morning 
it seemed that they held as many foxes as 
hounds. In vain was the horn blown and 
the whips cracked, small rejoicing parties 
of hounds, each with a fox of its own, 
scoured to and fro; every labourer in the 
vicinity had left his work, and was sedu- 
lously heading every fox with yells that 
would have befitted a tiger hunt, and sticks 
and stones when occasion served. 

"Will I pull out as far as the big rosy- 
dandhrum, ma'am .f*" inquired the small 
boy; "I seen three of the dogs go in it, and 
they yowling." 

"You will," said Mrs. Knox, thumping 
the donkey on the back with her umbrella; 
"here! Jeremiah Regan! Come down out of 
that with that pitchfork! Do you want to 
kill the fox, you fool?" 



of an Irish RM. 59 

"I do not, your honour, ma'am," re- 
sponded Jeremiah Regan, a tall young 
countryman, emerging from a bramble 
brake. 

"Did you sec him.'^" said Mrs. Knos 
eagerly. 

"I seen himself and his ten pups drink- 
ing below at the lake ere yestherday, your 
honour, ma'am, and he as big as a chest- 
nut horse!" said Jeremiah. 

"Faugh! Yesterday!" snorted Mrs. Knox; 
"go on to the rhododendrons, Johnny!" 

The party, reinforced by Jeremiah and 
the pitchfork, progressed at a high rate of 
speed along the shrubbery path, encounter- 
ing en route Lady Knox, stooping on to her 
horse's neck under the sweeping branches 
of the laurels. 

"Your horse is too high for my coverts. 
Lady Knox," said the Lady of the Manor, 
with a malicious eye at Lady Knox's flushed 
face and dinged hat; "I'm afraid you will 
be left behind like Absalom when the 
hounds go away!" 

"As they never do anything here but 
hunt rabbits," retorted her ladyship, "I don't 
think that's likely." 

Mrs. Knox gave her donkey another 
whack, and passed on. 

"Rabbits, my dear!" she said scornfully to 
Philippa. "That's all she knows about it. I 
declare it disgusts me to see a woman of 
that age making such a Judy of herself! 
Rabbits indeed!" 

Down in the thicket of rhododendron 
everything was very quiet for a time. Phi- 
lippa strained her eyes in vain to see any 
of the riders; the horn blowing and the 
whip cracking passed on almost out of hear- 
ing. Once or twice a hound worked tlirough 
the rhododendrons, glanced at the party, 
and hurried on, immersed in business. All 



6o E. CE Somerville 

at once Johnny, the donkey-boy, whispered 
excitedly: 

"Look at he! Look at he!" and pointed to 
a boulder of grey rock that stood out among 
the dark evergreens. A big yellow cub was 
crouching on it; he instantly slid into the 
shelter of the bushes, and die irrepressible 
Jeremiah, uttering a rending shriek, 
plunged into the diicket after him. Two 
or three hounds came rushing at the sound, 
and after this Philippa says she finds some 
difficulty in recalling the proper order of 
events ; chiefly, she confesses, because of the 
wholly ridiculous tears of excitement that 
blurred her eyes. 

"We ran," she said, "we simply tore, 
and the donkey galloped, and as for that 
old Mrs. Knox, she was giving cracked 
screams to the hounds all the time, and they 
were screaming too; and then somehow 
we were all out on the road!" 

What seems to have occurred was that 
three couple of hounds, Jeremiah Regan, 
and Mrs. Knox's equipage, amongst them 
somehow hustled the cub out of Aussolas 
demesne and up on to a hill on the farther 
side of the road. Jeremiah was sent back 
by his mistress to fetch Flurry, and the rest 
of the party pursued a thrilling course along 
the road, parallel with that of the hounds, 
who were hunting slowly through the gorse 
on the hillside. 

"Upon my honour and word, Mrs. Yeates, 
my dear, we have the hunt to ourselves!" 
said Mrs. Knox to the panting Philippa, as 
they pounded along the road. "Johnny, d'ye 
see the fox?" 

"I do, ma'am!" shrieked Johnny, who 
possessed the usual field-glass vision be- 
stowed upon his kind. "Look at him over- 
right us on the hill above! Hi! The spotty 
dog have him! No, he's gone from him! 
Gwan out o that!" This to the donkey. 



and Martin Ross 

with blows that sounded like the beating 
of carpets, and produced rather more dust. 

They had left Aussolas some half a mile 
behind, when, from a strip of wood on their 
right, the fox suddenly slipped over the 
bank on to the road just ahead of them, ran 
up it for a few yards and whisked in at a 
small entrance gate, with the three couple 
of hounds yelling on a red-hot scent, not 
thirty yards behind. The bath-chair party 
whirled in at their heels, Philippa and the 
donkey considerably blown, Johnny scarlet 
through his freckles, but as fresh as paint, 
the old lady blind and deaf to all things 
save the chase. The hounds went raging 
through the shrubs beside the drive, and 
away down a grassy slope towards a shallow 
glen, in the bottom of which ran a little 
stream, and after them over the grass 
bumped the bath-chair. At the stream they 
turned sharply and ran up the glen towards 
the avenue, which crossed it by means of a 
rough stone viaduct. 

" 'Pon me conscience, he's into the old 
culvert!" exclaimed Mrs. Knox; "there was 
one of my hounds choked there once, long 
ago! Beat on the donkey, Johnny!" 

At this juncture Philippa's narrative again 
becomes incoherent, not to say breathless. 
She is, however, positive that it was some- 
where about here that the upset of the bath- 
chair occurred, but she cannot be clear as to 
whether she picked up the donkey or Mrs. 
Knox, or whether she herself was picked 
up by Johnny while Mrs. Knox picked up 
the donkey. From my knowledge of Mrs. 
Knox I should say she picked up herself 
and no one else. At all events, the next 
salient point is the palpitating moment 
when Mrs. Knox, Johnny, and Philippa 
successively applying an eye to the opening 
of the culvert by which the stream trickled 
under the viaduct, while five dripping 



Some Experiences 

hounds bayed and leaped around them, 
discovered by more senses than that of sight 
that the fox was in it, and furthermore that 
one of the hounds was in it too. 

"There's a sthrong grating before him at 
the far end," said Johnny, his head in at 
the mouth of the hole, his voice sounding 
as if he were talking into a jug, "the two 
of them's fighting in it; they'll be choked 
surely!" 

"Then don't stand gabbling there, you 
little fool, but get in and pull the hound 
out!" exclaimed Mrs. Knox, who was bal- 
ancing herself on a stone in the stream. 

"I'd be in dread, ma'am," whined 
Johnny. 

"Balderdash!" said the implacable Mrs. 
Knox. "In with you!" 

I understand that Philippa assisted 
Johnny into the culvert, and presume that 
it was in so doing that she acquired the 
two Robinson Crusoe bare footprints 
which decorated her jacket when I next 
met her. 

"Have you got hold of him yet, Johnny .r^" 
cried Mrs. Knox up the culvert. 

"I have, ma'am, by the tail," responded 
Johnny's voice, sepulchral in the depths. 

"Can you stir him, Johnny?" 

"I cannot, ma'am, and the wather is ris- 
ing in it." 

"Well, please God, they'll not open the 
mill dam!" remarked Mrs. Knox philo- 
sophically to Philippa, as she caught hold 
of Johnny's dirty ankles. "Hold on to the 
tail, Johnny!" 

She hauled, with, as might be expected, 
no appreciable result. "Run, my dear, and 
look for somebody, and we'll have that 
fox yet!" 

Philippa ran, whither she knew not, pur- 
sued by fearful visions of bursting mill- 
dams, and maddened foxes at bay. As she 



oj an Irish R.M. 



6i 



sped uj) the avenue she heard voices, robust 
male voices, in a shrubbery, and made for 
them. Advancing along an embowered 
walk towards her was what she Uxjk for 
one wild instant to be a funeral; a second 
glance showed her that it was a party of 
clergymen of all ages, walking by twos 
and threes in the dappled shade of the 
over-arching trees. Obviously she had in- 
truded her sacrilegious presence into a 
Clerical Meeting. She acknowledges that at 
this awe-inspiring spectacle she faltered, 
but the thought of Johnny, the hound, and 
the fox, suffocating, possibly drowning to- 
gether in the culvert, nerved her. She docs 
not remember what she said or how she 
said it, but I fancy she must have con- 
veyed to them the impression that old Mrs. 
Knox was being drowned, as she imme- 
diately found herself heading a charge of 
the Irish Church towards the scene of dis- 
aster. 

Fate has not always used me well, but 
on this occasion it was mercifully decreed 
that I and the other members of the hunt 
should be privileged to arrive in time to 
see my wife and her rescue party precipi- 
tating themselves down the glen. 

"Holy Biddy!" ejaculated Flurry, "is she 
running a paper-chase with all the parsons ? 
But look! For pity's sake will you look at 
my grandmother and my Uncle Eustace?" 

Mrs. Knox and her sworn enemy the 
old clergyman, whom I had met at dinner 
the night before, were standing, appar- 
ently in the stream, tugging at t\vo bare 
legs that projected from a hole in the via- 
duct, and arguing at the top of dieir voices. 
The bath-chair lay on its side widi the 
donkey grazing beside it, on the bank a 
stout Archdeacon was tendering advice, 
and the hounds danced and howled round 
the entire group. 



62 E. CE Somerville 

"I tell you, Eliza, you had better let the 
Archdeacon try," thundered Mr. Hamil- 
ton. 

"Then I tell you I will not!" vociferated 
Mrs. Knox, with a tug at the end of the 
sentence that elicited a subterranean lament 
from Johnny. "Now who was right about 
the second grating? I told you so twenty 



years ago 



Exactly as Philippa and her rescue party 
arrived, the efforts of Mrs. Knox and her 



and Martin Ross 

brother-in-law triumphed. The struggling, 
sopping form of Johnny was slowly drawn 
from the hole, drenched, speechless, but 
clinging to the stern of a hound, who, in 
its turn, had its jaws fast in the hind- 
quarters of a limp, yellow cub. 

"Oh, it's dead! wailed Philippa, "I did 
think I should have been in time to save 
it!" 

"Well, if that doesn't beat all!" said Dr. 
Hickey. 



SAKI (H. H. MUNRO 1870-1916) 



Esme 



jrrnn THE SHORT STORIES OF SAKI 



Certainly no writer can be so sadistic with such complete nonchalance 
as H. H. Munro. The reader, horrified by the situations laid be j ore him, 
is, at the same time, so amused by the inanity of the dialogue and the 
lampooning of familiar types of British society, that he forgets his horror 
in laughter, Esme, strictly speaking, isn't about horses at all, but it is a 
fox-hunting story and, as Saki himself says, ''it isn't a bit liJ^e any you've 
ever heard!" 

" 'Unting is the sport of kings, the image of 
war without its guilt and only five and twenty 
percent of its danger!" 

— JORROCKS 



All hunting stories are the same/' 
/^\ said Clovis; "just as all Turf 
-A- JV stories are the same, and all — " 
"My hunting story isn't a bit like any 
you've ever heard," said the Baroness. "It 
happened quite a while ago, when I was 
about twenty-three. I wasn't living apart 
from my husband then; you see, neither 
of us could afford to make the other a sep- 
arate allowance. In spite of everything that 
proverbs may say, poverty keeps together 
more homes than it breaks up. But we al- 
ways hunted with different packs. All this 
has nothing to do with the story." 

"We haven't arrived at the meet yet. I 
suppose there was a meet," said Clovis. 



"Of course there was a meet," said the 
Baroness; "all the usual crowd were there, 
especially Constance Broddle. Constance is 
one of those strapping florid girls that go 
so well with autumn scenery or Christmas 
decorations in church. *I feel a presenti- 
ment that something dreadful is going to 
happen,' she said to me; 'am I looking 
pale.f^' 

"She was looking about as pale as a 
beetroot that has suddenly heard bad 
news. 

" 'You're looking nicer than usual/ I 
said, 'but that's so easy for you.' Before she 
had got the right bearings of this remark 
we had settled down to business; hounds 



63 



64 



Sa{i (H. 



had found a fox lying out in some gorse- 
bushes." 

*'I knew it," said Clovis; "in every fox- 
hunting story that Tve ever heard there's 
been a fox and some gorse-bushes." 

".Constance and I were well mounted," 
continued the Baroness serenely, "and we 
had no difficulty in keeping ourselves in 
the first flight, though it was a fairly stiff 
run. Towards the finish, however, we must 
have held rather too independent a line, 
for we lost die hounds, and found ourselves 
plodding aimlessly along miles away from 
anywhere. It was fairly exasperating, and 
my temper was beginning to let itself go 
by inches, when on pushing our way 
through an accommodating hedge we 
were gladdened by the sight of hounds in 
full cry in a hollow just beneath us. 

" 'There they go,' cried Constance, and 
then added in a gasp, 'In Heaven's name, 
what are they hunting?' 

"It was certainly no mortal fox. It stood 
more than twice as high, had a short, ugly 
head, and an enormous thick neck. 

'"It's a hyaena,' I cried; 'it must have 
escaped from Lord Pabham's Park.' 

"At that moment the hunted beast 
turned and faced its pursuers, and the 
hounds (there were only about six couple 
then) stood round in a half-circle and 
looked foolish. Evidently they had broken 
away from the rest of the pack on the trail 
of this alien scent, and were not quite sure 
how to treat their quarry now they had 
got him. 

"The hyaena hailed our approach with 
unmistakable relief and demonstrations of 
friendliness. It had probably been accus- 
tomed to uniform kindness from humans, 
while its first experience of a pack of 
hounds had left a bad impression. The 
hounds looked more than ever embar- 



H. Munro) 

rassed as their quarry paraded its sudden 
intimacy with us, and the faint toot of a 
horn in the distance was seized on as a 
welcome signal for unobtrusive departure. 
Constance and I and the hyaena were left 
alone in the gathering twilight. 

" 'What are we to do.?' asked Constance. 

" 'What a person you are for questions,' 
I said. 

" 'Well, we can't stay here all night with 
a hyaena,' she retorted. 

" 'I don't know what your ideas of com- 
fort are,' I said; 'But I shouldn't think of 
staying here all night even without a 
hyaena. My home may be an unhappy one, 
but at least it has hot and cold water laid 
on, and domestic service, and other con- 
veniences which we shouldn't find here. 
We had better make for that ridge of trees 
to the right; I imagine the Crowley road 
is just beyond.' 

"We trotted off slowly along a faintly 
marked cart-track, with the beast following 
cheerfully at our heels. 

" 'What on earth are we to do with the 
hyaena?' came the inevitable question. 

" 'What does one generally do with 
hyaenas?" I asked crossly. 

" 'I've never had anything to do with one 
before,' said Constance. 

" 'Well, neither have I. If we even knew 
its sex we might give it a name. Perhaps 
we might call it Esme. That would do in 
either case.' 

"There was still sufficient daylight for 
us to distinguish wayside objects, and our 
listless spirits gave an upward perk as we 
came upon a small half-naked gipsy brat 
picking blackberries from a low-growing 
bush. The sudden apparition of two horse- 
women and a hyaena set it off crying, and 
in any case we should scarcely have gleaned 
any useful geographical information from 



The Short Stories of Saf{i 



that source; but there was a probabiHty 
that we might strike a gipsy encampment 
somewhere along our route. We rode on 
hopefully but uneventfully for another mile 
or so. 

"*I wonder what that child was doing 
there,' said Constance presently. 

" Ticking blackberries, obviously.' 

" 'I don't like the way it cried,' pursued 
Constance; ^somehow its wail , keeps 
ringing in my ears.' 

"1 did not chide Constance for her mor- 
bid fancies; as a matter of fact the same 
sensation, of being pursued by a persistent 
fretful wail, had been forcing itself on my 
rather overtired nerves. For company's sake 
I hulloed to Esme, who had lagged some- 
what behind. With a few springy bounds 
he drew up level, and then shot past us. 

"The wailing accompaniment was ex- 
plained. The gipsy child was firmly, and 
I expect painfully, held in his jaws. 

" ^Merciful Heaven!' screamed Con- 
stance, Vhat on earth shall we do.f^ What 
are we to do?' 

"I am perfectly certain that at the Last 
Judgment Constance will ask more ques- 
tions than any of the examining Seraphs. 

" *Can't we do something?' she persisted 
tearfully, as Esme cantered easily along in 
front of our tired horses. 

"Personally I was doing everything that 
occurred to me at the moment. I stormed 
and scolded and coaxed in English and 
French and gamekeeper language; I made 
absurd, ineffectual cuts in the air with my 
thongless hunting-crop; I hurled my sand- 
wich case at the brute; in fact, I really 
don't know what more I could have done. 
And still we lumbered on through the 
deepening dusk, with that dark uncouth 
shape lumbering ahead of us, and a drone 



of lugubrious music floating in our cars. 
Suddenly Esme bounded aside into some 
thick bushes, where wc could not follow; 
the wail rose to a shriek and then stopped 
altogether. This part of the story I always 
hurry over, because it is really rather hor- 
rible. When the beast joined us again, after 
an absence of a few minutes, there was an 
air of patient understanding about him, 
as though he knew that he had done some- 
thing of which we disapproved, but which 
he felt to be thoroughly justifiable. 

" 'How can you let that ravening beast 
trot by your side?' asked Constance. She 
was looking more than ever like an albino 
beetroot. 

" 'In the first place, I can't prevent it,' 
I said, 'and in the second place, whatever 
else he may be, I doubt if he's ravening at 
the present moment.' 

"Constance shuddered. 'Do you think the 
poor little thing suffered much?' came an- 
other of her futile questions. 

" 'The indications were all that way,' I 
said; 'on the other hand, of course, it may 
have been crying from sheer temper. Chil- 
dren sometimes do.' 

"It was nearly pitch-dark when we 
emerged suddenly into the high road. A 
flash of lights and the whir of a motor 
went past us at the same moment at un- 
comfortably close quarters. A thud and a 
sharp screeching yell followed a second 
later. The car drew up, and when I had 
ridden back to the spot I found a young 
man bending over a dark motionless mass 
lying by the roadside. 

" 'You have killed my Esme/ I exclaimed 
bitterly. 

" 'I'm so awfully sorry,' said the young 
man; 'I keep dogs myself, so I know what 
you must feel about it. I'll do anything I 
can in reparation.' 



66 Sa\i (H. 

"Tleasc bury him at once,' I said; *that 
much I think I may ask of you.' 

" 'Bring the spade, Wilham/ he called 
to the chauffeur. Evidently hasty roadside 
interments were contingencies that had 
been provided against. 

"The digging of a sufficiently large grave 
took some little time. 'I say, what a mag- 
nificent fellow,' said the motorist as the 
corpse was rolled over into the trench. 
I'm afraid he must have been rather a 
valuable animal.' 

" 'He took second in the puppy class at 
Birmingham last year,' I said resolutely. 

"Constance snorted loudly. 

"'Don't cry, dear,' I said brokenly; 'it 
was all over in a moment. He couldn't 
have suffered much.' 

" 'Look here,' said the young fellow des- 
perately, 'you simply must let me do some- 
thing by way of reparation.' 

"I refused sweetly, but as he persisted 
I let him have my address. 

"Of course, we kept our own counsel as 
to the earlier episodes of the evening. Lord 
Pabham never advertised the loss of his 



H. Mttnro) 

hyaena; when a strictly fruit-eating animal 
strayed from his park a year or two previ- 
ously he was called upon to give compensa- 
tion in eleven cases of sheep-worrying and 
practically to re-stock his neighbours' 
poultry-yards, and an escaped hyaena would 
have mounted up to something on the scale 
of a Government grant. The gipsies were 
equally unobtrusive over their missing off- 
spring; I don't suppose in large encamp- 
ments they really know to a child or two 
how many they've got." 

The Baroness paused reflectively, and 
then continued: 

"There was a sequel to the adventure, 
though. I got through the post a charming 
little diamond brooch, with the name 
Esme set in a sprig of rosemary. Incident- 
ally, too, I lost the friendship of Constance 
Broddle. You see, when I sold the brooch 
I quite properly refused to give her any 
share of the proceeds. I pointed out that 
the Esme part of the affair was my own 
invention, and the hyaena part of it be- 
longed to Lord Pabham, if it really was his 
hyaena, of which, of course, I've no proof." 



JOHN WOODCOCK GRAVES (1795-1886) 



John Peel 



Surely this is the best known as well as the most loved of all hunting 
songs. It has become a part of the folkjore not only of England, but also 
of America. Our schoolchildren in dusty classrooms, who would be 
hard put to say what is meant by "view-hollo," shout it forth with as 
much gusto as though the sound of a hunting-horn were common- 
place in the busy city streets. Vox-hunting, for the moment, is much 
curtailed, but ]ohn Feel winds his horn as lustily as ever and will continue 
to do so. 



D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay? 
D'ye ken John Peel at the break of day? 
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far, far away, 
With his hounds and his horn in the morning ? 
'Tu/as the sound of his horn called me from 

my bed. 
And the cry of his hounds has me oft-times 

led. 
For Peel's View-hollo would wa\en the 

dead, 
Or a fox from his lair in the morning. 

D'ye ken that bitch whose tongue is death? 
D'ye ken her sons of peerless faith? 
D'ye ken that fox with his last breath 
Cursed them all as he died in the morning? 

Yes, I ken John Peel and Ruby too 
Ranter and Royal and Bellman as true; 
From the drag to the chase, from the chase to 

the view, 
From a view to the death in the morning. 



And I've followed John Peel both often and 

far 
O'er the rasper-fence and the gate and the bar, 
From Low Denton Holme up to Scratchmere 

Scar, 
When we vied for the brush in the morning. 



Then here's to John Peel with my heart and 

soul. 
Come fill — fill to him another strong bowl: 
And we'll follow John Peel through fair and 

through foul. 
While we're waked by his horn in the morn- 
ing. 
'Twas the sound of his horn called me from 

my bed. 
And the cry of his hounds has me oft-times 

led, 
For Peel's View-hollo would wal^en the 

dead 
Or a fox from his lair in the morning. 



67 



GORDON GRAND (contemporary) 



Cub Hunting en Famille 



from THE SILVER HORN 



With some writers one feels that their love of or interest in horses is 
frojn the outside, but with Gordoft Grand one \7iows that horses and 
hunting must he a very integral fart of his everyday life, I chose Cub 
Hunting en Famille because it has to do with a little discussed phase 
of the hu7iting world, the ma\ing, not of the horse, but of the rider 
and to what agony the bystanders are put during this making! Let no 
fond parent, lacking a sense of humor, read this tale! 

"Your head and your heart... keep up! 
Your hands and your heels . . . keep down! 
Your knees press into your horse's sides, 
Your elbows into your own!" 

— OLD ENGLISH ADAGE 




eeing the ColoneFs horse van going 
out of his driveway, I asked him 
whether he was acquiring a new 
horse or shipping one away. "It's going 
over to Pettibone Lithgow's," he said. 
Pettibone is one of the best-hearted people 
alive and we are deservedly fond of him 
but he does not possess a vestige of horse 
sense. 

"Pendleton, have you ever stopped to 
consider what a mass of detailed informa- 
tion one acquires pertaining to horses? 
Why even were I able to extract it I 
couldn't reduce within the covers of ten 



volumes the sum total of v^hat any one of 
a thousand knowledgeable horsemen 
knows. Such information is only released 
from the confines of one's memory when 
a situation develops requiring its use. And 
no man knows more than an infinitesimal 
part of what is to be learned. 

"Yet here is our friend Pettibone good 
naturedly smiling and romping along, en- 
dangering his family and his friends and 
not knowing what it's all about. It is com- 
mon knowledge that he is going to hurt, 
kill or maim one or both of these children 
of his if he continues in over-mounting 



68 



Cub Hunting 

them on ovcr-fcd, over-bred, under-worked 
and under-schooled horses. 

"Mrs. Lithgow came over to see me 
about it. She says they haven't a horse on 
the place fit for the children to ride, al- 
though Pettibone has spent a pot of money 
trying to mount them. She is fairly dis- 
traught about that play-boy husband of 
hers. 

"I have loaned them Lord Autumn for 
one of the children. I think the old fellov^ 
w^ill enjoy the job. 

*'What a time Pettibone must have had 
tw^o weeks ago on the morning we started 
cubbing. Enid Ashley has pieced her inter- 
pretation of the events together. Wait until 
I read her account to you." 

CUB HUNTING en FAMILLE 
Chapter I 

An opulent office at 14 Wall Street, New 
York. A conference of people of import- 
ance. It is four o'clock on a Friday after- 
noon in early September. 

J. Pettibone Lithgow: "Gentlemen, I 
must ask you to excuse me. I must run for 
my train. Tomorrow is the opening of our 
cubbing season. It is an event I look for- 
ward to with keen relish. We are taking 
our children for their first hunt, and we 
all place great import on the occasion. It 
is indeed many years since I have looked 
forward to anything with such genuine 
relish. I return to town on Monday morn- 
ing, and will meet with you any time dur- 
ing the week. Good day, gentlemen." 

Chapter II 

A so-called simple hunting lodge with 
eleven bathrooms, and service and embel- 
lishments to match. Dinner is being served. 



en Famille 



69 



J. Pettibone Lithgow: "Well, children, 
tomorrow will be the big day. I feel just 
as I did when I was your age and it was 
the night before Christmas. Now, then, 
what are we all going to ride? First, there 
is Mother. What about Big Brother?" 

Chorus: "Yes, yes. He's an old dear. He's 
top hole." 

Pettibone Lithgow: "Well, how about it. 
Mother?" 

Mrs. J. Pettibone Lithgow: '*I love to ride 
the old fellow, but do so dislike bustling 
him up and down these rocky wood rides 
in the cubbing country. They are abomin- 
able coverts." 

Pettibone Lithgow: "That's all right. 
We won't go hard. Remember this is the 
children's first day to hounds. What for 
Lillian? Withington says that Lady Conna 
and Shinto are going perfectly, and Lillian 
has been riding both of them. Which one 
will it be, old girl?" 

Lillian Lithgow (aged 12) : "Oh, Dad, I 
want Shinto, He is so cute over his fences." 

Pettibone Lithgow: "Then that leaves 
Pettibone and the Old Man. My boy, what 
do you think will carry you to fame and 
honor tomorrow?" 

Pettibone Lithgow, Jr. (aged 14): "I 
would like very much to try Aunt Agnes. I 
have been jumping her a lot and we get on 
fine." 

Pettibone Lithgow: "Well, I will ride 
Hecanhopit. This will be our tenth season 
together." (To Butler) "Ask Withington 
to see me in the library in half an hour. 
It's time you kiddies turned in. All hands 
up at 4:45. No stealing of cat naps, re- 
member." (Children leave the room. To 
Wife) "My dear, this is an event I have 
been looking forward to ever since the 
children were born. My day dreams have 
centered on pictures of us all spending long 



70 



Gordon Grand 



days together in the hunting field. Count- 
less times I have pictured you and the two 
kiddies mounted on truly confidential 
horses drifting across an autumn landscape. 
You know, dear, I have worked pretty 
hard in a highly competitive field, and this 
thing tomorrow morning is one of my 
major rewards." 



Chapter III 

4:55 a.m. 

Pettibone, Jr.: ''Mother, I can't find my 
jodhpurs, and Mary is not awake so I can't 
ask her, and Lillie says one of her riding 
shoes is gone, and she says she remembers 
the puppy was playing with it, and do you 
think he could have run off with it.''" 

Mrs. Lithgow: "It's too bad you children 
could not have found your things before 
you went to bed. I will be there in a 
minute." 

Mr. Lithgow : *'My dear, I wonder where 
those special hunting spectacles could be. 
I haven't seen them since last fall. It is get- 
ting late. We must hurry." 

Pettibone, Jr.: "Moth-er (louder) Moth-er 
—(louder still) MOTH-ER— Where is the 
hunting crop Uncle Harry gave me for 
Christmas.^" 

Mr. Pettibone Lithgow (calling from the 
dining room): "We must hurry. Breakfast 
is on the table." 

Mrs. Lithgow: "John, I can't hurry. The 
children can't find half their things, and 
I'm not nearly ready. Such an hour to get 
children up." 

(Mr. L. drinks his coffee and fidgets. 
Family assembles in the breakfast room, 
Mrs. L. looking a bit frayed and dis- 
traught.) 

Mr. L.: "I will hack to the Meet with 



the children, and Mother, you come in the 
car. Come along, children." 

(They go out to the stable, mount and 
start. An exceedingly warm sultry morn- 
ing. Shinto, feeling high, makes a modest 
buck. 

Mr. L.: "There now Lillie, there goes 
your hat the first thing. Don't dismount. 
That horse is so high — ^you will have 
trouble remounting. Pettibone, pop off and 
yet your sister's hat. That's a good chap. 
I'll hold Aunt Agnes/' (Holds horse which 
dribbles and slobbers half-consumed sugar 
on the knee of a new pair of fawn breeches. 
They walk up on the side of a cement road. 
At the corner they meet other riders. Lillie 
permits Shinto to walk up on the heels of 
a fidgety mare who lets fly, just missing 
Lillie's leg.) 

Mr. L.: "Lillie for gracious sake keep 
your horse back. You should know better 
than that. Pray excuse my daughter, Mrs. 
Turnturtle. She has been told not to ride 
on top of people. Pettibone, will you keep 
off that slippery cement! How many times 
have you been told to keep on the side of 
the road. Press your Aunt Agnes on the 
ribs with your left heel and bring her over." 

(A particularly noisy truck approaches 
from the rear. Horses in front commence 
to fidget. Truck passes with a roar. Aunt 
Agnes make a moderate flying jump to the 
right. Steps in hidden ditch and pecks. Ji 
Pettibone Lithgow, Jr. topples over her 
shoulder and lets go of reins. A groom 
catches mare, puts boy up and receives a 
dollar. Pettibone's face and collar are 
smeared. Mr. Lithgow is hot and becoming 
twitchy. Arrive at Meet. Renews many old 
acquaintanceships. Introduces children. 
Rather proud of them, but wishes boy did 
not look so mussy. Spirits temporarily re- 
vived. Mrs. L. arrives. Finds her horse for 



Cub Hunting 

her. Puts her up. No coordination. Starts 
to count three. She does not wait for count. 
Never will for some reason. Comes near 
throwing her clean over the side saddle. 
Mob of people looking on. Mrs. L. a bit 
peeved. Busies himself adjusting balance 
strap. Hounds move off. Wishes all mem- 
bers of the family would stay together. 
There is Lillie away up in front, riding 
with loose reins and letting her horse 
crowd upon everybody. May get kicked. 
Would like to call out to her, but hates to 
bellow like that.) 

Mrs. L.: "I'm sorry, John, but the saddle 
is resting right on Big Brothers withers. I 
really should have a sheepskin." 

Mr. L.: "Well, Shinto is the only horse 
out with a sheepskin. I will get it for you." 
(Weaves way up front. Locates Lillie and 
pulls to side of road. When the field has 
passed, he takes sheepskin from Shinto and 
puts it on Big Brother, Gets very warm and 
feels mussy. 

(Family jiggle jaggles down the road. 
Aunt Agnes determined to catch up with 
field, commences to yaw, and it is evident 
boy cannot hold her. Gets horse stopped, 
dismounts and starts to tighten curb. Mare 
makes quick turn of head and breaks brim 
of new hunting derby. Mounts and they 
proceed. Footprints show that field has en- 
tered a meadow. Wishes they might have 
been with the field so that some one else 
might have slipped the rails. Dismounts 
and slips three obdurate chestnut rails. 
Shinto in exuberance jumps three feet over 
the bars and bucks on landing. Lillie loses 
hat and one stirrup but stays on. Picks up 
hat and tries to hand it to daughter, but 
horse will not let him approach. With 
mounting irritation crams hat in pocket 
and goes back to build up barway. Mounts 
and they start across meadow. Feels in 



en Famille 71 

{xxkct for gloves. Can only find one, new 
pair, hates riding without gloves. Goes 
back to barway but can't find other glove. 
Begins to feel all on edge. Sees the field at 
end of meadow against fringe of woods. 
Hears hounds open and sees field disappear 
up wood ride. Suggest they all jog. Try to 
jog but horses very keen and start canter- 
ing and continually going faster in spite 
of his protests and volley of instructions. 
They start up wood road, turn corner, and 
come upon whole field galloping towards 
them. A moment of awful suspense — Ex- 
horts family to do this and that. Pulls 
Hecanhopit up so short that Mrs. L. plows 
into him. Bellows to Lillie to stop her 
horse which she does with horse standing 
clear across the ride. Huntsman forces his 
way between Shinto's quarters and oak 
tree by lifting both legs high in air. Entire 
field stewing, mulling, steaming, and try- 
ing to get by and on. L. gets excited and 
says, "Pettibone, I wish you would kick 
your Aunt Agnes in the ribs, and make 
her move over," upon which a passing wag 
mutters something which irritates yet em- 
phasizes the inappropriateness of the 
horse's name. The field passes on. Family 
reorganizes and follows on. Upon reaching 
meadow they turn right-handed and start 
up another ride. Set of bars just ahead. 
Mrs. L. charges. Big Brother refuses. Mrs. 
L. within an ace of flopping off on near 
side. The affair gives him quite a turn. 
Pettibone, Jr. pleads to give Mother a lead. 
Charges. Mare stands away and makes an 
unexpectedly big jump. Pettibone Jr. lands 
on rear of saddle, losing left stirrup and 
reins, and so disappears round turn. What 
in the world will happen to the boy? He 
tells wife and daughter to wait. Sends 
Hecanhopit along at fence. Overtakes boy 



Gordon Grand 



who is quite intact. Boy tries to explain. 
L. very short with his heir. Returns to bar- 
way. Mrs. L. and daughter navigate jump 
very creditably. All hands hasten up die 
ride. Can hear hounds away up towards 
top of ridge. They keep plugging along, 
turning now right, now left, through a 
maze of paths. They can detect no foot- 
prints. Which way has field gone? Mount- 
ing a slight swale they hear hounds com- 
ing right at them. Stop their horses. Know 
only too well diat Huntsman, M.F.H., 
and field will be along directly, and they 
will be accused of heinous crimes. Hounds 
come on with a gorgeous burst of voice 
and come right up to where they are all 
huddled. Their horses must be standing on 
and soiling the very line of the hunted fox. 
Mr. Pettibone Lithgow would give half he 
possessed to be any place else in the world. 
Hounds' heads go up. There is not a whim- 
per to be heard. If only one hound would 
go over them, under them, around them, 
and find the line and go on. Would he 
dare exhort them and try and cast them.f^ 
Takes a chance — removes new hat with 
broken rim — waves hounds on — Hoick — 
Hoick — Hoick — Hoick forrard, indicating 
the supposed line. His voice sounds odd 



and unfamiliar. Hears horses galloping 
back of him. Looks. Huntsman appears, 
closely followed by M.F.H. and entire field. 
The family completely surrounded by 
hounds. Mr. L. starts to move away.) 

M.F.H.: "Hold hard. Sir, hold hard. You 
have either turned this fox, or at least 
have all heads in the air. Let the hounds 
hunt the fox. That's what they are for. You 
can't catch him with your hands." 

(Whole family upset. Children take it 
very seriously. Mr. L. believes the worst is 
over — when the wood resounds with pitiful 
lamentations. Aunt Agnes has kicked a 
hound.) 

The M.F.H.: "What horse has kicked 
that hound .f^" 

Mr. L.: "It was my son's mare. She is an 
experienced hunter and never did such a 
thing before." 

(M.F.H. says nothing and rides on. A 
hound feathers a short way down the slope 
— opens — is honored by the pack, and the 
field moves on.) 

Mrs. L.: "John, I really have quite a 
headache. If you don't mind I think I will 
pull out." 

Mr. L.: "Well, my dear, I think we have 
had enough for our first day out." 



ISABEL SCOTT RORICK (contemporary) 



Just Cause 



jrom MR. AND MRS. CUGAT 



What Mr. Munro does to the "English Hunting Set'' in Esme, Isabel 
Scott RoricI{ ta\es pleasure in doing to their American counterparts, 
though in a much less malicious fashion. Just Cause will appeal even 
more strongly to the ''non-horsey" audience than to those who may find 
the portrait a little too real to be funny \ This is also one of the very 
few stories concerning horses in which ''love' plays a parti 



D 



id Cory get home today as 
planned?" asked Mrs. Cugat, as 
she and Mr. Cugat sat down to 
dinner one early spring evening. 

"My, yes," replied Mr. Cugat in the fond, 
indulgent tone which any reference to this 
Damon to his Pythias invariably provoked. 
"And is he full of himself! If the trip did 
old Lady Bonbright half the good it did 
him — she's good for another twenty years." 

"Well, I'm glad he got something out of 
it," Mrs. Cugat said tenderly. "Not many 
men, who like a good time as much as he 
does, would be willing to spend a whole 
month taking a cruise with a sick old aunt 
— particularly a poor aunt. It was the sweet- 
est thing I ever heard of! Did he have 
any fun at 2&.V 

"I don't know — ^he's brown as a berry 
and beaming all over." Then he added 



thoughtfully, "He's coming over after din- 
ner — he says he's got something to tell us." 

"Something to tell us ?" 

"Yes," said Mr. Cugat uneasily. "You 
don't suppose, do you — ?" 

"Good Heavens — of course! He's got 
himself engaged again!" 

"He shows all the regular symptoms," 
admitted Mr. Cugat somberly. 

Cory, arriving immediately at the con- 
clusion of dinner, came in almost bashfully. 
He showed all the regular symptoms, Mrs. 
Cugat thought wryly, and then a few. He 
positively shone, and had a smily, secret 
look that could have been spotted across 
the street. 

"Darling, how well you look!" she ex- 
claimed, kissing him warmly. "Sit down 
and tell us everything — we want to hear 
it all." 



73 



74 



Isabel Scott Roric\ 



"Well/' said Mr. Carnvright, clearing 
his throat and beginning to tack nervously 
back and forth across the room with his 
hands in his pockets, "it was pretty swell." 

"What's she look like?" offered Mrs. 
Cugat helpfully. 

He turned a deep garnet and grinned 
gratefully. "Like a goddess/' he said 
huskily. 

"Not old Liberty?" flippantly interposed 
Mr. Cugat to cover his anxiety. "Myself, I 
think the type a little heavy — " 

"No, seriously, you two," said Cory, 
"this is the real thing at last. I want you to 
be the first to know. Look!" And with 
trembling fingers he produced a white vel- 
vet, gold-tooled box from his coat pocket, 
which he opened to display a really superb 
ruby. 

"Why, Cory, it's lovely!" breathed Mrs. 
Cugat in actual awe. "What a lucky girl 
she is ! Now stop fooling and answer a few 
questions." But she could not begin her 
catechism, of course, until Mr. Cugat had 
got through devoutly voiced congratula- 
tions; they had each taken a good poke at 
the other to clear the air, and then Mr. 
Cugat exclaimed, "How about a drink to 
the bride!" This had all happend once or 
twice before, so she waited patiently. 

"Now, then, tell me!" she demanded, as 
Mr. Cugat hastened to the pantry. 

"Well, her name's Claiborne Calhoun 
and I met her on the boat and she's a 
blonde and from Virginia and she was tak- 
ing the cruise to get over a fall she had 
off a horse," replied Cory, making an ob- 
vious effort to stick to bare informative 
facts and not panegyrize any more than he 
could help. "She looks sort of like you, 
Liz — aristocratic-like — only she's taller and 
more wholesome-looking — I mean, you 
know — a little more the athletic type." 



"Why, darling, she sounds lovely!" Mrs. 
Cugat exclaimed generously; "just the kind 
I'd always hoped you'd find. Did you meet 
the family?" 

"No, she had only 'Birdie' along to look 
after her — 'Birdie's' sort of an ex-govern- 
ess. But I'm going down there this week- 
end. — It's marvelous at this time of year 
and we're going to announce it on a hunt 
or something. Claiborne's joint master of 
the Old Commonwealth." 

They proceeded to drink toasts: to the 
bride and to the Old Commonwealth and 
to the S.S, American Manufacturer and to 
Cape Hatteras — off which, in a severe blow, 
realization of Cory's worth had come to 
Claiborne — and to "Birdie" and to old lady 
Bonbright, who, fortuitously, had re- 
mained bedded with lumbago from the 
second day out. 

"Well," said Mrs. Cugat, as they finally 
closed the front door on Cory's by then, 
dreamy countenance, "I really believe she's 
very suitable." 

"She sounds all right, at that," acknowl- 
edged Mr. Cugat. Then he added anxiously, 
"I hope you two get on." 

"Oh, we will," Mrs. Cugat yawned, 
"don't worry about that. I'd do anything 
to see Cory settled down and happy with 
the right girl, and this time I have a feeling 
everything's going to turn out well." Mr. 
Cugat kissed her tenderly and they climbed 
the stairs, rather spent. 

A week later they got a midnight tele- 
gram. "Announcing it Saturday. Need 
you. Cory," it said tersely. Mr. Cugat, 
huddled in his bathrobe, read it frowning 
and rubbed his chin. 

"He sounds sort of desperate," Mrs. 
Cugat commented, peering out anxiously 
from under her quilt. "Do you suppose 
everything's all right?" 



Mr. and 

"I don't know. Would you like to go? 
We could drive down for the week-end. 
It might be a pretty nice trip.'* 

"Oh, rd love it!" she cried. "What fun!" 
and dove beneath the quilt again to begin 
planning her clothes. 

It was a nice trip. They left on Thursday 
— unprecedented for Mr. Cugat, who was 
wont to say that his week-ends began Sat- 
urday noon — stayed the night at a country 
hotel and drove leisurely on the next morn- 
ing over clear sunny roads through snow- 
patched mountains. 

"What a lovely part of the country to 
live in," murmured Mrs. Cugat, smiling in 
pleasure as they passed a rolling field 
dappled with horses, a sun-splashed ravine, 
and a tiny brass-knockered house behind an 
old stone wall. "Maybe, since Claiborne 
likes to hunt, Cory will have a place down 
here and we can come to visit often." 

"Maybe," said Mr. Cugat, committing 
himself to nothing yet. "You know, we 
ought to be almost there — the Calhoun 
place should be just east of that last town 
we came through. We'd better stop and 
ask." 

"All right," she said, "the next man we 
see — " and then: "Oh, darling, be careful! 
Those sweet dogs — " They had rounded a 
turn in the narrow road and come abruptly 
upon a small meandering pack of hounds 
in the charge of a shambling individual in 
a long white coat. He carried a hunting- 
whip which he was flicking with all the 
unconcern possible, but, as the lash seemed 
possessed to wrap itself around his neck, 
the effect lacked nonchalance. Hearing the 
Cugats' car, he tucked the whip hastily un- 
derneath his arm and shooed the pack off 
the road with tlie long skirts of tlie coat 
— like an old woman shooing chickens 
with her apron. 



Mrs. Cugat y^ 

"Can you tell us the way to the Calhoun 
place?" called Mr. Cugat, drawing to a 
stop, and the figure turned. ''Cory, you old 
son-of-a-gun!" 

It was, in truth, Mr. Cartwright, but Mrs. 
Cugat was shocked at the change in him. 
His face looked drawn and actually surly. 
This expression, however, as he looked up 
was washed away almost immediately by 
one of clear and touching joy. 

"Hel/o/'' he yel|x:d, dropping the whip 
at the bottom of the ditch and scrambling 
up the bank to the car. "I'd hardly dared 
hope for you before dinnertime!" 

"There go your dogs!" exclaimed Mr. 
Cugat, pointing to a mass of wriggling 
sterns disappearing over a wall. 

"Let 'em go; they know their way home 
better than I do, anyway. Move over, let 
me in — Gosh, but it's good to see you two!" 

"Where's Claiborne?" queried Mrs. 
Cugat, "and what are you doing mooching 
along 'way out here with all those dogs?" 

"Hounds, pet, call them hounds. Never 
dogs. These are the lady hounds, and all 
about to become mothers. I have to take 
them for a damned walk every morning!" 
Then he added shortly, "Claiborne's at the 
kennels." 

He settled down between them and, 
lighting a cigarette, relaxed gratefully. 
"Turn to the left at the next crossroads," 
he said; "and don't hurry." 

They drove along, happy together in the 
sharp, misty morning, but Cory seemed to 
have very little to say. Pretty soon they 
turned through wide gates and wound be- 
tween rail fences. A fat white horse rolled 
and kicked in the sun; a brown mare with 
her leggy black baby trotted over to watch 
them pass; Mrs. Cugat was enchanted. 

"Oh, Cory," she exclaimed, "what a per- 
fectly beautiful place! Don't you love it? 



76 



Isabel Scott Roric^ 



When I think of the country around home ! 
Nothing but tractors, signboards, barbed 
wire, hot-dog stands — " 

"Uh-huh," said Cory. 

The house, when they reached it, sent 
Mrs. Cugat into further transports. Its 
porches were traditionally pillared, and 
vine-fringed balconies hung from upper 
windows; the door stood hospitably open 
to reveal delicate soaring stairs and a bright 
fire; an old colored man in a plum-colored 
coat with flat silver buttons hobbled down 
to open the luggage compartment. 

"Make yourselves at home," said Cory 
when they'd reached their charming be- 
ruffled bedroom. "I'm going to take a bath 
and get this stink off." 

"What's the matter with him?" asked 
Mrs. Cugat when the door had closed. "He 
seems sort of grouchy." 

"I don't know," said Mr. Cugat slowly. 

Miss Claiborne Calhoun looked exactly 
like a goddess — one of those blonde north- 
country ones. She came striding up from 
the direction of the kennels, expertly crack- 
ing her hunting-whip, just as Mr. and Mrs. 
Cugat emerged onto the porch after un- 
packing and changing into their best coun- 
trv clothes. Not once did the lash wind 
round her neck. She was dressed in 
breeches and canvas leggins and had on a 
filthy long white coat like Cory's, but Mrs. 
Cugat could notice nothing but her head, 
which was small and gilt and superbly set 
on her boyishly broad shoulders. Her eyes 
were the color of larkspur and had a level 
look, and her brown forehead was not fem- 
ininely rounded but in beautifully mod- 
eled planes like a man's. She looked very 
wholesome. She made Mrs. Cugat, in spite 
of her new tweed suit, feel like a nasty, 
curvesome little Dresden shepherdess. 



"Welcome to Green Trees," she said in a 
clear light voice and a buttoned-up British 
accent. "Have you managed to make your- 
selves comfortable .f^" She gripped their 
hands with cool, strong fingers and then 
called through the front door: "Enos! 
Enos! Where's Mr. Clay.?" 

"Yes'm, Miz Claiborne. Mist' Clay, he's 
out in the dinin'-room fixin' a toddy," 
gobbled the old negro with the plum coat, 
hastening into view. "Mistuh Cartwright, 
tho', he just took himself a stiff peg and 
went right back up to his room ag'in." 

Miss Calhoun laughed lightly. "Take a 
toddy up to him, Enos," she said amusedly; 
"he doesn't think he wants lunch." At that 
moment a long-nosed young man in a sag- 
ging and sun-faded tweed coat and worn 
breeches and boots emerged from the din- 
ing-room carrying five toddies on a tray. 
"The Cugats, Clay. This is Clay Lowrie, 
the better half of the Old Commonwealth." 

Mr. Lowrie acknowledged the introduc- 
tions and put the tray down. "What was 
the matter with Cartwright, Cal.?" he 
asked curiously. "He looked like he was 
goin' to be sick." 

"He ti'as sick," she replied, with a little 
underlying scorn in her tone, "on the 
pumphouse floor." Then she went on, 
laughing: "Melody whelped last night — 
ten — and all rather small — and Cory and I 
had just looked them over and gone out on 
the stoop to sit in the sun when out came 
Leighton after us with the runt and two 
others he didn't want and snapped their 
heads against a wheelbarrow. Poor Cory; 
after all, he had only just left off mooing 
and poking at the runt because he thought 
it showed personality or something. Leigh- 
ton ought, really, be a little more con- 
siderate of guests, I think." 

Mr. Lowrie smiled thinly. "Cartwright 



Mr. and 

will have to get used to our 11*1' ways,'* 
he said. 

Mrs. Cugat drank deeply of her toddy. 

"I think I'll go take a look at him," said 
Mr. Cugat, getting up abruptly. 

Cory appeared for lunch, looking pale, 
but dressed in extremely beautiful and very 
new riding-clothes. "Your boot garters are 
on backwards, my love," Miss Calhoun re- 
marked, giving him a cool glance over her 
soup. Then she went on to explain to Mrs. 
Cugat about her mother and father. They 
lived in Washington, she said, when they 
weren't in London, but, as for her, she 
couldn't swallow New Deal Washington. 
She and "Birdie," when they weren't in 
London, lived here at Green Trees. 
"Birdie's somewhere about," Miss Calhoun 
said carelessly. "Probably fussing over the 
announcement party tonight. I left it all 
to her — I can't think of anything but My 
Lady Satin. Clay, I've decided to breed 
her!" 

"Well! You came to it at last, eh.? That 
mare's been navicular for six months, but 
you just wouldn't admit she was through." 

"I know — I couldn't bear to — my own 
lovely Satin — " Miss Calhoun's clear, crisp 
voice had taken on an entirely new note — 
roughened and warm. 

"What are you sendin' her to.f^" Mr. 
Lowrie inquired interestedly. 

"Well," she hesitated, "Randolph's got 
Chance Gallant still standing at Foxes' 
Hole—" 

Mr. Lowrie hooted. "Chance Gallant! 
My Lord, baby, you haven't a hope!" 

"Oh, I knew you'd laugh," she said wist- 
fully. "Leighton did too — but I've got my 
heart set on him — nothing's too good for 
my Satin." 

"Chance Gallant is, honey," he said 
gently. "In the first place, the fee is 'way 
over your head; in the second place, his 



Mrs. Cugat 77 

book is full until year after next; and in 
the third place, *No maidens need apply.' " 
Miss Calhoun Ifxjked disconsolate. Then he 
added, "Besides, he isn't still standin' at 
Foxes' Hole — they shipped to Kentucky 
yesterday." 

"Oh, they did!" her voice sounded small 
and squeezed now, but she lifted her proud 
little head gamely. "Well, I guess that's 
that. I kept hoping like a fool that as long 
as he was still in the neighborhood I might 
work it somehow." 

"Plenty of good stallions around within 
reason," comforted Mr. Lowrie. "Take 
my Null and Void, for instance — " 

Mr. and Mrs. Cugat nodded and smiled 
and clucked in polite sympathy throughout 
this, but Cory, usually the most responsive 
of guests, ate on stolidly. 

"Now we'll all go out and look at the 
horses," he said suddenly as they finally 
pushed back their chairs. 

"That's right, darling," said Miss Cal- 
houn in a surprised voice. "I was just going 
to suggest it!" and she gave him the first 
nice look that the Cugats had seen sent 
in his direction all day. Its effect was 
pathetic — he bounded to meet it like an 
ecstatic spaniel. If Miss Calhoun had said, 
"Down, Cory-boy, down, I say!" Mrs. 
Cugat would not have been in the least sur- 
prised. 

The stables were extensive. Mrs. Cu^at 
was impressed. They idled along past box 
after box, stopping a little before each one 
to discuss and pat its occupant. A bow- 
legged, monosyllabic man in high-waisted 
breeches accompanied them, as well as the 
murderer, Leighton. Miss Calhoun and 
Mr. Lowrie made assertions and disagreed 
and disputed amiably at ever\' stall; 
Leighton diplomatically siding first with 
one and then with the other. The hi^h- 
waisted man spat philosophically and 



78 Isabel Scott 

opened and closed doors and produced 
sugar. The horses leaned out sociably. Mrs. 
Cugat wondered how, with so many horses, 
they ever remembered which was which, 
and halfway through stopped paying much 
attention and simply gave herself up to en- 
joying her surroundings. The stable was 
very pleasant — it had a nice smell — not 
ammoniac like the livery stable at home, 
but clean and pungent and leathery. The 
stalls had beautifully stained doors with 
wrought-iron hinges and brass nameplates 
(that's how they told!), and in the tack 
room hung row upon row of shining 
saddles and ribbony bridles. 

Mr. Cugat asked intelligent questions 
and appeared vastly interested — she was 
proud of him — but Cory lounged along 
looking half asleep and ventured little. 
Once he did timidly tweak a curl behind 
his beloved's ear, when he apparently 
thought Mr. Lowrie wasn't looking, but 
Miss Calhoun was at the time asserting 
witheringly that, as everybody knew, some 
old crock of Mr. Lowrie's had been gone 
in the wind for a year and he was a perfect 
ass to hold out for two hundred. She, 
though, might give him one-seventy-five, 
she let fall craftily — and brushed at the 
curl with impatience. 

In the last and largest box with the big- 
gest and shiniest nameplate lived My Lady 
Satin. "Lovely-Lovely," crooned Miss Cal- 
houn, stepping into the stall and rubbing 
her clear brown cheek against the shining 
neck. My Lady Satin pawed the floor and 
bunted Miss Calhoun around affection- 
ately. Cory looked out the window. "Come, 
darling, and show the lady and gentleman 
what a Beautiful you are! Come on, girl — 
come, Gorgeous.'* My Lady Satin tossed 
her head and rolled her eyes, but was 
finally prevailed upon to put her head in a 



Roric\ 

halter and emerge. She looked just like any 
odier horse to Mrs. Cugat, only bigger and 
nearer. Mrs. Cugat grasped Mr. Cugat's 
arm and held on tight, and My Lady Satin 
swished her tail and whinnied. 

"Did you ever," asked Miss Calhoun of 
Mr. Cugat, with a misty, love-clouded look, 
"see anything more perfect than this.?" 

"She's a beauty, all right!" said Mr. 
Cugat enthusiastically, and ran a profes- 
sional-looking eye over My Lady Satin and 
stroked her neck fearlessly. Mrs. Cugat 
watched him in admiration; then, for 
some reason, she looked at Mr. Lowrie — 
he was watching Miss Calhoun, and with 
a surprising expression on his sharp face. 
He looked tender. Cory continued to gaze 
dully out the window. 

However, this rapt though disparate at- 
mosphere was suddenly shattered; from 
outside came rapidly approaching sounds 
of tumult. My Lady Satin was turned over 
to the high-waisted man summarily and 
they all rushed to the door. The stable yard 
was full of hounds and, bounding up the 
path from the gate, came an apoplectic 
young man in a coverall, whipping and 
slashing the rear rank mercilessly and blis- 
tering the air with oaths. A few of the 
hounds were coupled together, but on most 
the couples dangled broken. Some still 
held on to what may, at one time, have 
been a white chicken, and all were splashed 
with blood. One proudly lugged along a 
large gray gander — ^very dead. 

"Why, Patton, what is it.? Clay, loo\l 
They're the bitches in whelp!" exclaimed 
Miss Calhoun. Then she turned to Cory: 
"How did this happen.? What have you 
done.? Didn't you put them in when you 
brought them back this morning.?" 

"Lord," said Cory, "that's right. They 
beat it off over a stone wall when Liz and 



Mr. and 

George drove along, but I was so tickled 
I just let 'em go. I figured they'd get home 
all right, knowing the country so well. Of 
course 1 meant to tell you, but, with one 
thing and another, I forgot." 

"They done a good two hundred dollars' 
worth of damage to mc," snarled the man 
named Patton. "Rioted all over my young 
box, killed a dozen or more hens, two 
shoats, and that gander." 

Mr. Lowrie and Leighton took imme- 
diate and admirable charge. 

"Wait here, Patton," said Miss Calhoun 
curtly, "while I go down to the kennels 
with them and see how many are missing." 

Mr. and Mrs. Cugat and Cory waited 
with Mr. Patton and heard again, and with 
embellishment, this frightful tale of pil- 
lage. Mr. Cugat looked grave, and Cory 
stricken. Mrs. Cugat patted Cory's hand 
comfortingly, but could think of nothing 
much to say. 

"Mr. Lowrie will see you the first thing 
in the morning, Patton," Miss Calhoun 
said, coming back up the path with Leigh- 
ton. "Figure it all up and we'll make it 
right. We're both very sorry. Such things 
don't happen often with this pack, you 
know." 

Mr. Patton departed, looking vindictive. 

"God, Leighton, it would be Patton, 
wouldn't it!" exclaimed Miss Calhoun, 
slapping agitatedly at her boot with her 
crop. "Now he'll probably take down our 
post and rail, and put up an electric fence 
or something. He's one of those progres- 
sive farmer boys," she explained to Mr. 
Cugat, "who went to agricultural school 
in Nebraska or somewhere — ^we've been 
handling him with kid gloves. Now this!" 
She turned on her heel and stalked into 
the house. Not once had she directed her 
ire at^ or even looked upon, Cory. Mrs. 



Mrs. Cugat 79 

Cugat watched her retreating figure in 
some admiration. 

She appeared again almost immediately, 
however, well in hand, and proceeded to 
arrange the afternoon for the pleasure of 
her guests. She and Cory and Mr. Cugat 
could exercise some horses, she said; Mr. 
Lowrie, in the car, could go and look 
at fences with Mrs. Cugat, who — wasn't 
she correct — hadn't sat on a horse for some 
time? She was correct. Mrs. Cugat hadn't 
sat on anything even resembling a horse 
since she'd been led around the park on a 
Shetland pony, screaming, at the age of six, 
Mrs. Cugat didn't think looking at fences 
(of all things) with the sardonic Mr. 
Lowrie sounded much fun, but she was 
politely anxious to fall in with any plans. 

They were, however, some time getting 
started because of Mr. Cugat's calves. Not 
booted since he was a polo-playing strip- 
ling, they had apparently muscled up and 
his boots wouldn't go on. A pair of Mr. 
Lowrie's were tried and a pair of Leigh- 
ton's, and then a pair produced by Miss 
Calhoun which belonged to her father. 
These, at last, he managed to squeeze into. 

"They're rather nice ones," Miss Calhoun 
commented. "Pa won them in a crap 
game off the Duke of Windsor." 

There was more to looking at fences 
with Mr. Lowrie than Mrs. Cugat had ex- 
pected. True, they bumped up one lane and 
down another and Mr. Lowrie scanned 
fences on bodi sides with a sharp eye wliile 
she drove; sometimes even getting out to 
shake a post or rattle a bar or stamp on 
the ground in front of a fence; but they 
also paid a lot of calls. As soon as they'd 
come to a farmhouse, however small, he'd 
tell her to turn in. The dour Mr. Lowrie, 
paying calls on farmers, waxed almost 
genial. Mrs. Cugat was surprised — he 



8o 



Isabel Scott Roncl{ 



seemed very popular. He'd ask about new 
babies, chronic ailments, and the state of 
crops; graciously sample drinks, pipe to- 
bacco, and baked goods, and always, and 
without fail, look at a horse. 

This last was hard on Mrs. Cugat, who 
had to get quite close to a number of 
horses with no Mr. Cugat there to cling to. 
But she covered her terror as best she could. 

"Are you trying to buy a horse?" she 
asked curiously, after a particularly long 
and footling discussion as to the merits of 
a shaggy flea-bitten gray, which had been 
proudly led out and trotted around a barn- 
yard. 

"No, they're tryin' to sell me a horse/' 
Mr. Lowrie replied — almost happily. 

"Why are they trying to sell you a 
horse?" she queried. 

"There's not a person in Virginia won't 
try to sell you a horse," he said. "It's in 
em. 

"Why do we keep looking at their 
horses, then?" asked Mrs. Cugat, deter- 
mined to get to the bottom of this. 

"My dear young lady, I'm a master of 
hounds," he replied with dignity. "And," 
he went on, "I flatter myself — rather a good 
one. That is, in so far as lookin' after the 
country and keepin' in with the farmers 
goes. We ride over some of their land, you 
see. It takes a lot of time, but it's my job 
and I like it — and them." 

Mrs. Cugat subsided, somewhat 
squelched. "Besides," he added, "I just 
might run into a bargain." 

"There's Foxes' Hole," he said a few 
minutes later, pointing with his ever-in- 
hand hunting-whip to an imposing white 
house with innumerable green-roofed out- 
buildings and sweeping gravelled drives. 
"That's the Randolph place. Randolph's 
the owner of Chance Gallant, you know." 



Then, as Mrs. Cugat looked unimpressed, 
"The stallion Cal was talkin' about at 
lunch. He is a horse, I will say, and be- 
tween you and me is bringin' a higher stud 
fee now than Man O' War in his best days. 
Cal's had her heart set on a Chance Gallant 
foal out of Satin ever since the mare went 
lame, but of course she'd be a fool to risk 
the price even if they'd consent to take 
her. Satin's a beauty, but hardly in that 
class. Cal, though, is crazier about that 
mare than anything — or anybody — in the 
world*. It's too bad the stallion's gone — I'd 
take you in to see him." 

They drove on, Mrs. Cugat giving silent 
thanks that there was one less horse in Vir- 
ginia to look at, especially one less stallion 
— the word sounded fire-breathing. 

"One more stop, straight down this road 
and then home," said Mr. Lowrie. "This 
won't take long, it's just old Lecorn — I 
want to speak to him about haulin' some 
rails for me." 

Old Lecorn was almost the unpleasant- 
est-looking man she had ever seen. One 
side of his face was sort of hooked up, 
which stretched the eye shut; besides which 
he seemed slightly half-witted. Terms were 
discussed over the front gate anent the 
hauling of a load of rails by Lecorn's 
team of mules, and then, as usual, they 
repaired to the barn. 

"That's a cute horse," said Mrs. Cugat, 
still politely determined to keep up her 
end. 

"That's a jackass, mam," said Lecorn 
with a crooked, squinting smile. 

"Oh, it isT exclaimed Mrs. Cugat. 
"Well! What do you do with jackasses, 
now.'' 

"Jackass on a mare gets a mule," Mr. 
Lowrie put in briefly. 

"Oh, I see! Oh." Would she, Mrs. Cugat 



Mr, and 

wondered, after a little more time in Vir- 
ginia — ? 

They arrived home to find Mr. Cugat 
prostrate and pale in a porch chair, several 
people w^orking over him anxiously. The 
Duke of Windsor's boots would not come 
off. 

"A liT tight, eh?" said Mr. Lowrie, 
sauntering up the steps. 

"What do you think!" barked Cory, ten- 
derly holding a brimming straightshot to 
Mr. Cugat's lips. 

"Ah knowed a man once't who hadda 
have both laigs sawed off," old Enos remi- 
nisced. "His boots stuck tight an' the blud 
all stopped an' his laigs jus' died.'* 

"I'm really afraid they'll have to be cut, 
Clay," Miss Calhoun said sadly, and Mrs. 
Cugat paled. "The boots, I mean," she 
added patiently. "We've worked and 
worked, but his legs have swollen now, and 
you know how that feels. He's about all 
in." 

Mr. Lowrie gave her a long sympathetic 
look and then set to work with his knife. 
The Duke of Windsor's boots, evidently 
considered rather in the light of a museum 
piece, were not cut without a pang. Mr. 
Cugat, finally released, was helped wob- 
bling up the stairs. It was time to dress for 
the announcement party. 

The party was lovely. "Birdie" (a Miss 
Byrd, lacking none of the Admiral's tal- 
ents for accomplishment) must have felt 
amply repaid by the results of her "fuss- 
ing." The drawing-room was candlelit, the 
stairway hung with green; beaming 
negroes ladled champagne cup from bur- 
nished bowls, and the guests looked beau- 
tiful and distinguished. Women wore their 
grandmothers' jewelry — men, pink evening 
coats. Mr. Cugat and Cory, honest in tux- 
edos, looked a little like somebody got in 
to keep an eye on the flat silver. 



Mrs. Cugat 8 1 

Intuition, however, had told Mrs. Cugat 
to bring her off-the-shouldcr black lace, 
and she looked lovely. So, in white tulle, 
did Miss Calhoun. Miss Calhoun looked 
radiant. There were only a chosen few, 
however, who knew that this radiance was 
not altogether induced by joy in her own 
betrothal — Mr. Randolph of Foxes' Hole 
was among those present! And it was not 
to be bruited about, but he was not send- 
ing Chance Gallant to Kentucky until next 
week! Furthermore, by way of an engage- 
ment present to the daughter of his oldest 
friend, he had expansively promised that 
Chance Gallant would be at home to My 
Lady Satin at any time and on a purely 
social footing. (For an engagement pres- 
ent! thought Mr. and Mrs. Cugat, strangers 
in a strange land.) Mr. Lowrie congratu- 
lated Miss Calhoun on her extraordinary 
good luck. Cory remained apathetic. 

The party waxed gayer and gayer and 
the drawing-room floor was cleared for 
dancing. Mrs. Cugat found herself in great 
demand, and Mr. Cugat, gradually regain- 
ing the use of his legs, trod a careful mea- 
sure. Virginians were nice, they confided 
to each other, if caught singly. Two Vir- 
ginians, of course, talked horse. 

At the height of the gaiety, however, the 
little high-waisted man from the stables 
appeared in the door, beckoning urgendy. 
"Mis Claiborne, Miss Claiborne," he whis- 
pered, "you'd better come. Merry Margaret 
looks like foalin'." 

"Right away, Reagan," she said quickly 
and, without hesitation, left the arms of a 
pink-coated gallant who waltzed liked a 
dream and slipped briskly into the dirty 
white coat held for her. 

"Don't you want me to come with you V 
oftered Mr. Lowrie. 

"No," she replied lightly. "Cory will. It 
will be tremendously interesting for him — 



82 



Isabel Scott 



believe it or not, he's never seen a foal 
born! Carry on here, Clay, as host. You 
know Merry Margaret — it may be hours." 
Cory gave Mr. Lowrie a triumphant look 
and with a springy step followed his be- 
trotlied out into the night. 

It was early in the following rosy dawn 
that Mrs. Cugat woke suddenly to hear 
him come in. She sat up in bed and 
hstened. He was being sick in the bath- 
room. 

"Darling, what do you really think 
about this engagement?" Mrs. Cugat whis- 
pered worriedly, as she and Mr. Cugat 
dressed next morning. 

"He's done it this time," Mr. Cugat said, 
leaning over with a groan to tie his shoe. 

"George, he doesn't fit in down here and 
he never will," persisted Mrs. Cugat. "I 
want to cry every time I look at him — 
cute, funny Cory, who's never at a loss and 
the life of every party — Why, he's miser- 
able! He can have pretty near any girl in 
the world he wants and goes and picks 
one like Claiborne. I can't imagine what 
she'll do at home — ^none of us ever breed 
anything!" 

"I know," said Mr. Cugat slowly. ^'That's 
the trouble with a shipboard romance — 
everybody's out of his true environment 
and bathed in tropical moonlight — The 
trouble is now that Claiborne and Cory are 
both too gentlemanly to break it up." 

"Well, I'm not," said Mrs. Cugat, fluffing 
out her hair spiritedly. "I never did like 
fine gentlemanly women, anyway!" 

"Now, Liz," warned Mr. Cugat anx- 
iously, "remember it's none of your busi- 
ness." 

"None of my business! If that's not just 
like a man— you feel much worse about it 
than I do, but you'd just sit by and watch 
him ruin his life and not raise a finger!" 



Roricf{^ 

"There's nothing in the world I wouldn't 
do for Cory," declaimed Mr. Cugat heat- 
edly, "but some things are taboo. Women 
don't understand." 

*T11 say they don't!" retorted Mrs. Cugat 
in scorn, and they descended to the dining- 
room. 

A number of people were there — every- 
one dressed in hunting-clothes. Claiborne 
looked like a slim young English prince. 
Mr. Lowrie, Mrs. Cugat thought, was the 
only man she had ever seen on whom a 
pink coat did not look like fancy dress. 
It looked as if it grew on him. Poor Cory, 
though, evidently at the mercy of some 
cruel custom which Mrs. Cugat decided 
was probably designed to put probationary 
hunters at the biggest disadvantage pos- 
sible, was unbecomingly garbed in a sena- 
torial-looking black coat, a wispy white 
stock, and a somewhat low derby, locked 
on with a cord. He looked like a lugu- 
brious monkey on a stick. 

"Tie his stock for him, will you, Clay.^^" 
Miss Calhoun begged in passing. "He's got 
it right over left again." 

Mrs. Cugat simmered. 

Mr. and Mrs. Cugat watched the hunt 
from a car. What they could see of it. And 
what they could see of it, Mrs. Cugat didn't 
think much of— little mechanical-looking 
figures moving across a hillside or standing 
interminably about against a dark mass of 
trees. Only once did Mr. Cugat exclaim, 
"By George, there he goes! Close along 
that fence!" and train his glasses on a 
near-by hill. 

Mrs. Cugat bounced with excitement. 
"He's winning, he's winning!" she cried 
as the field thundered by and sailed a stone 
wall, Cory back in his saddle and well in 
the lead of everybody, including hounds. 

They drove back to Green Trees after a 



Mr. and 

time and ate luncheon alone with "Birdie.'* 
There was no tell in' when the hunters 
would come in, she said. She herself was 
goin' to take a nap. Mr. Cugat thought this 
an excellent idea and repaired to his room. 
Mrs. Cugat wandered into the drawing- 
room and sank into a high-backed chair 
with a copy of Blood Horse, which she 
thought might prove instructive. It didn't, 
for she dozed off, and only woke with a 
start to find it dusk and herself an em- 
barrassed eavesdropper. 

"Cal, honey, are you still goin' through 
with this ridiculous engagement business?" 
asked Mr. Lowrie's drawling voice behind 
her with an almost appealing note of 
pleading. 

"Certainly," came Miss Calhoun's clip- 
ped accents; "and why not, may I ask.f^" 
She was apparently slapping at her boot 
with her whip again. 

"Why not, Cal! You ask that! You must 
have had your eyes shut all day." 

"Yes.?" 

"Yes, you know what I'm talkin' about. 
Your hero not only kept well out in front 
of the huntsman all the time, but he 
trampled Bugler, Dido, and Merrylegs in 
a lane, galloped over Patton's crocus bed 
and cut in on Mrs. Fairchild at a five- 
barred gate that she was goin' at like a 
train. He refused the gate, of course." 

"He couldn't hold his horse," said Miss 
Calhoun shortly. 

"Exactly," said Mr. Lowrie, "and what 
was his horse } None other than old Snow- 
ball, who carried your eight-year-old cousin 
all last season without a mistake. I did 
what I could for him." 

"Oh, you know Snowball, Clay. She's 
got a mouth of iron if you take hold of it." 

"Well, that lad takes a nice hold, all 
right. To think of a Calhoun marryin' a 
man with bad handd" 



Mrs. Cugat 83 

Miss Calhoun said nothing. 

"Furtfiermorc," said Mr. Lowrie disgust- 
edly, "he'd get lonesome or somethin' and 
ride up to pass the time o' day every time 
hounds were findin' — but to top all, after 
the kill he went behind a tree and was 
sick." 

"Not again!" she sighed. 

"Oh, Cal, look at this thing sensibly. 
They're nice enough fellows, both of them 
— a couple of weanlin' financiers. But what 
do you want with a man like that? You 
won't even need his fortune after he's made 
it. And what are you goin' to do for 
huntin'? Cugat says in their country they 
hunt wolves — from Lincoln Zephyrs — with 
automatic shotguns!" 

Mrs. Cugat's eyes widened — Mr. Cugat's 
ways were devious! 

"Oh shut up!" Miss Calhoun's voice 
sounded strained. 

"That's right, take it out on me. You've 
got the worst temper of any woman I ever 
saw and you haven't let fly at him once, 
although he's done enough to drive you off 
your head." 

"I know, Clay," she said huskily, "but 
you don't understand. You just can't get 
mad at him. He's one of those people that 
nobody's ever been mad at, I believe. He's 
really a darling — but not himself down 
here, somehow. On the boat he was won- 
derful." 

"Maybe I'm wonderful on a boat, too; 
you've never seen me." Mr. Lowrie's voice 
was getting husky too. Mrs. Cugat hunched 
in her chair uncomfortably. 

"I've seen you on a horse, dear," Miss 
Calhoun said gently. "You don't have to 
show me how w^onderful you are." 

"I'd like to try showin' you on a boat," 
Mr. Lowrie said wistfully, and Mrs. 
Cugat's heart went suddenly out to him. 
Poor Mr. Lowrie^ only known to be won- 



84 



Isabel Scott Roric\ 



derful on a horse — he'd never get any- 
where. Whereas Cory — But there were 
Claiborne and Cory — both gentlemen and 
helpless. Claiborne herself had admitted — 
almost tearfully — that nobody could get 
mad at Cory. If only someone could just 
make her get mad at him! Mrs. Cugat, 
who was no gentleman, huddled thought- 
fully down in her chair. 

"Shall we go look at the horses .f^" said 
Miss Calhoun brightly as they arose that 
evening from an early supper. 

"I saw the horses yesterday," said Mr. 
Cugat innocently, and sauntered out into 
the hall to look for the New York papers. 

"So did I," muttered Cory, hobbling 
[)ainfully after him, "but haven't you found 
out yet that in Virginia we look at the 
damned horses after every damned meal!" 

Miss Calhoun blinked — surprised and 
hurt. "Darling, I didn't know you felt that 
way about it," she remonstrated. "Of 
course we do! My poor Lady Satin! She'd 
be heart-broken if I didn't come to see her." 

"Lady Satin, faugh!" exploded Cory in 
magnificent contempt. "I wish that big 
Spark Plug'd never been born!" 

"Why, Cory," said Mrs. Cugat, in an 
anxious endeavor to dispel tension. "I be- 
lieve you're jealous." 

"That's me, all right," he snorted. "Jeal- 
ous of a three-legged horse!" and limped 
sputtering out of sight. 

"I'll go with you, Claiborne," Mrs. Cugat 
said valiantly. "I love looking at those 
beautiful horses." 

Fortunately for her, Leighton was wait- 
ing in the yard. "Miss Claiborne," he said, 
"I made a mistake about that Upperville 
sale; it's Monday instead of Tuesday. We'll 
have to go over tomorrow." 

"That's bad — I'll have to leave a house- 
ful of guests — " 



"Please don't worry about us, Claiborne," 
protested Mrs. Cugat. "We'll get along all 
right. If it's something important — " 

"It is," Miss Calhoun said thoughtfully. 
"There's a chance to pick up something 
pretty good in brood mares at that sale. 
Lord ! and I wanted to send Satin to Foxes' 
Hole tomorrow too, before Randolph 
changes his mind. But if you and I and 
Ned go with the van, Leighton, that leaves 
nobody on the place but the kennel boy 
or Reagan to drive her over in the trailer, 
and I don't trust either one of them with 
it on these hills. I have it, though!" — she 
turned to Mrs. Cugat — "Cory's good with 
cars. Why can't Reagan load her and then 
George and Cory run her down — ^if they 
will.f^ I could phone Foxes' Hole tonight 
that she's coming, and then all they'll have 
to do is wait while she's unloaded and 
drive the trailer back." 

Mr. Cugat and Cory appeared, strolling 
together through the dusk, and the sub- 
ject was tactfully broached. Both said sure 
and that they'd drive very carefully. 

"How far is it — dear.f*" asked Cory, 
sounding timid. 

"Just up the road," said Leighton, "you 
can't miss it. Big trees, white gate, green 
mailbox, and they'll be expecting you." 

Mr. Cugat and Cory lit their pipes and 
strolled away — in the opposite direction, 
however, from the stables. 

"May I borrow the station wagon .f^" 
asked Mrs. Cugat suddenly. "I want to send 
a telegram." 

"Phone it," said Miss Calhoun. 

"I'll go, I believe — there's something I 
want to get. The stores are open on Satur- 
day night, aren't they.f^" She was halfway 
to the garage. 

"What in time are you doing.?" Mr. 



Mr. and 

Cugat muttered, sticking his head out of 
the covers at five o'clock the next morning. 

"Shhh!" whispered Mrs. Cugat. "I woke 
up, so I just thought rd go out and help 
poor Cory with those hounds. I don't want 
him to get in any worse than he is! You 
go back to sleep." 

"I certainly will!" sputtered Mr. Cugat. 
^'HoundsT 

Mrs. Cugat slipped back into the bed- 
room several hours later, disheveled and 
weary. Mr. Cugat was not there. She could 
hear him and Cory and Reagan out in the 
yard loading My Lady Satin into the 
trailer. Miss Calhoun, Leighton, and Ned 
had left at daybreak, as planned, in a van 
that looked Hke the club car on a trans- 
continental streamliner. Mrs. Cugat had 
seen them go from a crouching position 
under a lilac bush. She stretched and 
yawned now, and then went into the bath- 
room to draw a bath. When Mr. Cugat 
came in an hour later, she was dozing 
across the foot of the bed. 

"Oh hello, you back.?" she said, and sat 
up eagerly. 

"Back again," said Mr. Cugat, whistling 
cheerily. "Where you been? Cory said you 
weren t — 

"Tell me cdl about it!" Mrs. Cugat inter- 
rupted. 

"Liz!" expostulated Mr. Cugat, scandal- 
ized. 

"Oh — I mean did you find the place all 
right ? And did you and Cory get Trecious' 
safely unloaded and so forth?" 

"Sure," he said. "We didn't have to do a 
thing; there was a fella there waiting for 
us who was very handy getting her out." 

"What'd he look like?" Mrs. Cugat 
asked breathlessly. 

"Sort of half-witted. One side of his face 
all squinted up." 



Mrs. Cugat 85 

Mrs. Cugat had hopped off the bed. 
"Come on and pack, George. I think you 
and I better be getting out of here." 

"Getting out — why?" 

"I think Cory's engagement is about to 
be broken." 

"What on earth arc you talking about?" 

"Claiborne's going to get mad at him 
this time — he's just taken 'Beautiful' to be 
bred to a jackass!" 

"What?" 

"Accidentally, of course — but she'll 
never believe it." 

"What do you mean?" 

" 'Jackass on a mare gets a mule,' " re- 
cited Mrs. Cugat glibly, "and you took 
'Lovely-Lovely' where a jackass lives." 

"We did not!" Mr. Cugat protested. 
"We went to the place they told us — right 
up the road, big trees, white gate, green 
mailbox, looked like a fox's hole, and the 
man was expecting us." 

"I know," said Mrs. Cugat, piling clothes 
into her suitcase. "I was up there this morn- 
ing, paid him a thirty-dollar stud fee and 
told him Lady Satin was on the way- 
then I went out and painted his mail-box 
green. Get going, darling — we've got to 
hurry." 

"Ah," exclaimed Mrs. Cugat, from be 
hind the evening paper, ten days later and 
safe at home, "here we are ! 'Sailing tonight 
aboard the S.S. Mariposa for an extended 
cruise of the South Seas will be Mr. Cory 
Cartwright of this city. Mr. Cartwright 
plans to spend some time on the island of 
Bali. Accompanying him is his great-aunt, 
Miss Lydia Bonbright of Four Forks, 
Iowa.' — Darling, it worked!" 

Mr. Cugat raised his eyes. "Have you 
thought how we'll look in sarongs?" he 
asked gravely. 



DA^aD GRAY (1870- ) 

Mr. Carteret and His 
Fellow Americans Abroad 



from MR. CARTERET 



Although this story is not quite as tvell \notvn as Gallops, surely, 
of all the hilarious tales that David Gray has given us, this is both 
hilarious and original! No one but an American who had visited much 
in England could have written this story, and no one but an American 
who has bearded the hunting Englishman in his den can really appreciate 
the picture as the author draws it I 



It must have been highly interesting," 
observed Mrs. Archie Brav^le; "so 
much pleasanter than a concert." 

"Rather!" replied Lord Frederic. "It was 
ripping!" 

Mrs. Ascott-Smith turned to Mr. Car- 
teret. She had been listening to Lord Fred- 
eric Westcote, v^ho had just come down 
from town where he had seen the Wild 
West show. "Is it so.?" she asked. "Have 
you ever seen them.?" By "them" she 
meant the Indians. 

Mr. Carteret nodded. 

"It seems so odd," continued Mrs. Archie 
Brawle, "that they should ride without 
saddles, is it a pose.?" 

"No, I fancy not," replied Lord Frederic. 

"They must get very tired without stir- 
rups," insisted Mrs. Archie. "But perhaps 
they never ride very long at a time." 



"That is possible," said Lord Frederic 
doubtfully. "They are only on about 
twenty minutes in the show." 

Mr. Pringle, the curate, who had hap- 
pened in to pay his monthly call upon Mrs. 
Ascott-Smith, took advantage of the pause. 
"Of course, I am no horse-man," he began 
apprehensively, "and I have never seen the 
red Indians, either in their native wilds 
or in a show, but I have read not a little 
about them, and I have gathered that they 
almost live on horseback." 

Major Hammerslea reached toward the 
tea table for another muffin and hemmed. 
"It is a very different thing," he said with 
heavy impressiveness. "It is a very differ- 
ent thing." 

The curate looked expectant, as if be- 
lieving that his remarks were going to be 



86 



Mr. Carteret 



noticed. But nothing was farther from the 
Major's mind. 

"What is so very different?" inquired 
Mrs. Ascott-Smith, after a pause had made 
it clear that the Major had ignored Pringle. 

"It is one thing, my dear Madame, to 
ride a stunted, half-starved pony, as you 
say, ^bareback' and another to ride a con- 
ditioned British hunter (he pronounced it 
huntaw) w^ithout a saddle. I must say that 
the latter is an impossibility." The oracle 
came to an end and the material Major 
began on a muffin. 

There was an approving murmur of as- 
sent. The Major was the author of "School- 
ing and Riding British Hunters"; however, 
it was not only his authority which swayed 
the company, but individual conviction. Of 
the dozen people in the room, excepting 
Pringle, all rode to hounds with more or 
less enthusiasm, and no one had ever seen 
any one hunting without a saddle, and no 
one had ever experienced any desire to try 
the experiment. 

"Nevertheless," observed Lord Frederic, 
"I must say their riding is very creditable 
— quite as good as one sees on any polo 
field in England." 

Major Hammer slea looked at him se- 
verely, as if his youth were not wholly an 
excuse. "It is, as I said," he observed. "It 
is one thing to ride an American pony and 
another to ride a British hunter. One re- 
quires horsemanship, the other does not. 
And horsemanship," he continued, "which 
properly is the guiding of a horse across 
country, requires years of study and ex- 
perience." 

Lord Frederic looked somewhat uncon- 
vinced, but he said nothing. 

"Of course the dear Major (she called 
it deah Majaw) is quite right," said Mrs. 
Ascott-Smith. 



«7 

"Undoubtedly," said Mr. Carteret. "I 
suppose that he has often seen these Indians 
ride ?" 

"Have you often seen these Indians 
ride?" inquired Mrs. Ascott-Smith of the 
Major. 

"Do you mean Indians or the Red Men 
of North America?" replied the Major. 
"And do you mean ride upon ponies in a 
show or ride upon British hunters?" 

"Which do you mean?" asked Mrs. 
Ascott-Smith. 

"I suppose that I mean American In- 
dians," said Mr. Carteret, "and either upon 
ponies or upon British hunters." 

"No," said the Major. "I have not. Have 
you r 

"Not upon British hunters," said Mr. 
Carteret. 

"But do you think that they could?" in- 
quired Lord Frederic. 

"It would be foolish of me to express an 
opinion," replied Mr. Carteret, "because, 
in the first place, I have never seen them 
ride British hunters over fences — " 

"They would come off at the first ob- 
stacle," observed the Major, more in sor- 
row than in anger. 

"And in the second place," continued 
Mr. Carteret, "I am perhaps naturally pre- 
judiced in behalf of my fellow country- 
men." 

Mrs. Ascott-Smith looked at him anx- 
iously. His sister had married a British 
peer. "But you Americans are quite distinct 
from the Red Indians," she said. '*We quite 
understand that nowadays. To be sure, my 
dear Aunt — " she stopped. 

"Rather!" said Mrs. Archie Brawle. "You 
don't even intermarry with them, do you?" 

"That is a matter of personal taste," said 
Mr. Carteret. "There is no law against it." 



88 David 

"But nobody that one knows — " began 
Mrs. Ascott-Smith. 

"There was John Rolfe," said Mr. Car- 
teret; "he was a very well known chap." 

"Do you know hun?" asked Mrs. 
Brawle. 

The curate sniggered. His hour of 
triumph had come. "Rolfe is dead," he 
said. 

"Really!" said Mrs. Brawle, coldly. "It 
had quite slipped my mind. You see I never 
read the papers during hunting. But is his 
wife received.^" 

"I believe that she was," said Mr. Car- 
teret. 

The curate was still sniggering and Mrs. 
Brawle put her glass in her eye and looked 
at him. Then she turned to Mr. Carteret. 
"But all this," she said, "of course has noth- 
ing to do with the question. Do you think 
that these red Indians could ride bareback 
across our country.^" 

"As I said before," replied Mr. Carteret, 
"It would be silly of me to express an 
opinion, but I should be interested in seeing 
them try it." 

"I have a topping idea!" cried Lord 
Frederic. He was an enthusiastic, simple- 
minded fellow. 

"You must tell us," exclaimed Mrs. 
Ascott-Smith. 

"Let us have them down, and take them 
hunting!" 

"How exciting!" exclaimed Mrs. Ascott- 
Smith. "What sport!" 

The Major looked at her reprovingly. 
"It would be as I said," he observed. 

"But it would be rather interesting," said 
Mrs. Brawle. 

"It might," said the Major, "it might be 
interesting." 

"It would be ripping!" said Lord Fred- 
eric. "But how can we manage it.'^" 



Gray 

"I'll mount them," said the Major with a 
grim smile. "My word ! They shall have the 
pick of my stable though I have to spend 
a month rebreaking horses that have run 
away." 

"But it isn't the difficulty of mounting 
them," said Lord Frederic. "You see Fve 
never met any of these chaps." He turned 
to Mr. Carteret with a sudden inspiration. 
"Are any of them friends of yours .f^" he 
asked. 

Mrs. Ascott-Smith looked anxiously at 
Mr. Carteret as if she feared that it would 
develop that some of the people in the 
show were his cousins. 

"No," he replied, "I don't think so, al- 
though I may have met some of them in 
crossing reservations. But I once went 
shooting with Grady, one of the managers 
of the show." 

"Better yet!" said Lord Frederic. "Do 
you think that he would come and bring 
some of them down.^^" he asked. 

"I think he would," said Mr. Carteret. 
He knew that the showman was strong in 
Grady — as well as the sportsman. 

The Major rose to go to the billiard 
room. "I have one piece of advice to give 
you," he said. "This prank is harmless 
enough, but establish a definite understand- 
ing with this fellow that you are not to be 
liable in damages for personal injuries 
which his Indians may receive. Explain to 
him that it is not child's play and have him 
put it in writing." 

"You mean have him execute a kind of 
release .f^" 

"Precisely that," said the Major. "I was 
once sued for twenty pounds by a groom 
that fell off my best horse and let him run 
away, and damme, the fellow recovered." 
He bowed to the ladies and left the room. 

"Of course we can fix all that up," said 



Mr. 

Lord Frederic. "The old chap is a bit over- 
cautious nowadays, but how can we get 
hold of this fellow Grady?" 

"I'll wire him at once, if you wish," said 
Mr. Carteret, and he went to the writing 
table. "When do you want him to come 
down?" he asked as he began to write. 

"We might take them out with the 
Quorn on Saturday," said Lord Frederic, 
"but the meet is rather far for us. Perhaps 
it would be better to have them on Thurs- 
day with Charley Ploversdale's hounds." 

Mr. Carteret hesitated a moment. 
"Wouldn't Ploversdale be apt to be fussy 
about experiments? He's rather conserva- 
tive, you know, about the way people are 
turned out. I saw him send a man home 
one day who was out without a hat. It was 
an American who was afraid that hats 
made his hair come out." 

"Pish," said Lord Frederic. "Charley 
Ploversdale is as mild as a dove." 

"Suit yourself," said Mr. Carteret. "I'll 
make it Thursday. One more question," he 
added. "How many shall I ask him to 
bring down?" At this moment the Major 
came into the room again. He had mislaid 
his eyeglasses. 

"I should think that a dozen would be 
about the right number," said Lord Fred- 
eric, replying to Mr. Carteret. "It would 
be very imposing." 

"Too many!" said the Major. "We must 
mount them on good horses and I don't 
want my entire stable ruined by men who 
have never lepped a fence." 

"I think the Major is right about the 
matter of numbers," said Mr. Carteret, 
"how would three do?" 

"Make it three," said the Major. 

Before dinner was over a reply came 
from Grady saying that he and three bucks 



Carteret %^ 

would be pleased to arrive Thursday 
morning prepared for a hunting party. 

This took place on Monday, and at var- 
ious times during Tuesday and Wednes- 
day Mr. Carteret gave the subject thought. 
By Thursday morning his views had rip- 
ened. He ordered his tea and eggs to be 
served in his room and came down a little 
past ten dressed in knickerbockers and an 
old shooting coat. He wandered into the 
dining-room and found Mrs. Ascott-Smith 
sitting by the fire entertaining Lord Fred- 
eric, as he went to and from the sideboard 
in search of things to eat. 

"Good morning," said Mr. Carteret, 
hoarsely. 

Lord Frederic looked around and as he 
noticed Mr. Carteret's clothes his face 
showed surprise. 

"Hello!" he said. "You had better hurry 
and change, or you'll be late. We have to 
start in half an hour to meet Grady." 

Mr. Carteret coughed. "I don't think 
that I can go out today. It is a great dis- 
appointment." 

"Not going hunting?" exclaimed Mrs. 
Ascott-Smith. "What is the matter?" 

"I have a bad cold," said Mr. Carteret 
miserably. 

"But, my dear fellow," exclaimed Lord 
Frederic, "it will do your cold a world of 
good!" 

"Not a cold like mine," said Mr. Car- 
teret. 

"But this the day, don't you know?" said 
Lord Frederic. "How am I going to man- 
age things without you?" 

"All that you have to do is to meet them 
at the station and take them to the meet," 
said Mr. Carteret. "Everything else has 
been arranged." 

"But Im awfully disappointed," said 
Lord Frederic. "I had counted on vou to 



90 



David Gray 



help, don't you see, and introduce them to 
Ploversdale. It would be more graceful for 
an American to do it than for me. You 
understand?" 

"Yes," said Mr. Carteret," I understand. 
It's a great disappointment, but I must bear 
it philosophically." 

Mrs. Ascott-Smith looked at him sym- 
pathetically, and he coughed twice. "You 
must be suffering," she said. "Freddy, you 
really must not urge him to expose him- 
self. Have you a pain here?" she inquired, 
touching herself in the region of the pleura. 

"Yes," said Mr. Carteret, "it is just there, 
but I daresay it will soon be better." 

"I am afraid not," said his hostess. "This 
is the way pneumonia begins. You must 
take a medicine that I have. They say it is 
quite wonderful for inflammatory colds. 
I'll send Hodgson for it," and she touched 
the bell. 

"Please, please don't take that trouble," 
entreated Mr. Carteret. 

"But you must take it," said Mrs. Ascott- 
Smith. "They call it Broncholine. You pour 
it in a tin and inhale it or swallow it, I 
forget which, but it's very efficacious. They 
used it on Teddy's pony when it was sick. 
The little creature died, but that was be- 
cause they gave it too much, or not enough, 
I forget which. 

Hodgson appeared and Mrs. Ascott- 
Smith gave directions about the Broncho- 
line. 

"I thank you very much," said Mr. Car- 
teret humbly, "I'll go to my room and try 
it at once." 

"That's a good chap!" said Lord Fred- 
eric, "perhaps you will feel so much better 
that you can join us." 

"Perhaps," said Mr. Carteret gloomily, 
"or it may work as it did on the pony," and 
he left the room. 



After Hodgson had departed from his 
chamber leaving explicit directions as to 
how and how not to use the excellent 
Broncholine, Mr. Carteret poured a quan- 
tity of it from the bottle and threw it out 
of the window, resolving to be on the safe 
side. Then he looked at his boots and his 
pink coat and his white leathers, which 
were laid out upon the bed. "I don't think 
there can be any danger," he thought, "if 
I turn up after they have started. I loathe 
stopping in all day." He dressed leisurely, 
ordered his second horse to be sent on, 
and some time after the rest of the house- 
hold had gone to the meet he sallied forth. 
As he knew the country and the coverts 
which Lord Ploversdale would draw, he 
counted on joining the tail of the hunt, 
thus keeping out of sight. He inquired of 
a rustic if he had seen hounds pass and 
receiving a "no" for an answer, he jogged 
on at a faster trot, fearing that the hunt 
might have gone away in some other di- 
rection. 

As he came around a bend in the road, 
he saw four women riding toward him, 
and as they drew near he saw that they 
were Lady Violet Weatherbone and her 
three daughters. These young ladies were 
known as the Three Guardsmen, a sobri- 
quet not wholly inappropriate; for, as Lord 
Frederic described them, they were "big- 
boned, up-standing fillies," between twenty- 
five and thirty, and very hard goers across 
any country, and always together. 

"Good morning," said Mr. Carteret, 
bowing. "I suppose the hounds are close 
by?" It was a natural assumption, as Lady 
Violet, on hunting days, was never very 
far from hounds. 

"I do not know," she responded, and her 
tone further implied that she did not care. 

Mr. Carteret hesitated a moment. "Is 



Mr. 

anything the matter?" he asked. "Has any- 
thing happened?" 

*'Yes," said Lady Violet frankly, "some- 
rhing has happened." Here the daughters 
modestly turned their horses away. 

"Some one," continued Lady Violet," 
brought savages to the meet." She paused 
impressively. 

"Not really!" said Mr. Carteret. It v^as 
all that he could think of to say. 

"Yes," said Lady Violet," and while it 
would have mattered little to me, it was 
impossible — " she motioned her head 
toward the three maidens, and paused. 

"Forgive me," said Mr. Carteret, "but do 
I quite understand?" 

"At the first I thought," said Lady Violet, 
"that they were attired in painted fleshings, 
but upon using my glass, it was clear that 
I was mistaken. Otherwise, I should have 
brought them away at the first moment." 

"I see," said Mr. Carteret. "It is most 
unfortunate!" 

"It is indeed!" said Lady Violet; "but 
the matter will not be allowed to drop. 
They were brought to the meet by that 
young profligate. Lord Frederic Westcote." 

"You amaze me," said Mr. Carteret. He 
bowed, started his horse, and jogged along 
for five minutes, then he turned to the 
right upon a crossroad and suddenly found 
himself with hounds. They were feathering 
excitedly about the mouth of a tile drain 
into which the fox had evidently gone. 
No master, huntsmen or whips were in 
sight, but sitting wet and mud-daubed 
upon horses dripping with muddy water 
were Grady dressed in cowboy costume 
and three naked Indians. Mr. Carteret 
glanced about over the country and under- 
stood. They had swum the brook at the 
place where it ran between steep clay banks 
and the rest of the field had gone around 



Carteret cji 

to the bridge. As he looked toward the 
south, lie saw Lord Ploversdalc riding fu- 
riously toward him followed by Smith, the 
huntsman. Grady had not rccognizx-d Mr. 
Carteret turned out in pink as he was, 
and for the moment the latter decided to 
remain incognito. 

Before Lord Ploversdalc, Master of Fox- 
hounds, reached the road, he began waving 
his whip. He ap]x:ared excited. "What do 
you mean by riding upon my hounds?" he 
shouted. He said this in several ways with 
various accompanying phrases, but neither 
the Indians nor Grady seemed to notice 
him. It occurred to Mr. Carteret that, al- 
though Lord Ploversdale's power of expres- 
sion was wonderful for England, it never- 
theless fell short of Arizona standards. 
Then, however, he noticed that Grady was 
absorbed in adjusting a kodak camera, with 
which he was evidently about to take a 
picture of the Indians alone with the 
hounds. He drev/ back in order both to 
avoid being in the field of the picture and 
to avoid too close proximity with Lord 
Ploversdale as he came over the fence into 
the road. 

"What do you mean, sir!'' shouted die 
enraged Master of Fox-hounds, as he pulled 
up his horse. 

"A little more in die middle," replied 
Grady, still absorbed in taking the picture. 

Lord Ploversdale hesitated. He was 
speechless with surprise for die moment. 

Grady pressed the button and began put- 
ting up the machine. 

"What do you mean by riding on my 
hounds, you and these persons?" demanded 
Lord Ploversdale. 

"We didn't," said Grady amicably, '"but 
if your bunch of dogs don't know enough 
to keep out of the way of a horse, they 
ought to learn." 



92 



David Gray 



Lord Plover sd ale looked aghast and 
Smith, the huntsman, pinched himself to 
make sure that he was not dreaming. 

"Many thanks for your advice," said 
Lord Ploversdale. *'May I inquire who you 
and your friends may be?" 

"I'm James Grady," said that gendeman. 
"This," he said pointing to the Indian near- 
est, "is Chief Hole-in-the-Ground of the 
Ogallala Sious. Him in the middle is Mr. 
Jim Snake, and the one beyond is Chief 
Skytail, a Pawnee." 

"Thank you, that is very interesting," 
said Lord Ploversdale, with polite irony. 
"Now will you kindly take them home.^^" 

"See here," said Grady, strapping the 
camera to his saddle," I was invited to this 
hunt, regular, and if you hand me out any 
more hostile talk — " He paused. 

"Who invited you?" inquired Lord Plo- 
versdale. 

"One of your own bunch," said Grady, 
"Lord Frederic Westcote, I'm no butter-in." 

"Your language is difficult to under- 
stand," said Lord Ploversdale. "Where is 
Lord Frederic Westcote?" 

Mr. Carteret had watched the field ap- 
proaching as fast as whip and spur could 
drive them, and in the first flight he no- 
ticed Lord Frederic and the Major. For this 
reason he still hesitated about thrusting 
himself into the discussion. It seemed that 
the interference of a third party could only 
complicate matters, inasmuch as Lord 
Frederic would so soon be upon the spot. 

Lord Ploversdale looked across the field 
impatiently. "I've no doubt, my good fel- 
low, that Lord Frederic Westcote brought 
you here, and I'll see him about it, but 
kindly take these fellows home. They'll 
kill all my hounds." 

"Now you're beginning to talk reason- 
able," said Grady, "I'll discuss with you." 



The words were hardly out of his mouth 
before hounds gave tongue riotously and 
went off. The fox had slipped out of the 
other end of the drain, and old Archer had 
found the line. 

As if shot out of a gun the three Indians 
dashed at the stake-and-bound fence on the 
farther side of the road, joyously using 
their heavy quirts on the Major's thorough- 
breds. Skytail's horse, being hurried too 
much, blundered his take-off, hit above the 
knees and rolled over on the Chief who 
was sitting tight. There was a stifled grunt 
and then the Pawnee word, "Go-dam!" 

Hole-in-the-Ground looked back and 
laughed one of the few laughs of his life. 
It was a joke which he could understand. 
Then he used the quirt again to make the 
most of his advantage. 

"That one is finished," said Lord Plovers- 
dale gratefully. But as the words were in 
his mouth, Skytail rose with his horse, 
vaulted up and was away. 

The M.F.H. followed over the fence 
shouting at Smith to whip off the hounds. 
But the hounds were going too fast. They 
had got a view of the fox and three whoop- 
ing horsemen were behind them driving 
them on. 

The first flight of the field followed the 
M.F.H. out of the road and so did Mr. 
Carteret, and presently he found himself 
riding between Lord Frederic and the 
Major. They were both a bit winded and 
had evidently come fast. 

"I say," exclaimed Lord Frederic, "where 
did you come from?" 

"I was cured by the Broncholine," said 
Mr. Carteret, "amazing stuff!" 

"Is your horse fresh?" asked Lord Fred- 
eric. 

"Yes," replied Mr. Carteret, "I happened 
upon them at the road." 



Mr. 

"Then go after that man Grady," said 
Lord Frederic, "and beg him to take those 
beggars home. They have been riding on 
hounds for twenty minutes." 

"Were they able," asked Mr. Carteret, 
"to stay with their horses at the fences?" 

"Stay with their horses!" puffed the 
Major. 

"Go on, Hke a good chap," said Lord 
Frederic, "stop that fellow or I shall be 
expelled from the hunt; perhaps put in 
jail. Was Ploversdale vexed .'^" he added. 

"I should judge by his language," said 
Mr. Carteret, "that he was vexed." 

"Hurry on," said Lord Frederic. "Put 
your spurs in." 

Mr. Carteret gave his horse its head and 
he shot to the front, but Grady was nearly 
a field in the lead and it promised to be a 
long chase as he was on the Major's black 
thoroughbred. The cowboy rode along with 
a loose rein and an easy balance seat. At 
his fences he swung his hat and cheered. 
He seemed to be enjoying himself and 
Mr. Carteret was anxious lest he might be- 
gin to shoot from pure delight. Such a 
demonstration would have been miscon- 
strued. Nearly two hundred yards ahead at 
the heels of the pack galloped the Indians, 
and in the middle distance between them 
and Grady rode Lord Ploversdale and 
Smith vainly trying to overtake the hounds 
and whip them off. Behind and trailing 
over a mile or more came the field and the 
rest of the hunt servants in little groups, 
all awestruck at what had happened. It was 
unspeakable that Lord Ploversdale's hounds 
which had been hunted by his father and 
his grandfather should be so scandalized. 

Mr. Carteret finally got within a length 
of Grady and hailed him. 

"Hello, Carty," said Grady, "glad to see 
you. I thought you were sick. What can I 



Carteret ^ 

do? They've stampeded. But it's a great ad. 
for the show, isn't it? I've got four re- 
p<jrters in a hack on the road." 

"Forget about the show," said Mr. Car- 
teret. "This isn't any laugliing matter. 
Ploversdale's hounds are one of the smartest 
packs in England. You don't understand.** 

"It will make all the better story in the 
papers," said Grady. 

"No, it won't," said Mr. Carteret. 'They 
won't print it. It's like blasphemy upon the 
Church." 

"Whoop!" yelled Grady, as they tore 
through a bullfinch. 

"Call them off," said Mr. Carteret, 
straightening his hat. 

"But I can't catch 'em," said Grady, and 
that was the truth. 

Lord Ploversdale, however, had been 
gaining on the Indians, and by the way 
in which he clubbed his heavy crop, loaded 
at the butt, it was apparent that he meant 
to put an end to the proceedings if he could. 

Just then hounds swept over the crest 
of a green hill and as they went down the 
other side, they viewed the fox in the field 
beyond. He was in distress, and it looked as 
if the pack would kill in the open. They 
were running wonderfully together, the 
traditional blanket would have covered 
them, and in the natural glow of pride 
which came over the M.F.H., he loosened 
his grip upon the crop. But as the hounds 
viewed the fox so did the three sons of the 
wilderness who were followino- close be- 
hind. From the hill-top fifty of the hardest 
going men in England saw Hole-in-the- 
Ground flogging his horse with the hea\7 
quirt which hung from his wrist. The out- 
raged British hunter shot forward scattering 
hounds to right and left, flew a ditch and 
hedge and was close on the fox who had 
stopped to make a last stand. Without 



^ Dai/id 

drawing rein, the astonished onlookers saw 
the lean Indian suddenly disappear under 
the neck of his horse and almost instantly 
swing back into his seat swinging a brown 
thing above his head. HoIe-in-the-Ground 
had caught the fox! 

*'Most unprecedented!" Mr. Carteret 
heard the Major exclaim. He pulled up his 
horse, as the field did theirs, and waited 
apprehensively. He saw Hole-in-the-Ground 
circle around, jerk the Major's five hun- 
dred guinea hunter to a standstill close 
to Lord Ploversdale and address him. He 
was speaking in his own language. 

As tlie Chief went on, he saw Grady 
smile. 

*'He says," said Grady translating, "that 
the white chief can eat the fox if he wants 
him. He's proud himself bein' packed with 
store grub." 

The English onlookers heard and beheld 
with blank faces. It was beyond them. 

The M.F.H. bowed stifSy as Hole-in 
the-Ground's offer was made known to 
him. He regarded them a moment in 
thought. A vague light was breaking in 
upon him. "Aw, thank you," he said, 
"thanks awfully. Smith, take the fox. Good 
afternoon!" 

Then he wheeled his horse, called the 
hounds in with his horn and trotted out 
to the road that led to the kennels. Lord 



Gray 

Ploversdale, though he had never been out 
of England, was cast in a large mold. 

The three Indians sat on their panting 
horses, motionless, stolidly facing the cur- 
ious gaze of the crowd; or rather they 
looked through the crowd, as the lion with 
die high breeding of the desert looks 
through and beyond the faces that stare 
and gape before the bars of his cage. 

"Most amazing! Most amazing!" mut- 
tered the Major. 

"It is," said Mr. Carteret, "if you have 
never been away from this." He made a 
sweeping gesture over the restricted Eng- 
lish scenery, pampered and brought up by 
hand. 

"Been away from this?" repeated the 
Major. "I don't understand." 

Mr. Carteret turned to him. How could 
he explain it } 

"With us," he began, laying emphasis on 
the "us." Then he stopped. "Look into their 
eyes," he said hopelessly. 

The Major looked at him blankly. How 
could he. Major Hammerslea of "The 
Blues," tell what those inexplicable dark 
eyes saw beyond the fenced tillage! What 
did he know of the brown, bare, illimitable 
range under the noonday sun, the evening 
light on far, silent mountains, the starlit 
desert! 



RUDYARD KIPLING (1865-1936) 



The Maltese Cat 



from THE DA Y'S WORK 



No anthology such as this would he complete without Kipling's famous 
tale. Furthermore, the story is unusual in many ways. The real hero is 
the horse, not the rider; and the horses tal\ together in a co7ivincing, 
and not sentimental, manner. One of the few stories written about polo, 
it tells of the little-publicized Mongolian pony — that runty, scrubby, 
homely pony with the courage of a lion and a heart as big as all outdoors. 



|/^ ]f "^hey had good reason to be proud, 
and better reason to be afraid, all 
- twelve of them; for though they 
had fought their way, game by game, up 
the teams entered for the polo tournament, 
they were meeting the Archangels that 
afternoon in the final match; and the 
Archangels men were playing with half a 
dozen ponies apiece. As the game was 
divided into six quarters of eight minutes 
each, that meant a fresh pony after every 
halt. The Skidars' team, even supposing 
there were no accidents, could only supply 
one pony for every other change; and two 
to one is heavy odds. Again as Shiraz, the 
grey Syrian, pointed out, they were meet- 
ing the pink and pick of the polo-ponies 
of Upper India, ponies that had cost from 
a thousand rupees each, while they them- 
selves were a cheap lot gathered often from 



country-carts, by their masters, who be- 
longed to a poor but honest native infantry 



regiment. 



"Money means pace and weight," said 
Shiraz, rubbing his black-silk nose dole- 
fully along his neat-fitting boot, "and by 
the maxims of the game as I know it — " 

"Ah, but we aren't playing the maxims," 
said The Maltese Cat. "We're playing the 
game; and we've the great advantage of 
knowing the game. Just think a stride, 
Shiraz! We've pulled up from bottom to 
second place in two weeks against all tliose 
fellows on die ground here. That's because 
we play with our heads as well as our 
feet." 

"It makes me feel undersized and un- 
happy all the same," said Kittiwynk, a 
mouse-coloured mare with a red brow-band 
and die cleanest pair of legs that ever an 



95 



96 Rudyard 

aged pony owned. "They've twice our 
style, these others." 

Kittiwynk looked at the gathering and 
sighed. The hard, dusty polo-ground was 
lined with thousands of soldiers, black and 
white, not counting hundreds and hun- 
dreds of carriages and drags and dog-carts, 
and ladies wdth brilliant-coloured parasols, 
and officers in uniform and out of it and 
crowds of natives behind them; and order- 
lies on camels, w^ho had halted to watch 
the game, instead of carrying letters up and 
down the station; and native horse-dealers 
running about on thineared Biluchi mares, 
looking for a chance to sell a few first-class 
polo-ponies. Then there were the ponies of 
thirty teams that had entered for the Upper 
India Free-for-AU Cup — ^nearly every pony 
of w^orth and dignity, from Mhow to 
Peshawar, from Allahabad to Multan; 
prize ponies, Arabs, Syrian, Barb, Coun- 
try-bred, Deccanee, Waziri, and Kabul 
ponies of every colour and shape and tem- 
per that you could imagine. Some of them 
were in mat-roofed stables, close to the 
polo-ground, but most were under saddle, 
while their masters, who had been defeated 
in the earlier games, trotted in and out 
and told the world exactly how the game 
should be played. 

It was a glorious sight, and the come 
and go of the little, quick hooves, and the 
incessant salutations of ponies that had met 
before on other polo-grounds or race- 
courses were enough to drive a four-footed 
thing wild. 

But the Skidars' team were careful not 
to know their neighbours, though half the 
ponies on the ground were anxious to 
scrape acquaintance with the little fellows 
that had come from the North, and, so far, 
had swept the board. 

"Let's see," said a soft gold-coloured 



Kipling 

Arab, who had been playing very badly the 
day before, to the Maltese Cat; "didn't we 
meet in Abdul Rahman's stable in Bombay, 
four seasons ago? I won the Paikpattan 
Cup next season, you may remember .f^" 

"Not me," said The Maltese Cat, politely. 
"I was at Malta then, pulling a vegetable- 
cart. I don't race. I play the game." 

"Oh!" said the Arab, cocking his tail and 
swaggering off. 

"Keep yourselves to yourselves," said The 
Maltese Cat to his companions. "We don't 
want to rub noses with all those goose- 
rumped half-breeds of Upper India. When 
we've won this Cup they'll give their shoes 
to know us" 

"We sha'n't win the Cup," said Shiraz. 
"How do you feel? 

"Stale as last night's feed when a musk- 
rat has run over it," said Polaris, a rather 
heavy-shouldered grey; and the rest of the 
team agreed with him. 

"The sooner you forget that the better," 
said The Maltese Cat, cheerfully. "They've 
finished tiffin in the big tent. We shall be 
wanted now. If your saddles are not comfy, 
kick. If your bits aren't easy, rear, and let 
the saises know whether your boots are 
tight." 

Each pony had his sais, his groom, who 
lived and ate and slept with the animal, 
and had betted a good deal more than he 
could afford on the result of the game. 
There was no chance of anything going 
wrong, but to make sure, each sais was 
shampooing the legs of his pony to the last 
minute. Behind the saises sat as many of 
the Skidars' regiment as had leave to attend 
the match — about half the native officers, 
and a hundred or two dark, black-bearded 
men with the regimental pipers nervously 
fingering the big, beribboned bagpipes. 
The Skidars were what they call a Pioneer 



The Day'f 

regiment, and the bagpipes made the na- 
tional music of half their men. The native 
officers held bundles of polo-sticks, long 
cane-h;andled mallets, and as the grand 
stand filled after lunch they arranged them- 
selves by ones and tv^os at different points 
round the ground, so that if a stick were 
broken the player would not have far to 
ride for a new one. An impatient British 
Cavalry Band struck up "If you want to 
know the time, ask a p'leeceman!" and the 
two umpires in light dust-coats danced out 
on two little excited ponies. The four play- 
ers of the Archangels' team followed, and 
the sight of their beautiful mounts made 
Shiraz groan again. 

"Wait till we know," said The Maltese 
Cat. "Two of 'em are playing in blinkers, 
and that means they can't see to get out 
of the way of their own side, or they may 
shy at the umpires' ponies. They've all got 
white web-reins that are sure to stretch or 

slip!" 

"And," said Kittiwynk, dancing to take 
the stiffness out of her, "they carry their 
whips in their hands instead of on their 
wrists. Hah!" 

"True enough. No man can manage his 
stick and his reins and his whip that way," 
said The Maltese Cat. "I've fallen over 
every square yard of the Malta ground, and 
I ought to know." 

He quivered his little, flea-bitten withers 
just to show how satisfied he felt; but his 
heart was not so light. Ever since he had 
drifted into India on a troop-ship, taken, 
with an old rifle, as part payment for a 
racing debt. The Maltese Cat had played 
and preached polo to the Skidars' team on 
the Skidars' stony polo-ground. Now a 
polo-pony is like a poet. If he is born with 
a love for the game, he can be made. The 
Maltese Cat knew that bamboos grew solely 



in order that polo-balls might be turned 
from their rfxjts, that grain was given to 
ponies to keep them in hard condition, and 
that ponies were shod to prevent them slip- 
ping on a turn. But, besides all these 
things, he knew every trick and device of 
the finest game in the world, and for two 
seasons had been teaching the others all he 
knew or guessed. 

"Remember," he said for the hundredth 
time, as the riders came up, "you must play 
together, and you must play with your 
heads. Whatever happens, follow the ball. 
Who goes out first?" 

Kittiwynk, Shiraz, Polaris, and a short 
high little bay fellow with tremendous 
hocks and no withers worth speaking of 
(he was called Corks) were being girthed 
up, and the soldiers in the background 
stared with all their eyes. 

"I want you men to keep quiet," said 
Lutyens, the captain of the team, "and es- 
pecially not to blow your pipes." 

"Not if we win^ Captain Sahib.-" asked 
the piper. 

"If we win you can do what you please," 
said Lutyens, with a smile, as he slipped 
the loop of his stick over his wrist, and 
wheeled to canter to his place. The Arch- 
angels' ponies were a little bit above them- 
selves on account of the many-coloured 
crowds so close to the ground. Their riders 
were excellent players, but they were a 
team of crack players instead of a crack 
team; and that made all the difference in 
the world. They honestly meant to play 
together, but it is very hard for four men, 
each the best of the team he is picked 
from, to remember that in polo no bril- 
liancy in hitting or riding makes up for 
playing alone. Their captain shouted his 
orders to them by name, and it is a curious 
thing that if you call his name aloud in 



98 



Rudyard 



public after an Englishman you make him 
hot and fretty. Lutyens said nothing to his 
men because it had all been said before. 
He pulled up Shiraz, for he was playing 
"back/' to guard the goal. Powell on Pol- 
aris was half-back, and Macnamara and 
Hughes on Corks and Kittiwynk were for- 
wards. Tlie tough, bamboo ball was set in 
the middle of the ground, one hundred 
and fifty yards from the ends, and Hughes 
crossed sticks, heads up, with the Captain 
of the Archangels, who saw fit to play 
forward; that is a place from which you 
cannot easily control your team. The little 
click as the cane-shafts met was heard all 
over die ground, and then Hughes made 
some sort of quick wrist-stroke that just 
dribbled the ball a few yards. Kittiwynk 
knew that stroke of old, and followed as a 
cat follows a mouse. While the Captain of 
the Archangels was wrenching his pony 
round, Hughes struck with all his strength, 
and next instant Kittiwynk was away. 
Corks following close behind her, their 
little feet pattering like raindrops on glass. 

"Pull out to the left," said Kittiwynk be- 
tween her teeth; "it's coming your way. 
Corks!" 

The back and half-back of the Arch- 
angels were tearing down on her just as 
she was within reach of the ball. Hughes 
leaned forward with a loose rein, and cut 
it away to the left almost under Kitti- 
v/ynk's foot, and it hopped and skipped off 
to Corks, who saw that, if he was not quick 
it would run beyond the boundaries. That 
long bouncing drive gave the Archangels 
time to wheel and send three men across 
the ground to head off Corks. Kittiwynk 
stayed where she was; for she knew the 
game. Corks was on the ball half a frac- 
tion of a second before the others came up, 
and Macnamara. with a backhanded 



Kipling 

stroke sent it back across the ground to 
Hughes, who saw the way clear to the 
Archangels' goal, and smacked the ball in 
before any one quite knew what had 
happened. 

"That's luck," said Corks, as they 
changed ends. "A goal in three minutes 
for three hits, and no riding to speak of." 

"'Don't know," said Polaris. "We've 
made them angry too soon. Shouldn't won- 
der if they tried to rush us off our feet next 
time." 

"Keep the ball hanging, then," said 
Shiraz. "That wears out every pony that is 
not used to it." 

Next time there was no easy galloping 
across the ground. All the Archangels 
closed up as one man, but there they 
stayed, for Corks, Kittiwynk, and Polaris 
were somewhere on the top of the ball 
marking time among the rattling sticks, 
while Shiraz circled about outside, waiting 
for a chance. 

"We can do this all day," said Polaris, 
ramming his quarters into the side of an- 
other pony. "Where do you think you're 
shoving to.?" 

"I'll— I'll be driven in an ek\a if I 
know," was the gasping reply, "and I'd 
give a week's feed to get my blinkers off. 
I can't see anything." 

"The dust is rather bad. Whew! That 
was one for my ofl-hock. Where's the ball. 
Corks?" 

"Under my tail. At least the man's look- 
ing for it there! This is beautiful. They 
can't use their sticks, and it's driving 'em 
wild. Give old Blinkers a push and then 
he'll go over." 

"Here, don't touch me! I can't see. I'll — 
I'll back out, I think," said the pony in 
blinkers, who knew that if you can't see 



The Day's 

all round your head, you cannot pro|) 
yourself against the shock. 

Corks was watching the ball where it lay 
in the dust, close to his near fore-leg, with 
Macnamara's shortened stick tai>tapping 
it from time to time. Kittiwynk was edg- 
ing her way out of the scrimmage, whisk- 
ing her stump of a tail with nervous excite- 
ment. 

"Ho! They've got it," she snorted. "Let 
me out!" and she galloped like a rifle-bullet 
just behind a tall lanky pony of the Arch- 
angels, whose rider was swinging up his 
stick for a stroke. 

"Not today, thank you," said Hughes, as 
the blow slid off his raised stick, and Kitti- 
wynk laid her shoulder to the tall pony's 
quarters, and shoved him aside just as Lut- 
yens on Shiraz sent the ball where it had 
come from, and the tall pony went skating 
and slipping away to the left. Kittiwynk, 
seeing that Polaris had joined Corks in the 
chase for the ball up the ground, dropped 
into Polaris' place, and then "time" was 
called. 

The Skidars' ponies wasted no time in 
kicking or fuming. They knew that each 
minute's rest meant so much gain, and 
trotted off to the rails, and their saises be- 
gan to scrape and blanket and rub them at 
once. 

"Whew!" said Corks, stiffening up to 
get all the tickle of the big vulcanite 
scraper. "If we were playing pony for pony, 
we would bend those Archangels double in 
half an hour. But they'll bring up fresh 
ones and fresh ones and fresh ones after 
that — you see." 

"Who cares?" said Polaris. "We've 
drawn first blood. Is my hock swelling?" 

"Looks pu%," said Corks. "You must 
have had rather a wipe. Don't let it stiffen. 
You'll be wanted again in half an hour." 



Worf{ 99 

"What's the game like?" said the Mal- 
tese Cat. 

" 'Ground's like your shoe, except where 
they put too much water on it," said Kitti- 
wynk. "Then it's slippery. Don't play in the 
centre. There's a bog there. I don't know 
how their next four are going to behave, 
but wc kept the ball hanging, and made 
'em lather for nothing. Who goes out? 
Two Arabs and a couple of country-breds! 
That's bad. What a comfort it is to wash 
your mouth out!" 

Kitty was talking with a neck of a lather- 
covered soda-water bottle between her 
teeth, and trying to look over v/ithers at 
the same time. This gave her a very 
coquettish air. 

"What's bad?" said Grey Dawn, giving 
to the girth and admiring his well-set 
shoulders. 

"You Arabs can't gallop fast enough to 
keep yourselves warm — that's what Kitty 
means," said Polaris, limping to show that 
his hock needed attention. "Are you play- 
ing back. Grey Dawn?" 

"Looks like it," said Grey Dawn, as Lut- 
yens swung himself up. Powell mounted 
The Rabbit, a plain bay country-bred much 
like Corks, but with mulish ears. Mac- 
namara took Faiz-Ullah, a handy, short- 
backed little red Arab with a long tail, and 
Hughes mounted Benami, an old and sullen 
brown beast, who stood over in front more 
than a polo-pony should. 

"Benami looks like business," said 
Shiraz. "How's your temper, Ben?" The 
old campaigner hobbled oii without an- 
swering, and The Maltese Cat looked at 
the new Archangel ponies prancing about 
on the ground. They were four beautiful 
blacks, and they saddled big enough and 
strong enough to eat the Skidar's team and 
gallop away with the meal inside them. 



xoo 



Rudyard 



"Blinkers again," said The Maltese Cat. 
"Good enough!" 

"They're chargers — cavalry chargers!" 
said Kittiwynk, indignantly. ''They II never 
see thirteen-three again." 

"They've all been fairly measured, and 
they've all got their certificates," said The 
Maltese Cat, "or they wouldn't be here. We 
must take things as they come along, and 
keep your eyes on the ball." 

The game began, but this time the 
Skidars were penned to their own end of 
the ground, and the watching ponies did 
not approve of that. 

"Faiz-Ullah is shirking — as usual," said 
Polaris, with a scornful grunt. 

"Faiz-Ullah is eating whip," said Corks. 
They could hear the leather-thonged polo- 
quirt lacing the little fellow's well-rounded 
barrel. Then The Rabbit's shrill neigh 
came across the ground. 

"I can't do all the work," he cried, des- 
perately. 

"Play the game — don't talk." The Mal- 
tese Cat whickered; and all the ponies 
wriggled with excitement, and the soldiers 
and die grooms gripped the railings and 
shouted. A black pony with blinkers had 
singled out old Benami, and was interfer- 
ing with him in every possible way. They 
could see Benami shaking his head up and 
down and flapping his under lip. 

"There'll be a fall in a minute," said 
Polaris. "Benami is getting stufiFy." 

The game flickered up and down be- 
tween goal-post and goal-post, and the 
black ponies were getting more confident 
as they felt they had the legs of the others. 
The ball was hit out of a little scrimmage, 
and Benami and The Rabbit followed it, 
Faiz-Ullah only too glad to be quiet for 
an instant. 

The blinkered black pony came up like 



Kipling 

a hawk, with two of his own side behind 
him, and Benami's eye glittered as he 
raced. The question was which pony 
should make way for the other, for each 
rider was perfectly willing to risk a fall 
in a good cause. The black, who had been 
driven nearly crazy by his blinkers, trusted 
to his weight and his temper; but Benami 
knew how to apply his weight and how to 
keep his temper. They met, and there was a 
cloud of dust. The black was lying on his 
side, all the breath knocked out of his 
body. The Rabbit was a hundred yards up 
the ground with the ball, and Benami was 
sitting down. He had slid nearly ten yards 
on his tail, but he had had his revenge and 
sat cracking his nostrils till the black pony 
rose. 

"That's what you get for interfering. Do 
you want any morcV said Benami, and he 
plunged into the game. Nothing was done 
that quarter, because Faiz-Ullah would not 
gallop, though Macnamara beat him when- 
ever he could spare a second. The fall of 
the black pony had impressed his compan- 
ions tremendously, and so the Archangels 
could not profit by Faiz-Ullah's bad be- 
haviour. 

But as The Maltese Cat said when 
"time" was called, and the four came back 
blowing and dripping, Faiz-Ullah ought to 
have been kicked all round Umballa. If he 
did not behave better next time The Mal- 
tese Cat promised to pull out his Arab tail 
by the roots and — eat it. 

There was no time to talk, for the third 
four were ordered out. 

The third quarter of a game is generally 
the hottest for each side thinks that the 
others must be pumped; and most of the 
winning play in a game is made about that 
time. 

Lutyens took over The Maltese Cat with 



The Da/s 

a pat and a hug, for Lutycns valued him 
more than anything else in the world; 
Powell had Shikast, a little grey rat with 
no pedigree and no manners outside polo; 
Macnamara mounted Bamboo, the largest 
of the team; and Hughes Who's Who, alias 
The Animal. He was supposed to have 
Australian blood in his veins, but he looked 
like a clothes-horse and you could whack 
his legs with an iron crow-bar without 
hurting him. 

They v^ent out to meet the very flower of 
the Archangels' team; and when Who's 
Who saw their elegantly booted legs and 
their beautiful satin skins, he grinned a 
grin through his light, well-worn bridle. 

"My word!" said Who's Who. "We must 
give 'em a little football. These gentlemen 
need a rubbing down." 

"No biting," said The Maltese Cat, 
warningly; for once or twice in his career 
Who's Who had been known to forget 
himself in that way. 

"Who said anything about biting? I'm 
not playing tiddly-winks. I'm playing the 
game." 

The Archangels came down like a wolf 
on the fold, for they were tired of football, 
and they wanted polo. They got it more 
and more. Just after the game began, Lut- 
yens hit a ball that was coming towards 
him rapidly, and it rolled in the air, as a 
ball sometimes will, with the whirl of a 
frightened partridge. Shikast heard but 
could not see it for the minute though he 
looked everywhere and up into the air as 
The Maltese Cat had taught him. When he 
saw it ahead and overhead he went for- 
ward with Powell, as fast as he could put 
foot to ground. It was then that Powell, a 
quiet and level-headed man as a rule, be- 
came inspired, and played a stroke that 
sometimes comes off successfully after long 



Wor^ 1 01 

practice. He took his stick in both hands, 
ijnd, standing up in his stirru[>s, swi[>cd at 
the ball in the air, Munipore fashion. There 
was one second of paralysed astoni-shmcnt, 
and then all four sides of the ground went 
up in a yell of applause and delight as the 
ball flew true (you could see the amazed 
Archangels ducking in their saddles to 
dodge the line of flight, and looking at it 
with open mouths), and the regimental 
pipes of the Skidars squealed from the rail- 
ings as long as the pipers had breath. 

Shikast heard the stroke; but he heard 
the head of the stick fly off at the same 
time. Nine hundred and ninety-nine ponies 
out of a thousand would have gone tear- 
ing on after the ball with a useless player 
pulling at their heads; but Powell knew 
him, and he knew Powell; and the instant 
he felt Powell's right leg shift a trifle on 
the saddle-flap, he headed to the boundary, 
where a native officer was frantically wav- 
ing a new stick. Before the shouts had 
ended, Powell was armed again. 

Once before in his life The Maltese Cat 
had heard that very same stroke played off 
his own back, and had profited by the con- 
fusion it wrought. This time he acted on 
experience, and leaving Bamboo to guard 
the goal in case of accidents, came through 
the others like a flash, head and tail low — 
Lutyens standing up to ease him — swept on 
and on before the other side knew what 
was the matter, and nearly pitched on his 
head between the Archangels' goal-post as 
Lutyens kicked the ball in after a straight 
scurry of a hundred and fifty yards. If there 
was one thing more than another upon 
vi^hich The Maltese Cat prided himself, it 
was on this quick, streaking kind of run 
half across the ground. He did not believe 
in taking balls round the field unless you 
were clearly overmatched. After this they 



10(2 Rtidyard 

gave the Archangels five-minutes of foot- 
ball; and an expensive fast pony hates foot- 
ball because it rumples his temper. 

Who's Who showed himself even better 
than Polaris in this game. He did not per- 
mit any wriggling away, but bored joy- 
fully into tlie scrimmage as if he had his 
nose in a feed-box and was looking for 
something nice. Little Shikast jumped on 
the ball tlie minute it got clear, and every 
time an Archangel pony followed it, he 
found Shikast standing over it, asking what 
was the matter. 

"If we can live through this quarter," 
said The Maltese Cat, "I shan't care. Don't 
take it out of yourselves. Let them do the 
lathering." 

So the ponies, as their riders explained 
afterwards, "shut-up." The Archangels 
kept them tied fast in front of their goal, 
but it cost the Archangels' ponies all that 
was left of their tempers ; and ponies began 
to kick, and men began to repeat compli- 
ments, and they chopped at the legs of 
Who's Who, and he set his teeth and 
stayed where he was, and the dust stood 
up like a tree over the scrimmage until 
that hot quarter ended. 

They found the ponies very excited and 
confident when they went to their saises; 
and The Maltese Cat had to warn them 
that the worst of the game was coming. 

"Now we are all going in for the second 
time," said he, "and they are trotting out 
fresh ponies. You think you can gallop, 
but you'll find you can't; and then you'll 
be sorry." 

"But two goals to nothing is a halter- 
long lead," said Kittiwynk, prancing. 

"How long does it take to get a goal?" 
The Maltese Cat answered. "For pity's 
sake, don't run away with a notion that 
the game is half-won just because we hap- 



Kipling 

pen to be in luck now! They'll ride you 
into the grand stand, if they can ; you must 
not give 'em a chance. Follow the ball." 

"Football, as usual?" said Polaris. "My 
hock's half as big as a nose-bag." 

"Don't let them have a look at the ball, 
if you can help it. Now leave me alone. I 
must get all the rest I can before the last 
quarter." 

He hung down his head and let all his 
muscles go slack, Shikast, Bamboo, and 
Who's Who copying his example. 

"Better not watch the game," he said. 
"We aren't playing, and we shall only take 
it out of ourselves if we grow anxious. 
Look at the ground and pretend it's fly- 
time." 

They did their best, but it was hard ad- 
vice to follow. The hooves were drumming 
and the sticks were rattling all up and 
down the ground, and yells of applause 
from the English troops told that the Arch- 
angels were pressing the Skidars hard. The 
native soldiers behind the ponies groaned 
and grunted, and said things in undertones, 
and presently they heard a long-drawn 
shout and a clatter of hurrahs. 

"One to the Archangels," said Shikast, 
without raising his head. "Time's nearly 
up. Oh, my sire — and dam!" 

"Faiz-Ullah," said The Maltese Cast, "if 
you don't play to the last nail in your shoes 
this time, I'll kick you on the ground be- 
fore all the other ponies." 

*'ril do my best when the time comes/' 
said the little Arab sturdily. 

The saises looked at each other gravely 
as they rubbed their ponies' legs. This was 
the time when long purses began to tell, 
and everybody knew it. Kittiwynk and the 
others came back, the sweat dripping over 
their hooves and their tails telling sad 
stories. 



The Day's Wor\ 



103 



"They're better than we are," said Shiraz. 
"I knew how it would be.'* 

"Shut your big head," said The Maltese 
Cat; "we've one goal to the good yet." 

"Yes; but it's two Arabs and two coun- 
try-breds to play now," said Corks. "Faiz- 
Ullah, remember!" He spoke in a biting 
voice. 

As Lutyens mounted Grey Dawn he 
looked at his men, and they did not look 
pretty. They were covered with dust and 
sweat in streaks. Their yellow boots were 
almost black, their wrists were red and 
lumpy, and their eyes seemed two inches 
deep in their heads; but the expression in 
the eyes was satisfactory. 

"Did you take anything at tiffin?" said 
Lutyens; and the team shook their heads. 
They were too dry to talk. 

"All right. The Archangels did. They 
are worse pumped than we are." 

"They've got the better ponies," said 
Powell. "I sha'n't be sorry when this busi- 
ness is over." 

That fifth quarter was a painful one in 
every way. Faiz-Ullah played like a little 
red demon, and The Rabbit seemed to be 
everywhere at once, and Benami rode 
straight at anything and everything that 
came in his way; while the umpires on 
their ponies wheeled like gulls outside the 
shifting game. But the Archangels had the 
better mounts, — they had kept their racers 
till late in the game, — and never allowed 
the Skidars to play football. They hit the 
ball up and down the width of the ground 
till Benami and the rest were outpaced. 
Then they went forward, and time and 
^gain Lutyens and Grey Dawn were just, 
and only just, able to send the ball away 
with a long, spitting backhander. Grey 
Dawn forgot that he was an Arab; and 
turned from grey to blue as he galloped. 



Indeed, he forgot too well, for he did not 
keep his eyes on the ground as an Arab 
should, but stuck out his nose and scuttled 
for the dear honour of the game. They 
had watered the ground once or twice be- 
tween the quarters, and a careless water- 
man had emptied the last of his skinful all 
in one place near the Skidars' goal. It was 
close to the end of the play, and for the 
tenth time Grey Dawn was Ixjlting after 
the ball, when his near hind-foot slipped 
on the greasy mud, and he rolled over and 
over, pitching Lutyens just clear of the 
goal-post; and the triumphant Archangels 
made their goal. Then "time" was called — 
two goals all; but Lutyens had to be helped 
up, and Grey Dawn rose with his near hind- 
leg strained somewhere. 

"What's the damage?" said Powell, his 
arm around Lutyens. 

"Collar-bone, of course," said Lutyens, 
between his teeth. It was the third time he 
had broken it in two years, and it hurt him. 

Powell and the others whistled. 

"Game's up," said Hughes. 

"Hold on. We've five good minutes yet, 
and it isn't my right hand. We'll stick it 
out." 

"I say," said the Captain of the Arch- 
angels, trotting up, "are you hurt, Lutyens ? 
We'll wait if you care to put in a substitute. 
I wish — I mean — the fact is, you fellows de- 
serve this game if any team does. 'Wish 
we could give you a man, or some of our 
ponies — or something." 

"You're awfully good, but we'll play it 
to a finish, I think." 

The captain of the Archangels stared for 
a little. "That's not half bad," he said, and 
went back to his own side, while Lutyens 
borrowed a scarf from one of his native 
officers and made a sling of it. Then an 
Archangel galloped up witli a big bath- 



104 Rudyard 

sponge, and advised Lutyens to put it 
under his armpit to ease his shoulder and 
between them they tied up his left arm 
scientifically; and one of the native officers 
leaped forward with four long glasses that 
fizzed and bubbled. 

The team looked at Lutyens piteously, 
and he nodded. It was the last quarter, and 
nothing would matter after that. They 
drank out the dark golden drink, and 
wiped their moustaches, and things looked 
more hopeful. 

The Maltese Cat had put his nose into 
the front of Lutyens' shirt and was trying 
to say how sorry he was. 

"He knows," said Lutyens, proudly. "The 
beggar knows. I've played him without a 
bridle before now — for fun." 

"It's no fun now," said Powell. "But we 
haven't a decent substitute." 

"No," said Lutyens. "It's the last quarter, 
and we've got to make our goal and win. 
ril trust The Cat." 

"If you fall this time, you'll suffer a 
little," said Macnamara. 

"I'll trust The Cat," said Lutyens. 

"You hear that.?^" said The Maltese Cat, 
proudly, to the others. "It's worth while 
playing polo for ten years to have that said 
of you. Now then, my sons, come along. 
We'll kick up a little bit, just to show the 
Archangels this team haven't suffered." 

And, sure enough, as they went on to 
the ground. The Maltese Cat, after satis- 
fying himself that Lutyens was home in 
the saddle, kicked out three or four times, 
and Lutyens laughed. The reins were 
caught up anyhow in the tips of his 
strapped left hand, and he never pretended 
to rely on them. He knew The Cat would 
answer to the least pressure of the leg, and 
by way of showing off — for his shoulder 
hurt him very much — he bent the little fel- 



Kipling 

low in a close figure-of-eight in and out 
between the goal-posts. There was a roar 
from the native officers and men, who 
dearly loved a piece of dugabashi (horse- 
trick work), as they called it, and the pipes 
very quietly and scornfully droned out the 
first bars of a common bazaar tune called 
"Freshly Fresh and Newly New," just as a 
warning to the other regiments that the 
Skidars were fit. All the natives laughed. 

"And now," said The Maltese Cat, as 
they took their place, "remember that this 
is the last quarter, and follow the ball!" 

"Don't need to be told," said Who's 
Who. 

"Let me go on. All those people on all 
four sides will begin to crowd in — ^just as 
they did at Malta. You'll hear people call- 
ing out, and moving forward and being 
pushed back; and that is going to make the 
Archangel ponies very unhappy. But if a 
ball is struck to the boundary, you go after 
it, and let the people get out of your way. 
I went over the pole of a four-in-hand 
once, and picked a game out of the dust 
by it. Back me up when I run, and follow 
the ball." 

There was a sort of an all-round sound of 
sympathy and wonder as the last quarter 
opened, and then there began exactly what 
The Maltese Cat had foreseen. People 
crowded in close to the boundaries, and the 
Archangels' ponies kept looking sideways 
at the narrowing space. If you know how a 
man feels to be cramped at tennis — ^not be- 
cause he wants to run out of the court, but 
because he likes to know that he can at a 
pinch — you will guess how ponies must 
feel when they are playing in a box of 
human beings. 

"I'll bend some of those men if I can get 
away," said Who's Who, as he rocketed 
behind the ball ; and Bamboo nodded with- 



The Day's 

out speaking. They were playing the last 
ounce in them, and The Maltese Cat had 
left the goal undefended to join them. Lut- 
yens gave him every order that he could to 
bring him back, but this was the first time 
in his career that the little wise grey had 
ever played polo on his own responsibility, 
and he was going to make the most of it. 

"What are you doing here?" said 
Hughes, as The Cat crossed in front of him 
and rode off an Archangel. 

"The Cat's in charge — mind the goal!" 
shouted Lutyens, and bowing forward hit 
the ball full, and followed on, forcing the 
Archangels towards their own goal. 

"No football," said The Maltese Cat. 
"Keep the ball by the boundaries and 
cramp 'em. Play open order, and drive 'em 
to the boundaries." 

Across and across the ground in big 
diagonals flew the ball, and whenever it 
came to a flying rush and a stroke close 
to the boundaries the Archangel ponies 
moved stiffly. They did not care to go 
headlong at a wall of men and carnages, 
though if the ground had been open they 
could have turned on a sixpence. 

"Wriggle her up the sides," said The Cat. 
"Keep her close to the crowd. They hate 
the carriages. Shikast, keep her up this 
side." 

Shikast and Powell lay left and right be- 
hind the uneasy scuffle of an open scrim- 
mage, and every time the ball was hit 
away Shikast galloped on it at such an 
angle that Powell was forced to hit it to- 
wards the boundary; and when the crowd 
had been driven away from that side, 
Lutyens would send the ball over to the 
other, and Shikast would slide desperately 
after it till his friends came down to help. 
It was billiards, and no football, this time — 



WorI{^ 105 

billiards in a corner pcKkct; and the cues 
were not well chalked. 

"If they get us out in the middle of the 
ground they'll walk away from us. Dribble 
her along the sides," cried The Maltese 
Cat. 

So they dribbled all along the boundary, 
where a pony could not come on their 
right-hand side; and the Archangels were 
furious and the umpires had to neglect the 
game to shout at the people to get back, 
and several blundering mounted policemen 
tried to restore order, all close to the scrim- 
mage, and the nerves of the Archangels' 
ponies stretched and broke like cob-webs. 

Five or six times an Archangel hit the 
ball up into the middle of the ground, and 
each time the watchful Shikast gave Powell 
his chance to send it back, and after each 
return, when the dust had settled, men 
could see that the Skidars had gained a few 
yards. 

Every now and again there were shouts 
of "Side! Off side!" from the spectators; 
but the teams were too busy to care, and 
the umpires had all they could do to keep 
their maddened ponies clear of the scuffle. 

At last Lutyens missed a short easy 
stroke, and the Skidars had to fly back 
helter-skelter to protect tlieir own goal, 
Shikast leading. Powell stopped the ball 
with a backhander when it was not fifty- 
yards from the goal-posts, and Shikast spun 
round with a wrench that nearly hoisted 
Powell out of his saddle. 

"Now's our last chance," said The Cat, 
wheeling like a cockchafer on a pin. 
"We've got to ride it out. Come along." 

Lutyens felt the litde chap take a deep 
breath, and, as it were, crouch under his 
rider. The ball was hopping towards the 
right-hand boundary, an Archangel rid- 
ing for it with both spurs and a whip; but 



io6 Rudyard 

neither spur nor whip would make his 
pony stretch himself as he neared the 
crowd. The Maltese Cat dided under his 
very nose, picking up his hind legs sharp, 
for there was not a foot to spare between 
his quarters and the other pony's bit. It was 
as neat an exhibition as fancy figure-skat- 
ing. Lutyens hit with all the strength he 
had left, but die stick slipped a little in his 
hand, and the fall flew off to the left in- 
stead of keeping close to tlie boundary. 
Who's Who was far across the ground, 
thinking hard as he galloped. He repeated 
stride for stride The Cat's manoeuvres 
with another Archangel pony, nipping the 
ball away from under his bridle, and clear- 
ing his opponent by half a fraction of an 
inch, for Who's Who was clumsy behind. 
Then he drove away towards the right as 
The Maltese Cat came up from the left; 
and Bamboo held a middle course exactly 
between them. The three were making a 
sort of Government-broad-arrow-shaped 
attack; and there was only the Archangels' 
back to guard the goal; but immediately 
behind them were three Archangels racing 
all they knew, and mixed up with them 
was Powell sending Shikast along on what 
he felt was their last hope. It takes a very 
good man to stand up to the rush of seven 
crazy ponies in the last quarters of a Cup 
game, when men are riding with their 
necks for sale, and the ponies are delirious. 
The Archangels' back missed his stroke 
and pulled aside just in time to let the rush 
go by. Bamboo and Who's Who shortened 
stride to give The Cat room, and Lutyens 
got the goal with a clean, smooth, smack- 
ing stroke that was heard all over the field. 
But there was no stopping the ponies. They 
poured through the goal-posts in one 
mixed mob, winners and losers together, 
for the pace had been terrific. The Maltese 



Kipling 

Cat knew by experience what would hap- 
pen, and, to save Lutyens, turned to the 
right with one last effort, that strained a 
back-sinew beyond hope of repair. As he 
did so he heard the right-hand goal-post 
crack as a pony cannoned into it — crack, 
splinter and fall like a mast. It had been 
sawed three parts through in cases of acci- 
dents, but it upset the pony nevertheless, 
and he blundered into another, who blun- 
dered into the left-hand post, and then 
there was confusion and dust and wood. 
Bamboo was lying on the ground seeing 
stars; an Archangel pony rolled beside him, 
breathless and angry; Shikast had sat down 
dog-fashion to avoid falling over the others, 
and was sliding along on his little bobtail 
in a cloud of dust; and Powell was sitting 
on the ground hammering with his stick 
and trying to cheer. All the others were 
shouting at the top of what was left of 
their voices, and the men who had been 
spilt were shoutiag too. As soon as the 
people saw no one was hurt, ten thousand 
natives and English shouted and clapped 
and yelled, and before any one could stop 
them the pipers of the Skidars broke on to 
the ground, with all the native officers and 
men behind them, and marched up and 
down, playing a wild Northern tune called 
"Zakhme Bagan," and through the insolent 
blaring of the pipes and the high-pitched 
native yells you could hear the Archangels' 
band hammering, "For they are all jolly 
good fellows," and then reproachfully to 
the losing team, "Ooh, Kafoozalum! Ka- 
foozalum! Kafoozalum!" 

Besides all these things and many more, 
there was a Commander-in-chief, and an 
Inspector-General of Cavalry, and the prin- 
cipal veterinary officer of all India standing 
on the top of a regimental coach, yelling 
like school-boys; and brigadiers and col- 



The Day's IVor^ 



onels and commissioners, and hundreds of 
pretty ladies joined the chorus. But The 
Maltese Cat stood with his head down, 
wondering how many legs were left to 
him; and Lutyens watched the men and 
ponies pick themselves out of the wreck 
of the two goal-posts, and he patted The 
Maltese Cat very tenderly. 

"I say," said the Captain of the Arch- 
angels, spitting a pebble out of his mouth, 
"will you take three thousand for that pony 
— as he stands?" 

"No thank you. Fve an idea he's saved 
my life," said Lutyens, getting ofi and lying 
down at full length. Both teams were on 
the ground too, waving their boots in the 
air, and coughing and drawing deep 
breaths, as the saises ran up to take away 
the ponies, and an officious water-carrier 
sprinkled the players with dirty water till 
they sat up. 

"My aunt!" said Powell, rubbing his 
back, and looking at the stumps of the 
goal-posts. "That was a game!" 

They played it over again, every stroke 
of it, that night at the big dinner, when 
the Free-for-All Cup ^yas filled and passed 
down the table, and emptied and filled 
again, and everybody made most eloquent 
speeches. About two in the morning, when 



there might have been some singing, a 
wise little, plain little, grey Httle head 
looked in through the open door. 

"Hurrah! Bring him in," said the Arch- 
angels; and his sais, who was very happy 
indeed, patted The Maltese Cat on the 
flank, and he limped in to the blaze of light 
and the glittering uniforms lo^jking for 
Lutyens. He was used to messes, and men's 
bedrooms, and places where ponies are not 
usually encouraged, and in his youth had 
jumped on and off a mess-table for a bet. 
So he behaved himself very politely, and 
ate bread dipped in salt, and was petted all 
round the table, moving gingerly; and they 
drank his health, because he had done 
more to win the Cup than any man or 
horse on the ground. 

That was glory and honour enough for 
the rest of his days, and The Maltese Cat 
did not complain much when the veteri- 
nary surgeon said that he would be no 
good for polo any more. When Lutyens 
married, his wife did not allow him to 
play, so he was forced to be an umpire; 
and his pony on these occasions was a flea- 
bitten grey with a neat polo-tail, lame all 
round, but desperately quick on his feet, 
and, as everybody knew. Past Pluperfect 
Prestissimo Player of the Game. 



W. B. YEATS (1865-1939) 



The Ballad of The Foxhunter 



from COLLECTED POEMS 



Although perhaps a little on the sentimental side, the following ballad 
seemed to me eminently suitable to end the hunting section of this boo^. 



"Now lay me in a cushioned chair 
And carry me, you four, 
With cushions here and cushions there, 
To see the world once more. 
And some one from the stables bring 
My Dermot dear and brown, 
And lead him gently in a ring, 
And gently up and down. 

"Now leave the chair upon the grass: 
Bring hound and huntsman here, 
And I on this strange road will pass, 
Filled full of ancient cheer." 
His eyelids droop, his head falls low. 
His old eyes cloud with dreams; 
The sun upon all things that grow 
Pours round in sleepy streams. 

Brown Dermot treads upon the lawn. 
And to the armchair goes. 
And now the old man's dreams are gone, 
He smooths the long brown nose. 

And now moves many a pleasant tongue 
Upon his wasted hands. 
For leading aged hounds and young 
The huntsman near him stands. 



"My huntsman, Rody, blow the horn, 
And make the hills reply." 
The huntsman loosens on the morn 
A gay and wandering cry. 

A fire is in the old man's eyes. 
His fingers move and sway, 
And when the wandering music dies 
They hear him feebly say, 

"My huntsman, Rody, blow the horn. 
And make the hills reply, 
I cannot blow upon my horn, 
I can but weep and sigh." 

The servants round his cushioned place 
Are with new sorrow rung; 
And hounds are gazing on his face, 
Both aged hounds and young. 

One blind hound only lies apart 
On the sun-smitten grass; 
He holds deep commune in his heart: 
The moments pass and pass. 

The blind hound with a mournful din 
Lifts slow his wintry head; 
The servants bear the body in; 
The hounds wail for the dead. 



io8 



Ill 



Three Famous Rides 



Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, 
To see a fine lady ride on a white horse. 



JL h 



here are many other famous rides, 
of course: The Highwayman of Alfred Noyes, The Last Ride To- 
gether of Broiuning^ for example, but it did not seem to me that 
any except these placed enough emphasis on either the horse or the 
rider himself to make them appropriate enough for this book. 



ROBERT BROWNING (1812-1889) 



"How They Brought the Good 
News from Ghent to Aix" 



I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris and he: 
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all 

three; 
"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gate- 
bolts undrew, 
"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping 

through. 
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest, 
And into the midnight we galloped abreast. 

Not a word to each other; we kept the great 

pace — 
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing 

our place; 
I turned in my saddle and made its girths 

tight, 
Then shortened each stirrup and set the pique 

right, 
Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the 

bit. 
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit. 

'Twas a moonset at starting; but while we 

drew near 
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned 

clear; 
At Boom a great yellow star came out to see; 
At Diififeld 'twas morning as plain as could 

be; 
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard 

the half chime. 
So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!" 



At Aershot, up leaped of a sudden the sun, 
And against him the cattle stood black every 

one, 
To stare through the mist at us galloping past. 
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last, 
With resolute shoulders, each butting away 
The haze, as some bluff river headland its 

spray: 



And his low head and crest, just one sharp 

ear bent back 
For my voice, and the other pricked out on 

his track; 
And one eye's black intelligence, — ever that 

glance 
O'er its white edge at me, his own master, 

askance! 
And the thick heavy spume-flakes, which aye 

and anon 
His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on. 

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, 
"Stay spur! 

Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in 
her; 

We'll remember at Aix" — for one heard the 
quick wheeze 

Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and stag- 
gering knees, 

And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank. 

As down on her haunches she shuddered and 
sank. 



Ill 



Robert Browning 



So we were left galloping, Joris and I, 

Past Lx)oz and past Tongres, no cloud in the 
sky; 

The broad sun above laughed a pitiless 
laugh, 

'Neath our feet broke the brittle, bright stub- 
ble like chaff; 

Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang 
white, 

And "Gallop," gasped Joris, "for Aix is in 



sight!" 



Then I cast loose my buffcoat, each holster let 

fall, 
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and 

all. 
Stood up in the stirrups, leaned, patted his ear, 
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse 

without peer — 
Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any 

noise, bad or good. 
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and 

stood. 



"How they'll greet us!" — and all in a moment 

his roan 
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a 

stone; 
And there was my Roland to bear the whole 



weight 



Of the news which alone could save Aix from 

her fate, 
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the 

brim, 
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim, 



And all I remember is — friends flocking 

round. 
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the 

ground; 
And no voice but was praising this Roland of 

mine. 
As I poured down his throat our last measure 

of wine. 
Which (the burgesses voted by common 

consent) 
Was no more than his due who brought good 

news from Ghent. 



112 



HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807-1882) 



Paul Revere's Ride 



Listen, my children, and you shall hear 

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, 

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; 

Hardly a man is now alive 

Who remembers that famous day and year. 

He said to his friend, "If the British march 
By land or sea from the tow^n to-night. 
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch 
Of the North Church tow^er as a signal light, — 
One if by land, and tw^o if by sea; 
And I on the opposite shore will be, 
Ready to ride and spread the alarm 
Through every Middlesex village and farm. 
For the country folk to be up and to arm." 

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled 

oar 
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore. 
Just as the moon rose over the bay. 
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay 
The Somerset, British man-of-war; 
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar 
Across the moon like a prison bar, 
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified 
By its own reflection in the tide. 

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street 
Wanders and watches, with eager ears, 
Till in the silence around him he hears 
The muster of men at the barrack door, 
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet. 
And the measured tread of the grenadiers. 
Marching down to their boats on the shore. 



Then he climbed the tower of the Old North 

Church, 
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread. 
To the belfry chamber overhead, 
And startled the pigeons from their perch 
On the sombre rafters, that round him made 
Masses and moving shapes of shade, — 
By the trembHng ladder, steep and tall, 
To the highest window in the wall, 
Where he paused to listen and look down 
A moment on the roofs of the town 
And the moonlight flowing over all. 

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead. 

In their night encampment on the hill, 

Wrapped in silence so deep and still 

That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread. 

The watchful night-wind, as it went 

Creeping along from tent to tent. 

And seeming to whisper, "All is well!" 

A moment only he feels the spell 

Of the place and the hour, and the secret 

dread 
Of the lonely belfry and the dead: 
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent 
On a shadowy something far away. 
Where the river widens to meet the bay, — 
A line of black that bends and floats 
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats. 

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride. 
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride 
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere. 
Now he patted his horse's side. 
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near, 



113 



Henry W. 

Then, impetuous, stamped the earth, 
And turned and tightened his saddle girth; 
But mostly he watched with eager search 
The belfry tower of the Old North Church, 
As it rose above the graves on the hill. 
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still. 
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height 
A ghmmer, and then a gleam of light! 
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns, 
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight 
A second lamp in the belfry burns. 

A hurry of hoofs in a village street, 

A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark. 

And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a 

spark 
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet; 
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and 

the light. 
The fate of a nation was riding that night; 
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his 

flight, 
Kindled the land into flame with its heat. 
He has left the village and mounted the steep. 
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and 

deep. 
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides; 
And under the alders that skirt its edge. 
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge, 
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides. 

It was twelve by the village clock. 

When he crossed the bridge into Medford 

town. 
He heard the crowing of the cock, 
And the barking of the farmer's dog. 
And felt the damp of the river fog, 
That rises after the sun goes down. 

It was one by the village clock, 
When he galloped into Lexington. 



Lotigjellow 

He saw the gilded weathercock 

Swim in the moonlight as he passed, 

And the meeting-house windows, black and 

bare. 
Gaze at him with a spectral glare, 
As if they already stood aghast 
At the bloody work they would look upon. 

It was two by the village clock, 

When he came to the bridge in Concord town. 

He heard the bleating of the flock. 

And the twitter of birds among the trees. 

And felt the breath of the morning breeze 

Blowing over the meadow brown. 

And one was safe and asleep in his bed 

Who at the bridge would be first to fall, 

Who that day would be lying dead, 

Pierced by a British musket ball. 

You know the rest. In the books you have read 
How the British Regulars fired and fled, — 
How the farmers gave them ball for ball, 
From behind each fence and farmyard wall, 
Chasing the redcoats down the lane. 
Then crossing the fields to emerge again 
Under the trees at the turn of the road, 
And only pausing to fire and load. 

So through the night rode Paul Revere; 
And so through the night went his cry of 

alarm 
To every Middlesex village and farm, — 
A cry of defiance, and not of fear, 
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, 
And a word that shall echo for evermore! 
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, 
Through all our history, to the last. 
In the hour of darkness and peril and need. 
The people will waken and listen to hear 
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, 
And the midnight message of Paul Revere. 



114 



WILLIAM COWPER (1731-1800) 



The Diverting History of John Gilpin 



John Gilpin was a citizen 

Of credit and renown, 
A train-band Captain eke was he 

Of famous London town. 

John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear, 
"Though wedded we have been 

These twice ten tedious years, yet we 
No holiday have seen. 

To-morrow is our wedding day. 

And we will then repair 
Unto the Bell at Edmonton, 

All in a chaise and pair. 

My sister and my sister's child, 
Myself and children three, 

Will fill the chaise, so you must ride 
On horseback after we." 

He soon replied, — "I do admire 

Of womankind but one. 
And you are she, my dearest dear. 

Therefore it shall be done. 

I am a linen-draper bold, 
As all the world doth know, 

And my good friend the Calender 
Will lend his horse to go." 

Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, — "That's well said, 
And for that wine is dear, 

We will be furnish'd with our own, 
Which is both bright and clear." 



John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife; 

O'erjoyed was he to find 
That though on pleasure she was bent. 

She had a frugal mind. 

The morning came, the chaise was brought, 

But yet was not allow'd 
To drive up to the door, lest all 

Should say that she was proud. 

So three doors off the chaise was stay'd, 

Where they did all get in; 
Six precious souls, and all agog 

To dash through thick and thin. 

Smack went the whip, round went the wheels. 

Were never folk so glad, 
The stones did rattle underneath 

As if Cheapside were mad. 

John Gilpin at his horse's side. 

Seized fast the flowing mane, 
And up he got, in haste to ride. 

But soon came down again; 

For saddle-tree scarce reach'd had he. 

His journey to begin, 
When, turning round his head, he saw 

Three customers come in. 

So down he came; for loss of time, 

Although it grieved him sore. 
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew, 

Would trouble him much more. 



"5 



ii6 Will ill m Cow per 

T was long before the customers Away went Gilpin, neck or nought, 

Were suited to their mind, Away went hat and wig! 

When Betty screaming, came downstairs, He little dreamt when he set out 

"The wine is left behind!" Of running such a rig! 



"Good lack!" quoth he, "yet bring it me, 

My leathern belt likewise, 
In which I bear my trusty sword 

When I do exercise." 

Now mistress Gilpin, careful soul! 

Had two stone bottles found, 
To hold the liquor that she loved, 

And keep it safe and sound. 

Each bottle had a curUng ear. 
Through which the belt he drew, 

And hung a bottle on each side, 
To make his balance true. 



The wind did blow, the cloak did fly. 

Like streamer long and gay. 
Till, loop and button failing both, 

At last it flew away. 

Then might all people well discern 

The bottles he had slung; 
A bottle swinging at each side, 

As hath been said or sung. 

The dogs did bark, the children scream'd. 

Up flew the windows all. 
And evVy soul cried out, "Well done!" 

As loud as he could bawl. 



Then over all, that he might be 

Equipp'd from top to toe. 
His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat. 

He manfully did throw. 

Now see him mounted once again 

Upon his nimble steed. 
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones 

With caution and good heed. 

But, finding soon a smoother road 

Beneath his well-shod feet. 
The snorting beast began to trot. 

Which gall'd him in his seat, 

So "Fair and softly," John he cried, 

But John he cried in vain; 
That trot became a gallop soon, 

In spite of curb and rein. 

So stooping down, as needs he must 

Who cannot sit upright. 
He grasp'd the mane with both his hands, 

And eke with all his might. 

His horse, who never in that sort 

Had handled been before. 
What thing upon his back had got 

Did wonder more and more* 



Away went Gilpin — who but he? 

His fame soon spread around — 
"He carries weight!" "He rides a race!" 

" 'T is for a thousand pound!" 

And still, as fast as he drew near, 

'T was wonderful to view. 
How in a trice the turnpike-men 

Their gates wide open threw. 

And now, as he went bowing down 

His reeking head full low. 
The bottles twain behind his back 

Were shattered at a blow. 

Down ran the wine Into the road, 

Most piteous to be seen. 
Which made his horse's flanks to smoke 

As they had basted been. 

But still he seem'd to carry weight, 
With leathern girdle braced. 

For all might see the bottle-necks 
Still dangling at his waist. 

Thus all through merry Islington 

These gambols he did play, 
Until he came unto the Wash 

Of Edmonton so gay. 



The Diverting History of John Gilpin 

And there he threw the Wash about The Calender, right glad to find 

On both sides of the way, His friend in merry pin. 

Just hke unto a trundUng mop, Rcturn'd him not a single word, 

Or a wild-goose at play. Jkit to the house went in; 



117 



At Edmonton his loving wife 

From the balcony spied 
Her tender husband, wond'ring much 

To see how he did ride. 

"Stop, stop, John Gilpin! — Here's the house!" 

They all at once did cry; 
"The dinner waits and we are tired :" 

Said Gilpin— "So am II" 

But yet his horse was not a whit 

Inclined to tarry there; 
For why? — his owner had a house 

Full ten miles off, at Ware, 

So like an arrow swift he flew, 

Shot by an archer strong; 
So did he fly — which brings me to 

The middle of my song. 

Away went Gilpin, out of breath, 

And sore against his will. 
Till at his friend the Calender's 

His horse at last stood still. 

The Calender, amazed to see 

His neighbour in such trim, 
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate, 

And thus accosted him: — 

"What news? what news? your tidings tell. 

Tell me you must and shall — 
Say why bare-headed you are come. 

Or why you come at all?" 

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit, 

And loved a timely joke, 
And thus unto the Calender 

In merry guise he spoke: — 

"I came because your horse would come; 

And if I well forebode. 
My hat and wig will soon be here. 

They are upon the road." 



Whence straight he came with hat and wig, 

A wig that flow'd behind, 
A hat not much the worse for wear. 

Each comely in its kind. 

He held them up, and in his turn 

Thus show'd his ready wit: — 
"My head is twice as big as yours. 

They therefore needs must fit. 

But let me scrape the dirt away 

That hangs upon your face; 
And stop and eat, for well you may 

Be in a hungry case." 

Said John "It is my wedding-day, 

And all the world would stare, 
If wife should dine at Edmonton, 

And I should dine at Ware." 

So, turning to his horse, he said — 

"I am in haste to dine; 
'T was for your pleasure you came here. 

You shall go back for mine." 

Ah, luckless speech and bootless boast! 

For which he paid full dear; 
For, while he spake, a braying ass 

Did sing most loud and clear; 

Whereat his horse did snort, as he 

Had heard a lion roar, 
And gallop'd oflF with all his might. 

As he had done before. 

Away went Gilpin, and away 

Went Gilpiii's hat and wig! 
He lost them sooner than at first, 

For why? — they were too big! 

Now Mistress Gilpin, when she saw 

Her husband posting down 
Into the country far away. 

She pull'd out half-a-crown; 



And thus unto the youth she said 
That drove them to the Bell — 

"This shall be yours when you bring back 
Mv husband safe and well." 



William Cow per 

With post-boy scramp'ring in the rear, 
They raised the hue and cry: — 



The youth did ride, and soon did meet 

John coming back amain; 
Whom in a trice he tried to stop, 

By catching at his rein; 

But not performing what he meant, 
And gladly would have done, 

The frighted steed he frighted more, 
And made him faster run. 

Away went Gilpin, and away 
Went post-boy at his heels! — 

The post-boy's horse right glad to miss 
The lumb'ring of the wheels. 

Six gentlemen upon the road, 
Thus seeing Gilpin fly, 



"Stop thief! stop thief — a highwayman!'* 
Not one of them was mute; 

And all and each that pass'd that way 
Did join in the pursuit. 

And now the turnpike gates again 

Flew open in short space; 
The toll-men thinking, as before. 

That Gilpin rode a race. 

And so he did, and won it too, 

For he got first to town; 
Nor stopp'd till where he had got up 

He did again get down. 

Now let us sing, Long live the king, 

And Gilpin, long live he; 
And when he next doth ride abroad. 

May I be there to see! 



ii8 



IV 

Horse Trading 



One white leg — buy him, 

Two white legs — try him, 

Three white legs — deny him, 

Four white legs and a white nose, 

Take off his hide and throw him to the crows! 

— OLD PROVERB. 



T 



here are probably as many different 
conceptions of the perfect horse as there are types of horses. The 
horseman of experience knows that in horses, as in men, there is no 
such thing as absolute perfection; in every horse one meets there is 
invariably some way, no matter how trivial, in tchich it m^ight be 
improved. ^^That horse is perfect,^^ one says, ^Hf only he had better 
stable manners,^^ or ^^had a faster walk,^^ or ^^stronger hocks,^' 
Think over your stable, you horseman, remember all the horses you 
have ever ridden, and see if this not not so— yet %ve constantly go on 
looking for the ideal. In the following pages are three m^easuring 
rods to help us in our search. 



ANONYMOUS ARABIAN POET (ca. 400 A. D.) 



The Ideal Horse 



Sparse is her head and lean her head, and lean her ears pricked close together, 

Her fetlock is a net, her forehead a lamp lighted 

Illumining the tribe; her neck curves like a palm branch 

Her withers sharp and clean. Upon her chest and throtde 

An amulet hangs of gold. Her forelegs are twin lances 

Her hoofs fly faster even than flies the whirlwind. 

Her tail-bone borne aloft, yet the hairs sweep the gravel. 



121 



WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) 



The Ideal Horse 



from VENUS AND ADONIS 



Round hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long, 
Broad breast, full eye, small head and nostril wide. 
High crest, short ears, straight legs and passing strong, 
Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide: 
Look, what a horse should have, he did not lack. 
Save a proud rider on so proud a back. 



122 



JOHN JORROCKS (ROBERT SMITH SURTEES 
1803-1864) 



The Ideal Horse 



from HANDLE Y CROSS 



71 



"^here is a wast of fancy about 

dealin' — far more than relates to 

. the mere colour; indeed, some say 



that the colour is immaterial, and there is 
an old saw about a good 'oss never being 
of a bad colour, but the first question a 
green-'orn asks is the colour of the prad. 
Old Steropes says, if you have no predilec- 
tion that way, choose a mouse-coloured 
dun, for it has the peculiar adwantage of 
lookin' equally well all the year round. A 
black list down the back makes it still 
more desirable, as the bystanders will sup- 
pose you are ridin' with a crupper, a prac- 
tice no finished 'ossmen ought to neglect. 
This latter point, however, is confuted by 
Gambado, who says, *be werry shy of a 
crupper if your 'oss naturally throws his 
saddle forward. It will certainlie make his 
tail sore, set him a-kickin', and werry 
likely bring you into trouble.' 

"How perplexin' must all this be to a be- 
ginner," exclaimed Mr. Jorrocks, throwing 
up his hands. 

"The height of an 'oss, Gambado says, is 
perfectly immaterial, prowided he is higher 
behind than before. Nothin' is more 
pleasin' to a traveller than the sensation of 



continually gettin' forward; whereas the 
ridin' of an 'oss of a contrary make is like 
swarmin' the bannisters of a staircase, 
when, though perhaps you really advance, 
you feel as if you were goin' backwards. 

"Gambado says nothin' about the size of 
an 'oss's 'ead, but he says he should carry 
it low, that he may have an eye to the 
ground and see the better where he steps. 
Some say the 'ead should be as large as pos- 
sible, inasmuch as the weight tends to pre- 
w^ent the 'oss from rearin', which is a wice 
dangerous in the highest degree; my idea 
is, that the size of the 'ead is immaterial, 
for the 'oss doesn't go on it, at least he 
didn't ought to do I know. 

"The ears cannot well be too long, Gam- 
bado says, for a judicious rider steers his 
course by fixin' his eyes between them. 
This, however, is a disputed point, and old 
Dicky Lawrence recommends that they 
should be large and loppin' in a horizonal 
direction, by which position no rain can 
possibly enter, and the 'oss will have no 
occasion to shake 'is 'ead, a habit which he 
says not only disturbs the brain but fre- 
quently brings on the mad staggers. 

"Here again the doctors differ! 



123 



124 ^^^"^ 

"It seems agreed on all hands that the 
less a 'oss lifts his fore legs, the easier he 
will move for his rider, and he will likewise 
brush all the stones out of his way, which 
mic^ht otherwise throw him down. Gam- 
bado thinks if he turns his toes well out, 
he wdll disperse them right and left, and 
not have the trouble of kickin' the same 
stone a second time, but I don't see much 
adwantage in this, and think he might as 
well be kickin' the same stone as a fresh 
one. 

*There can be no doubt that a Roman 
nose like Arterxerxes's adds greatly to the 
gravity of an 'oss's countenance. It has a 
fme substantial yeoman-like appearance, 
and well becomes the father of a family, 
a church dignitary, or a man in easy cir- 
cumstances. — A Roman nose and a shovel 
hat are quite unique. — Some think a small 
eye a recommendation, as they are less ex- 
posed to injuries than large ones, but that 
is matter of fancy. The nostrils, Lawrence 
says, should be small, and the lips thick and 
leathery, which latter property aids the 
sensibility of the mouth werry consider- 
ably. — Some prefer an arched neck to a 
ewe, but the latter has a fine consequential 
hair, and ought not to be slighted. 

"It may be prejudice, but I confess I likes 
an 'oss's back wot inclines to a hog bend. — 
Your slack backs are all werry well for 
carryin' millers' sacks, but rely upon it 
there's nothin' like the outward bow for 
makin' them date their leaps properly. 
Many men in the Surrey remember my 



Jorroc^s 

famous 'oss Star-gazer. He was made in that 
form, and in his leaps threw an arch like 
the dome of St. Paul's. A long back is a 
grand thing for a family 'oss. — I've seen my 
cousin Joe clap six of his brats and his light 
porter on the back of the old Crockerdile, 
and the old nag would have carried an- 
other if his tail had been tied up. — ^In the 
'unting field, however, one seldom sees 
more than one man on an 'oss, at a time. 
Tu/o don't look sportin' and the world's 
governed by appearances. 

"Some people object to high-blowers, 
that is, 'osses wot make a noise like steam- 
engines as they go. I don't see no great 
objection to them myself, and think the 
use they are of clearin' the way in crowded 
thoroughfares, and the protection they af- 
ford in dark nights by preventin' people 
ridn' against you, more than counterbalance 
any disconwenience. — Gambado says, a 
ball face, wall eyes, and white legs, answer 
the same purpose, but if you can get all 
four, it will be so much the better. 

"There is an author who says the hip- 
bones should project well beyond the ribs, 
which form will be found werry conwen- 
ient in 'ot weather, as the rider may hang 
his hat on them occasionally, whilst lie 
wipes the perspiration from his brow, 
addin' that that form gives the hannimal 
greater facility in passin' through stable- 
doors, but I am inclined to think that the 
adwice is a little of what the French call 
pleasantre, and we call gammon; at all 
events, I don't follow it." 



EDWARD NOYES WESTCOTT (1847-1898) 



David Harum's Balky Horse 



frotn DAVID HARUM 



David Harum is, of course, the original horse trader. It is his character 
alone that one remembers or wants to remember in the boo\ that bears 
his name, This yarn, about how he bamboozled the deacon, opens the 
boo\, and is the best known of any of his deals. Those who have not 
read it for years will be glad of a chance to laugh again at David and 
his bal\y horse that would "stand without hitchin'!* 



Mrs. Bixbee went on with her 
needlework, with an occasional 
side glance at her brother, who 
was immersed in the gospel of his politics. 
Twice or thrice she opened her lips as if to 
address him, but apparently some restrain- 
ing thought interposed. Finally, the im- 
pulse to utter her mind culminated. "Dave," 
she said, "d' you know what Deakin 
Perkins is sayin' about ye?" 

David opened his paper so as to hide his 
face, and the corners of his mouth twitched 
as he asked in return, "Wa'al, what's the 
deakin say in' now.^^'* 

"He's sayin'," she replied, in a voice 
mixed of indignation and apprehension 
"thet you sold him a balky horse, an' he's 
goin' to hev the law on ye.'* 

David's shoulders shook behind the shel- 



tering page, and his mouth expanded in a 
grin. 

"Wa'al," he replied after a moment, 
lowering the paper and looking gravely at 
his companion over his glasses, "next to 
the deakin's religious experience, them of 
lawin' an' horse-tradin' air his strongest 
p'ints, an' he works the hull on 'em to once 
sometimes." 

The evasiveness of this generality was 
not lost on Mrs. Bixbee, and she pressed 
the point with, "Did ye? an' will he?" 

"Yes, an' no, an' mebbe, an' mebbe not," 
was the categorical reply. 

"Wa'al," she answered with a snap, 
"mebbe you call that an answer. I s'pose if 
you don't want to let on you won't, but I 
do believe you've ben playin' some trick 
on the deakin, an' won't own up. I do 



125 



126 



Edward Noyes Westcott 



wish," she added, "that if you hed to git 
rid of a balky horse onto somebody you'd 
hev picked out somebody else." 

"When you got a balker to dispose of," 
said David gravely, "you can't alwus pick 
an' choose. Fust come, fust served." Then 
he went on more seriously: "Now I'll tell 
ye. Quite a while ago — in fact, not long 
after I come to enjoy the priv'lidge of the 
deakin's acquaintance — we hed a deal. I 
wa'n't jest on my guard, knowin' him to 
be a deakin an' all that, an' he lied to me so 
splendid that I was took in, clean over my 
head. He done me so brown I was burnt 
in places, an' you c'd smell smoke 'round 
me fer some time." 

"Was it a horse .^" asked Mrs. Bixbee 
gratuitously. 

"Wa'al," David replied, "mebbe it had 
ben some time, but at that partic'lar time 
the only thing to determine that fact was 
tliat it wa'n't nothin' else." 

"Wa'al, I declare!" exclaimed Mrs. Bix- 
bee, wondering not more at the deacon's 
turpitude than at the lapse in David's 
acuteness, of which she had an immense 
opinion, but commenting only on the for- 
mer. "I'm 'mazed at the deakin." 

"Yes'm," said David with a grin, "I'm 
quite a liar myself when it comes right 
down to the hoss bus'nis, but the deakin 
c'n give me both bowers ev'ry hand. He 
done it so slick that I had to laugh when 
I come to think it over — an' I had witnesses 
to the hull confab, too, that he didn't know 
of, an' I c'd 've showed him up in great 
shape if I'd a mind to." 

"Why didn't ye?" said Aunt Polly, whose 
feelings about the deacon were undergoing 
a revulsion. 

"Wa'al, to tell ye the truth, 1 was so 
completely skunked that I hadn't a word 



to say. I got rid o' the thing fer what it was 
wuth fer hide an' taller, an' stid of squealin' 
'round the way you say he's doin', like a 
stuck pig, I kep' my tongue between my 
teeth an' laid to git even some time." 

"You ort to 've hed the law on him," 
declared Mrs. Bixbee, now fully converted. 
"The old scamp!" 

"Wa'al," was the reply, "I gen'ally prefer 
to settle out of court, an' in this partic'lar 
case, while I might 'a' ben willin' t' admit 
that I hed ben did up, I didn't feel much 
like swearin' to it. I reckoned the time 'd 
come when mebbe I'd git the laugh on the 
deakin, an' it did, an' we're putty well 
settled now in full." 

"You mean this last puflormance.?" 
asked Mrs. Bixbee. "I wish you'd quit 
beatin' about the bush, an' tell me the hull 
story." 

"Wa'al, it's like this, then, if you will 
hev it. I was over to Whiteboro a while 
ago on a little matter of worldly bus'nis, 
an' I seen a couple of fellers halter-exer- 
cisin' a hoss in the tavern yard. I stood 
'round a spell watchin' 'em, an' when he 
come to a standstill I went an' looked him 
over, an' I liked his looks fust rate. 

"Ter sale.?' I says. 

" 'Wa'al,' says the chap that was leadin' 
hjm, *I never see the hoss that wa'n't if the 
price was right.' 

"Tour'n.^'Isays. 

"'Mine an' his'n,' he says, noddin' his 
head at the other feller. 

" 'What ye askin' fer him V I says. 

" *One-iifty,' he says. 

"I looked him all over agin putty careful, 
an' once or twice I kind o' shook my head 
's if I didn't quite like what I seen, an' 
when I got through I sort o' half turned 
av/ay without sayin' anythin', 's if I'd seen 
enough. 



David Harum 



127 



" The' ain't a scratch ner a pimple on 
him/ says the feller, kind o' resentin' my 
looks. 'He's sound an' kind, an' '11 stand 
without hitchin', an' a lady c'n drive him 
's well 's a man.' 

" *I ain't got anythin' agin him,' I says, 
'an' prob'ly that's all true, ev'ry word on't; 
but one-fifty's a consid'able price fcr a boss 
these days. I hain't no pressin' use fer an- 
other boss, an', in fact,' I says, 'I've got one 
or two fer sale myself.' 

"*He's wuth two hunderd jest as he 
stands,' the feller says, 'He hain't had no 
trainin', an' he c'n draw two men in a 
road-wagin better'n fifty.' 

"Wa'al, the more I looked at him the bet- 
ter I liked him, but I only says, 7^^' so, 
jes' so, he may be wuth the money, but jest 
as I'm fixed now he ain't wuth it to me, 
an' I hain't got that much money with me 
if he was,' I says. The other feller hadn't 
said nothin' up to that time, an' he broke 
in now. *I s'pose you'd take him fer a gift, 
wouldn't ycV he says, kind o' sneerin'. 

"Wa'al, yes,' I says, 1 dunno but I 
would if you'd throw in a pound of tea 
an' a halter.' 

"He kind o' laughed an' says, 'Wa'al, 
this ain't no gift enterprise, an' I guess we 
ain't goin' to trade, but I'd like to know,' 
he says, 'jest as a matter of curios'ty, what 
you'd say he wus wuth to ye?' 

" 'Wa'al,' I says, 'I come over this mornin' 
to see a feller that owed me a trifle o' 
money. Exceptin' of some loose change, 
v/hat he paid me 's all I got with me,' I 
says, takin' out my wallet. 'That wad's got 
a hunderd an' twenty-five into it, an' if 
you'd sooner have your boss an' halter than 
the wad,' I says, 'why, I'll bid ye good-day.' 

"'You're oflerin' one-twenty-five fer the 
boss an' halter?' he says. 

" 'That's what I'm doin',' I says. 



" 'You've made a trade,' he says, puttin' 
out his hand fcr the money an' handin' the 
liahcr over to me." 

"An' didn't ye suspicion nuthin' when 
he took ye up like diat?" asked Mrs. Bix- 
bcc. 

"I did smell woolen some," said David, 
"but I had the hoss an' they had the money, 
an', as fur 's I c'd see, the critter was all 
right. Howsomevcr, I says to 'em: This 
here's all right, fur 's it's gone, but you've 
talked putty strong 'bout this hoss. I don't 
know who you fellers be, but I c'n find out, 
I says. Then the fust feller that done the 
talkin' 'bout the hoss put in an' says, The' 
hain't ben one word said to you about this 
hoss that wa'n't gospel truth, not one word.' 
An' when I come to think on't afterward," 
said David with a half laugh, "it mebbe 
wa'n't gospel truth, but it was good enough 
jury truth. I guess this ain't over 'n' above 
int'restin' to ye, is it?" he asked after a 
pause, looking doubtfully at his sister. 

"Yes, 'tis," she asserted. "I'm lookin' 
forrered to where the deakin comes in, but 
you jes' tell it your own way." 

"I'll git there all in good time," said 
David, "but some of the point of the story'U 
be lost if I don't tell ye what come fust." 

"I allow to Stan' it 's long 's you can," 
she said encouragingly, "seein' what v/ork 
I had gettin' ye started. Did ye find out 
anythin' 'bout them fellers?" 

"I ast the barn man if he knowed who 
they was, and' he said he never seen 'em 
till the yestiddy before, an' didn't know 
'em f'm Adam. They come along with a 
couple of bosses, one drivin' an' t'other 
leadin' — the one 1 bought. I ast him if he 
knowed who I was, an' he said one on 'em 
ast him, an' he told him. The feller said 
to him, seein' me drive up: That's a putty 
likely-lookin' hoss. Who's drivin' him?' An' 



128 Edward Noyes Westcott 

he says to the feller: That's Dave Harum, 



f'm over to Homeville. He's a great feller 
fer hosses,' he says." 

"Dave," said Mrs. Bixbee, ''them chaps 
jest laid fer ye, didn't they?" 

"I reckon they did," he admitted; "an' 
they was as slick a pair as v^as ever drawed 
to," which expression was lost upon his 
sister. David rubbed the fringe of yellow- 
ish-gray hair which encircled his bald pate 
for a moment. 

"Wa'al," he resumed, "after the talk with 
the barn man, I smelt woolen stronger 'n 
ever, but I didn't say nothin', an' had the 
mare hitched an' started back. Old Jinny 
drives with one hand, an' I c'd watch the 
new one all right, an' as we come along I 
begun to think I wa'n't stuck after all, I 
never see a hoss travel evener an' nicer, an' 
when we come to a good level place I sent 
the old mare along the best she knew, an' 
the new one never broke his gait, an' kep' 
right up 'ithout 'par'ntly half tryin'; an' 
Jinny don't take most folks' dust neither. I 
swan! 'fore I got home I reckoned I'd jest 
as good as made seventy-five anyway." 



"Then the' wa'n't nothin' the matter 
with him, after all," commented Mrs. Bix- 
bee in rather a disappointed tone. 

"The meanest thing top of the earth was 
the matter with him," declared David, "but 
I didn't find it out till the next afternoon, 
an' then I found it out good. I hitched him 
to the open buggy an' went 'round by the 
East road, 'cause that ain't so much trav- 
elled. He went along all right till we got 
a mile or so out of the village, an' then I 
slowed him down to a walk. Wa'al, sir, scat 

my ! He hadn't walked more'n a rod 

'fore he come to a dead stan'still. I clucked 
an' gitapp'd, an' finely took the gad to him 



a little; but he only jes' kind o' humped up 
a little, an' stood like he'd took root." 

"Wa'al, now!" exclaimed Mrs. Bixbee. 

"Yes'm," said David; "I was stuck in 
ev'ry sense of the word." 

"What d'ye do?" 

"Wa'al, I tried all the tricks I knowed — 
an' I could lead him — but when I was in 
the buggy he wouldn't stir till he got good 
an' ready; 'n' then he'd start of his own 
accord an' go on a spell, an' — " 

"Did he keep it up?" Mrs. Bixbee inter- 
rupted. 

"Wa'al, I s'd say he did. I finely got home 
with the critter, but I thought one time I'd 
either hev to lead him or spend the night 
on the East road. He balked five sep'rate 
times, varyin' in length, an' it was dark 
when we struck the barn." 

"I should hev thought you'd a wanted to 
kill him," said Mrs. Bixbee; "an' the fellers 
that sold him to ye, too." 

"The' was times," David replied, with a 
nod of his head, "when if he'd a fell down 
dead I wouldn't hev figured on puttin' a 
band on my hat, but it don't never pay 
to git mad with a hoss; an' as fur 's the 
feller I bought him of, when I remembered 
how he told me he'd stand without hitchin', 
I swan! I had to laugh. I did, fer a fact. 
'Stand without hitchin'!' He, he, he!" 

"I guess you wouldn't think it was so 
awful funny if you hadn't gone an' stuck 
that horse onto Deakin Perkins — an' I don't 
see how you done it." 

"Mebbe that is part of the joke," David 
allowed, "an' I'll tell ye th' rest on't. Th' 
next day I hitched the new one to th' 
dem'crat wagin an' put in a lot of straps an' 
rope, an' started off fer the East road agin. 
He went fust rate till we come to about the 
place where we had the fust trouble, an', 
sure enough, he balked agin. I leaned over 



David 

an' hit him a smart cut on the off shoulder, 
but he only humped a little, an' never lifted 
a foot. I hit him another lick, with the 
self-same result. Then I got down an' I 
strapped that animal so't he couldn't move 
nothin' but his head an' tail, an' got back 
into the buggy. Wa'al, bomby, it may 'a' 
ben ten minutes, or it may 'a' ben more or 
less — it's slow work settin' still behind a 
balkin' horse — he was ready to go on his 
own account, but he couldn't budge. He 
kind o' looked around, much as to say, 
'What on earth's the matter?' an' then he 
tried another move, an' then another, but 
no go. Then I got down an' took the 
hopples off an' then climbed back into the 
buggy, an' says 'Cluck,' to him, an' off he 
stepped as chipper as could be, an' we went 
joggin' along all right mebbe two mile, an' 
when I slowed up, up he come agin. I gin 
him another clip in the same place on the 
shoulder, an' I got down an' tied him up 
agin, an' the same thing happened as be- 
fore, on'y it didn't take him quite so long 
to make up his mind about startin', an' we 
went some further without a hitch. But I 
had to go through the pufformance the 
third time before he got it into his head 
that if he didn't go when 7 wanted he 
couldn't go when he wanted, an' that didn't 
suit him; an' when he felt the whip on his 
shoulder it meant bus'nis." 

"Was that the end of his balkin' V asked 
Mrs. Bixbee. 

"I had to give him one more go-round," 
said David, "an' after that I didn't have no 
more trouble with him. He showed symp- 
toms at times, but a touch of the whip on 
the shoulder alwus fetched him. I alwus car- 
ried them straps, though, till the last two 
three times." 

"Wa'al, what's the deakin kickin' about, 



Harum jTq 

then.''" asked Aunt Polly. 'Tou'rc jes' sayin' 
you broke him of balkin'." 

"Wa'al," said David slov/ly, "some hr>ssc$ 
will balk with some folks an' not with 
others. You can't most alwus gcn'ally tell." 

"Didn't the deakin have a chance to try 
him?" 

"He had all the chance he ast fer," re- 
plied David. "Fact is, he done most of the 
sellin', as well 's the buyin', himself." 

"How's that?" 

"Wa'al," said David, "it come about like 
this: After I'd got the boss where I c'd 
handle him I begun to think I'd had some 
int'restin' an' valu'ble experience, an' it 
wa'n't scurcely fair to keep it all to myself. 
I didn't want no patent on't, an' I was 
willin' to let some other feller git a piece. 
So one mornin', week before last — let's see, 
week ago Tuesday it was, an' a mighty nice 
mornin' it was, too — one o' them days that 
kind o' lib'ral up your mind — I allowed to 
hitch an' drive up past the deakin's an' back, 
an' mebbe git somethin' to strengthen my 
faith, et cetery, in case I run acrost him. 
Wa'al, 's I come along I seen the deakin 
putterin' 'round, an' I waved my hand to 
him an' went by a-kitin'. I went up the 
road a ways an' killed a little time, an' when 
I come back there was the deakin, as I ex- 
pected. He was leanin' over the fence, an' 
as I jogged up he hailed me, an' I pulled up. 

" 'Mornin', Mr. Harum,' he says. 

"'Mornin', deakin,' I says. 'How are ye? 
an' how's Mis' Perkins these days?' 

" 'I'm fair,' he says; 'fair to middlin', but 
Mis' Perkins is ailin' some — as usyui/ he 
says." 

"They do say," put in Mrs. Bixbee, "thet 
Mis' Perkins don't hev much of a time her- 
self." 

"Guess she hez all the time tlie' is," 



130 



Edward Noyes Westcott 



answered David. *Wa'al," he went on, "we 
passed the time o' day, an' talked a spell 
about the weather an' all that, an' finely I 
straightened up the lines as if I was goin' 
on, an' then I says: *0h, by the way,' I 
says, *I jest thought on't. I heard Dominie 
White was lookin' fer a hoss that'd suit 
him.' *I hain't heard,' he says; but I see in 
a minute he had — an' it really was a fact — 
an' I says: ^Fve got a roan colt risin' five, 
that I took on a debt a spell ago, that I'll 
sell reasonable, that's as likely an' nice ev'ry 
way a young hoss as ever I owned. I don't 
need him,' I says, *an' didn't want to take 
him, but it was that or nothin' at the time 
an' glad to git it, an' I'll sell him a barg'in. 
Now what I want to say to you, deakin, is 
this: That hoss 'd suit the dominie to a tee 
in my opinion, but the dominie won't come 
to me. Now if you was to say to him — bein' 
in his church an' all thet,' I says, *that you 
c'd git him the right kind of a hoss, he'd 
believe you, an' you an' me 'd be doin' a 
little stroke of bus'nis, an' a favor to the 
dominie into the bargain. The dominie's 
well off,' I says, an' c'n afford to drive a 
good hoss.' " 

"What did the deakin say.^^" asked Aunt 
Polly as David stopped for breath. 

"I didn't expect him to jump down my 
throat," he answered; "but I seen him prick 
up his ears, an' all the time I was talkin' 
I noticed him lookin' my hoss over, head an' 
foot. *Now I 'member,' he says, 'hearin' 
sunthin' 'bout Mr. White's lookin' fer a 
hoss, though when you fust spoke on't it 
had slipped my mind. Of course,' he says, 
'the' ain't any real reason why Mr. White 
shouldn't deal with you direct, an' yit meb- 
be I could do more with him 'n you could. 
But,' he says, 'I wa'n't cal'latin' to go t' 
the village this mornin', an' I sent my hired 



man off with my drivin' horse. Mebbe I'll 
drop 'round in a day or two/ he says, *an' 
look at the roan.' 

" Tou mightn't ketch me,' I says, *an' I 
want to show him myself; an' more'n that,' 
I says, 'Dug Robinson's after the dominie. 
I'll tell ye,' I says, *you jest git in 'ith me 
an' go down an' look at him, an' I'll send 
ye back or drive ye back, an' if you've got 
anythin' special on hand you needn't be 
gone three quarters of an hour,' I says." 

"He come, did he.?" inquired Mrs. Bix- 
bee. 

"He done so" said David sententiously. 
"Jest as I knowed he would, after he'd 
hem'd an' haw'd about so much, an' he rode 
a mile an' a half livelier 'n he done in a 
good while, I reckon. He had to pull that 
old broadbrim of his'n down to his ears, 
an' don't you fergit it. He, he, he, he! The 
road was jest full o' bosses. Wa'al, we drove 
into the yard, an' I told the hired man to 
unhitch the bay hoss an' fetch out the roan, 
an' while he was bein' unhitched the deakin 
stood 'round an' never took his eyes ofl'n 
him, an' I knowed I wouldn't sell the 
deakin no roan hoss that day, even if I 
wanted to. But when he come out I begun 
to crack him up, an' I talked hoss fer all I 
was wuth. The deakin looked him over in 
a don't-care kind of a way, an' didn't 'par- 
ently give much heed to what I was sayin'. 
Finely I says, 'Wa'al, what do you think of 
him?' 'Wa'al,' he says, 'he seems to be a 
likely enough critter, but I don't believe 
he'd suit Mr. White — 'fraid not,' he says. 
'What you askin' fer him?' he says. 'One- 
fifty,' I says, 'an' he's a cheap hoss at the 
money'; but," added the speaker with a 
laugh, "I knowed I might 's well of said a 
thousan'. The deakin wa'n't buyin' no roan 
colts that mornin'." 



David Harum 



131 



"What did he say?" asked Mrs. Bixbee. 

" *Wa'al/ he says, 'wa'al, I guess you ought 
to git that much fcr him, but I'm 'fraid he 
ain't what Mr. White wants/ An' then, 
*That's quite a hoss we come down with,' 
he says. *Had him long?' ']cs long 'nough 
to git 'quainted with him,' I says. *Don't you 
want the roan fer your own use?' I says. 
*Mebbe we c'd shade the price a little.' *No,' 
he says, 1 guess not. I don't need another 
hoss jes' now.' An' then, after a minute he 
says: *Say, mebbe the bay hoss we drove 'd 
come nearer the mark fer White, if he's all 
right. Jest as soon I'd look at him?' he says. 
'Wa'al, I hain't no objections, but I guess 
he's more of a hoss than the dominie 'd 
care for, but I'll go an' fetch him out,' I 
says. So I brought him out, an' the deakin 
looked him all over. I see it was a case of 
love at fust sight, as the story-books says. 
*Looks all right,' he says. 'I'll tell ye, I says, 
*what the feller I bought him of told me.' 
'What's that?' says the deakin. *He said to 
me,' I says, ' "that hoss hain't got a scratch 
ner a pimple on him. He's sound an' kind, 
an' '11 stand without hitchin', an' a lady c'd 
drive him as well 's a man." 

" 'That's what he said to me,' I says, 'an' 
it's every word on't true. You've seen 
whether or not he c'n travel,' I says, *an', so 
fur 's I've seen, he ain't 'fraid of nothin'.' 
*D'ye want to sell him?' the deakin says. 
*Wa'al,' I says 1 ain't oflerin' him fer sale. 
You'll go a good ways,' I says, ' 'fore you'll 
strike such another; but, of course, he ain't 
the only hoss in the world, an' I never had 
anythin' in the hoss line I wouldn't sell at 
some price.' *Wa'al,' he says, 'what d' ye 
ask fer him?' 'Wa'al,' I says, 'if my own 
brother was to ask me that question I'd say 
to him two hunderd dollars, cash down, an' 
I wouldn't hold the offer open an hour,' I 
savs." 



"My!" ejaculated Aunt Polly. "Did he 
take you up?" 

" 'That's morc'n I give fcr a hoss 'n a 
good while,' he says, shakin' his head, 'an 
more'n I c'n afford, I'm 'fraid.' 'All right,' 
I says; 'I c'n afford to keep him'; but I knew 
I had the deakin same as the woodchuck 
had Skip. 'Hitch up the roan,' I says to 
Mike; 'the deakin wants to be took up to 
his house. 'Is that your last word ?' he says. 
'That's what it is,' I says. 'Two hunderd, 
cash down.' " 

"Didn't ye dast to trust the deakin?" 
asked Mrs. Bixbee. 

"Polly," said David, "the's a number of 
holes in a ten-foot ladder." Mrs. Bixbee 
seemed to understand this rather ambigu- 
ous rejoinder. 

"He must 'a' squirmed some," she re- 
marked. David laughed. 

"The deakin ain't much used to payin' 
the other feller's price," he said, "an' it was 
like pullin' teeth; but he wanted that hoss 
more'n a cow wants a calf, an' after a litde 
more squimmidgin' he hauled out his wal- 
let an' forked over. Mike come out with the 
roan, an' off the deakin went, leadin' the 
bay hoss." 

"I don't see," said Mrs. Bixbee, looking 
up at her brother, "thet after all the' was 
anythin' you said to the deakin thet he 
could ketch holt on." 

"The' wa'n't nothin'," he replied. "The 
only thing he c'n complain about's what I 
didn't say to him." 

"Hain't he said anythin' to ye?" Mrs. 
Bixbee inquired. 

"He, he, he, he! He hain't but once, an' 
the' wa'n't but little of it then." 

"How?" 

"Wa'al, the day but one after the deakin 
sold himself Mr. Stickin'-Plaster I had an 
arrant three four mile or so up past his 



132 



Edward Noyes Westcott 



place, an' when I was comin' back, along 
'bout four or half past, it come on to rain 
like all possessed. I had my old umbrel' — 
though it didn't hender me fm gettin' 
more or less wet — an' I sent the old mare 
along fer all she knew. As I come along 
to within a mile f'm the deakin's house I 
seen somebody in the road, an' when I 
come up closter I see it was the deakin him- 
self, in trouble, an' 1 kind o' slowed up to 
see what was goin' on. There he was, settin' 
all humped up with his old broad-brim hat 
slopin' down his back, a'sheddin' water like 
a roof. Then I seen him lean over an' larrup 
the hoss with the ends of the lines fer all 
he was wuth. It appeared he hadn't no 
whip, an' it wouldn't done him no good if 
he'd had. Wa'al, sir, rain or no rain, I jest 
pulled up to watch him. He'd larrup a spell, 
an' then he'd set back; an' then he'd lean 
over an' try it agin, harder 'n ever. Scat 

my ! I thought I'd die a-laughin'. I 

couldn't hardly cluck to the mare when I 
got ready to move on. I drove alongside an' 
pulled up. 'Hullo, deakin,' I says, 'what's the 
matter.?' He looked up at me, an' I won't 
say he was the maddest man I ever see, but 
he was long ways the maddest-/oo^/«' man, 
an' he shook his iist at me jes' like one o' the 
unregen'rit. 'Consarn ye, Dave Harum!' he 
says, 'I'll hev the law on ye fer this.' 'What 
fer.'^' I says. 'I didn't make it come on to 
rain, did IV I says. 'You know mighty well 
what fer,' he says. 'You sold me this damned 
beast,' he says, 'an' he's balked with me 
nine times this afternoon, an' I'll fix ye 
for 't,' he says. 'Wa'al, deakin,' I says, 'I'm 
'fraid the squire's office '11 be shut up 'fore 
you git there, but I'll take any word you'd 
like to send. You know I told ye,' I says, 
'that he'd stand 'ithout hitchin'.' An' at that 
he only jest kind o' choked an' sputtered. 
He was so mad he couldn't say nothin', an' 



on I drove, an' when I got about forty rod 
or so I looked back, an' there was the deakin 
a-comiii' along the road with as much of 
his shoulders as he could git under his hat 
an' leadin his new hoss. He, he, he, he ! Oh, 
my stars an' garters! Say, Polly, it paid me 
fer bein' born into this vale o' tears. It did, 
I declare for't!" 

Aunt Polly wiped her eyes on her apron. 

"But, Dave," she said, "did the deakin 
really say — that word?" 

"Wa'al," he replied, "if 'twa'n't that it 
was the puttiest imitation on't that ever I 
heard." 

"David," she continued, "don't you think 
it putty mean to badger the deakin so't he 
swore, an' then laugh 'bout it } An' I s'pose 
you've told the story all over." 

"Mis' Bixbee," said David emphatically, 
"if I'd paid good money to see a funny show 
I'd be a blamed fool if I didn't laugh, 
wouldn't I.'^ That specticle of the deakin 
cost me consid'able, but it was more'n wuth 
it. But," he added, "I guess, the way the 
thing stands now, I ain't so much out on 
the hull." 

Mrs. Bixbee looked at him inquiringly. 

"Of course, you know Dick Larrabee.?" 
he asked. 

She nodded. 

"Wa'al, three four days after the shower, 
an' the story 'd got aroun' some — as you 
say, the deakin is consid'able of a talker-^ 
I got holt of Dick — I've done him some 
favors an' he natur'ly expects more — an' I 
says to him : *Dick,' I says, *I hear 't Deakin 
Perkins has got a hoss that don't jest suit 
him — hain't got knee-action enough at 
times, 1 says, *an' mebbe he'll sell him reas- 
onable.' I've heerd somethin' about it,' says 
Dick, laughin'. 'One of them kind o' 
hosses 't you don't like to git ketched out 



in the rain with/ he says. 7cs' so,' I says. 
*Now/ I says, ^I've got a notion 't I'd Hke 
to own that hoss at a price, an' that mebbc 
/ c'd git him home even if it did rain. Here's 
a hundred an' ten,' I says, 'an' I want you 
to see how fur it'll go to buyin' him. If you 
git me the hoss you needn't bring none on't 
back. Want to try?' I says. 'All right,' he 
says, an' took the money. 'But,' he says, 
'won't the deakin suspicion that it comes 



David Harum 133 

from you?' 'Wa'al,' I says, 'my portrit ain't 



on none o' the bills, an' I reckon you won't 
tell him so, out an' out,' an' off he went. 
Yistidy he come in, an' I says, 'Wa'al, done 
anythin'?' 'The hoss is in your barn,' he 
says. 'Good fcr you!' I says. 'Did you make 
anythin'?' 'I'm satisfied,' he says. 'I made a 
ten-dollar note.' An' that's the net results 
on't," concluded David, "that I've got the 
hoss, an' he's cost me jest thirty-five dollars." 



DAVID GRAY (1870- ) 



The Parish of St. Thomas Equinus 



from GALLOPS 



David Gray^s two volumes of Gallops are too well \nown and loved 
to require comment, I chose this tale because to my mind it is the most 
ludicrous and the most rib-tickling of all. Furthermore, it gives what 
is supposedly an accurate picture of the same type of *' horse -minded" 
society that Mr. Munro characterizes with such satirical force in Esme. 
And the difference between the satire and the serious is so little as to be 
almosi non-existent! 



T 



^he bishop settled himself in an 
armchair, crossed his short legs, 
and gave a sigh of relief and com- 
fort. Through the open window he could 
see the hills across the valley and the two 
spires of Oakdale village. There was a 
gleam of silver in the bottom-lands where 
a bend of the river revealed itself. Out of 
doors the air was hot with the afternoon 
sun and murmurous with insect noises, but 
the large drawingroom was pleasantly dark- 
ened and cool. The bishop felt that he had 
earned peace, and meant to enjoy it. With 
half-closed eyes he watched the tea-things 
brought in and the two slender young 
women seat themselves by the table. Mrs. 
Alden Adams began to make the tea. 

*'Did you have a good time?" she asked 
the bishop. 



"Yes," said the bishop; "I suppose so. It 
was rather extraordinary, however. — Two 
lumps and a little cream," he added. 

"Extraordinary.?" Mrs. Adams echoed 
inquiringly as she passed the cup. 

"I think I may say very extraordinary," 
he replied in an injured tone. 

Miss Colfax stopped in the middle of a 
stitch — she was embroidering something. 

"I suppose the rector bored you to death," 
she said. "I hope you ordered him to stop 
advising the farmers to put up wire." 

"Wire.? Wire what.?" asked the prelate, 
as if he were hearing of a new heresy. 

"Wire fences, of course," the girl replied. 
"You can't jump wire." 

The bishop seemed at a loss. "No," he 
said, "I suppose not. I don't want to. But, 



134 



Gallops 



135 



my dear young woman, I haven*t seen the 
rector." 

"Why," said Mrs. Adams, who was trying 
to snuff the lamp under the kettle, "I 
thought you and Willie had gone to the 
rectory in the victoria." 

"That's what we were going to do," the 
bishop answered, with a resentful note in 
his voice; "but we gave up the victoria and 
your horses. The ones we did take made 
other arrangements." 

The girl looked up from her work. "An 
accident .f^" she inquired. 

TJie bishop hemmed. "I should hardly 
call it an accident. An accident is something 
contrary to probabilities." Both women 
looked puzzled. "My young friend, Mr. 
William Colfax," he went on, "informed 
me, as we were about to start, that the 
horses harnessed to the victoria were such 
*rum skates' — pardon me, those were his 
words — that he would prefer to take me 
with some of his own. 

"I am glad he was so thoughtful," ob- 
served his sister; "it isn't often that he is." 

The bishop scrutinized the girl. She was 
earnestly embroidering. The corners of his 
mouth twitched. 

"It was thoughtful," he continued. "He 
had a high red cart and a tandem. Two 
grooms held the horse in front, and there 
was another at the head of the wheeler." 

The girl dropped the work in her lap. "I 
think Willie's manners are improving," she 
said simply. "He hasn't been so civil to 
anybody stopping in the house since he let 
Carty Carteret ride Manslaughter. He must 
like you." 

"But I don't think," Mrs. Adams objected, 
"that a tandem is the proper thing for a 
bishop to visit one of his rectors in — ^not the 
first time, anyway." 



"I may say," observed the bishop, "that 
this thought occurred to me also." 

"Oh, stuff, Kate!" the girl interposed. 
"We're not in town. You're rufSed because 
Willie said your victoria horses were skates 
— and they are." 

The bishop avoided a discussion of this 
question. "It may be," he said, "but I should 
have preferred them to the tandem. Wil- 
liam said that he believed his horses were 
safe, or if they were not we should find it 
out. Before I was quite in the cart the front 
one pawed one of the men, and they let go 
of him." 

"What could you expect?" said the girl. 
"He'd never been put to harness before." 

"William mentioned that fact after we 
had started," the bishop continued. "At the 
Four Corners we met a steam threshing- 
machine, and the leader took the road in 
the opposite direction from the village. 
Then they both ran away." He paused to 
allow his words to take effect. The bare fact 
seemed to him impressive enough. He re- 
flected what a terrible picture the news- 
papers might make of Bishop Cunningham 
in a runaway, and he considered how he 
could soften the information for his wife. 

"They must have taken the Hemlock 
Hill road," Miss Colfax said thoughtfully. 
"How far did they run ?" 

The prelate looked annoyed. "Really I 
can't say," he replied. "I don't know the 
country, you know. At first your brother 
thought we'd stop for the groom — we had 
lost him at the threshing-machine. But the 
horses pulled so that he asked me if I didn't 
think we would better let them go and 
enjoy it while it lasted." He swallowed 
some tea, and glanced from one to the 
other of the women. 

"You couldn't have been very far from 



^i6 



David Gray 



the GallowaysV' Mrs. Adams suggested un- 
certainly, as though she were expected to 
say something. "We dine there tonight, you 
know. Pretty road, isn't it?" 

**Is it?'' said the bishop, dryly. Both 
women laughed. "I dare say, I dare say," he 
went on; "but I was thinking of something 
else than the scenery. We stopped the horses 
at the foot of the hill, and William said that 
if I didn't mind putting off going to the 
rectory he would go in and trade the leader 
to Mr. Galloway. He said that it was no use 
bothering with such a puller; and I quite 
agreed with him, though I wished he had 
come to that conclusion sooner." 

"Willie had promised to let me hunt 
Albion," said the girl, regretfully. 

"Never mind, dear," exclaimed her aunt; 
"you can have Alden's Thunder. I think 
he's afraid to ride him himself. But you 
missed seeing the rector," she added, turn- 
ing to the bishop; "that was too bad." 

Miss Colfax laughed. "You didn't miss 
much, and you did have a good drive. Of 
course it wasn't very long, but while it 
lasted it must have been rare. I've never had 
a tandem run with me." The prelate looked 
at her wonderingly. "But," she continued, 
"I don't see how Willie could have made 
much of a trade, with Albion so wet and 
hot." 

The bishop's eye lighted up. "Yes; that 
was rather extraordinary." 

"Extraordinary?" his companions re- 
peated together. 

"How, extraordinary?" Eleanor asked. 
"And you said you had an extraordinary 
afternoon, too. I don't see anything extra- 
ordinary about it." Sitting erect, with her 
hands in her lap, and a shaft of sunlight 
burnishing her hair, she was very beautiful, 
and as the bishop looked upon her his ex- 
pression softened. 



"My dear young lady," he explained, "I 
am a stout, elderly person, and for twenty 
years I have gone about in a brougham 
drawn, I may say, by a confidential horse. 
I have had to do only with the things which 
are the duties of a city clergyman. I have 
been a bishop but six months, and this is 
my first introduction to Oakdale, which my 
venerable predecessor sometimes alluded to 
as the parish of St. Thomas Equinus. Some 
things about it seem a little new, you know 
— yes, I may even say extraordinary." 

The girl looked at him reprovingly, as if 
she suspected him of joking. 

"I suppose," said Mrs. Adams, "that you 
are not much interested in hunting, and all 
that. I know a man — Mr. Fairfield, the 
architect — ^who feels just as you do about it. 
He says this is the dullest place he ever got 
into." 

"I shouldn't call it dull," protested the 
bishop. 

"Well, I'm glad of that," she replied 
gratefully. "I should hate to have you bored. 
I hate being bored myself." 

Miss Colfax yawned as if at the mention 
of the word, and put a slim and very white 
hand to her mouth. "You haven't told us 
yet what Willie got for Albion," she said 
lazily. 

"I am not quite certain whether I know," 
the bishop replied. "It was somewhat com- 
plicated." 

"Why? Wasn't Charley Galloway at 
home?" asked Mrs. Adams. 

"Oh, yes. We met him in the drive and 
William asked him at once if he could 
detect anything wrong in the leader's wind. 
He said he had galloped him six miles to 
find out. That was one of the things which 
struck me as extraordinary." 

"You didn't think Willie was so clever, 
did you ?" asked the girl. 



Gallops 



m 



"No; I didn't," said the bishop. "There 
were several other interesting occurrences, 
however, before the bargain was concluded. 
Mr. Galloway offered us refreshments, and 
then invited me out to see his horses jump." 

"Only his green ones, I suppose," said the 
girl, with a shade of contempt — "lunged 
in the runway." 

"Was that it? There was a kind of lane 
with high fence on both sides, and barriers 
erected at intervals. The stablemen shooed 
the horses over without anyone on them. 
Then, for my particular benefit, Mr. Gal- 
loway ended by sending a Jersey cow over. 
You know I am the president of a Society 
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals!" 

"Really!" exclaimed Mrs. Adams, as 
though she found it hard to believe. 

"It's odd the way he loves that cow," 
observed Miss Colfax. "He says he'll match 
her against any cow in America." 

The bishop nervously gulped down his 
tea, and set the cup on the table. "I think," 
he said, "that if you will allow me, I must 
call Mr. Galloway a very extraordinary 
young man." 

Mrs. Adams laughed. "He must have had 
that waistcoat on," she said meaningly to 
her niece. 

The ghost of a smile softened the bishop's 
mouth. "I think it likely," he said. "It was 
red, yellow, and black." 

"There's blue in it, too," Miss Colfax 
added. "I made it myself. Kate is a little 
envious because it's more effective than the 
one she made for Willie. But please tell us 
how the trade came out." 

"At first it seemed as though there wasn't 
going to be one. Mr. Galloway wasn't sure 
that he cared for a steeplechaser, or that he 
had anything to barter." 

"Yes, of course!" the girl exclaimed. 
"It's always that way. Go on, please." 



"But finally he brought out a big sorrel 
horse which he called Lr^rclci." 

"Lorelei? Lorelei?" repeated Miss Qjlfax. 
"How was she bred?" The bishop sat up 
with a start. "Oh, never mind!" she con- 
tinued. "Probably you didn't ask. What cut 
of horse was it?" 

The bishop shut his lips tight, settled 
himself again, and folded his hands. 

"I mean," said the girl, "was it a harness 
horse or a jumper?" 

A mental conflict was going on inside 
the prelate. Was it meet for a bishop of the 
Church to submit to all this? But the tea 
and the easy-chair and the girl's gray eyes 
were mollifying his indignation, and his 
sense of humor was reasserting itself. 

"A jumper, I think," he answered in a 
resigned way. "Mr. Galloway said she could 
jump an enormous height — ten feet, if I 
remember correctly." The aunt and niece 
exchanged glances. "He said he had just 
got her from Long Island, and didn't want 
to part with her, only she was too slow 
to race, and he had plenty of hunters." 

"What did Willie think of her?" 

"He asked me if it didn't look as though 
her front legs had been fired — I think it 
was fired." 

"Probably had been," Mrs. Adams in- 
terpolated. 

"Well, Mr. Galloway was indignant 
about it; and I said I shouldn't venture any 
opinion — in fact, I said I hadn't any, which 
was the truth." 

"How odd!" said Miss Colfax, looking at 
him suspiciously. 

"Not at all," her aunt objected. "Some- 
times even a veterinary can't tell." 

"They examined Albion after that," con- 
tinued the bishop. "William — very honor- 
ably, I thought — admitted that he pulled 
a little." There was a twinkle in the pre- 



138 David 

latical eye. ''But he expatiated on his wind 
and his endurance, and recited his pedi- 
gree." 

"War-cry out of a Lapidist mare, second 
dam by True Blue, third by Longfellow," 
the girl repeated. "It's very good, isn't it.?" 

The bishop looked appealingly at Mrs. 
Adams. 

"Yes; it's capital," she said reassuringly. 

"Do you mind giving me a little more 
tea?" inquired the bishop. "But," he went 
on, "Mr. Galloway said that he couldn't 
think of exchanging on even terms. He 
suggested that William should throw in a 
dun-colored pony and some kind of a cart." 

"The pig!" exclaimed Miss Colfax. 

The bishop laughed. "William seemed to 
be of that opinion. He intimated that if I 
wanted to convert a Jew I had the op- 
portunity. I thought it was wiser for me 

to withdraw, so I went to see the Jersey 

J) 
cow. 

"Well, how did they settle it.?" asked the 
girl. 

"As far as I could understand, they ar- 
ranged a balance by extending the scope 
of the negotiations. Your brother secured 
Lorelei, a pair of cobs, — cobs, I believe, — 
a brood mare, and some chickens." 

"Charley's game Japs, of course," said the 
girl, half to herself. The bishop looked 
puzzled, but disregarded the interruption. 

"Mr. Galloway got Albion," he explained, 
"another horse named Jupiter, the cart, the 
dun-colored pony, a foxterrier, and a lady's 
bicycle. It was very ridiculous; don't you 
think so.?" 

The women seemed not to hear the ques- 
tion. They were considering the terms of 
the trade. 

"It was characteristic of Willie to trade 
your bicycle," said Mrs. Adams to her niece. 

"I don't care," the girl replied; "I never 



Gray 

use it. Did he tell Charley about Albion 
running away.?" 

"Well," said the bishop, slowly, "as we 
drove off he did tell him that the horse 
pulled a good deal." 

"And that was the second time he had 
told him," said Mrs. Adams. 

"Yes. And Mr. Galloway advised your 
nephew to keep the mare's legs in bandages 
for a few days. He explained that they 
might be stiff after her journey on the cars. 

"I have my suspicions about those legs," 
Miss Colfax remarked. "Charley is a bit 
too keen for a gentleman." She moved idly 
to the piano, and began to play. The bishop 
watched her with growing amazement. She 
played on, perhaps for ten minutes. 

"That was very beautiful — ^wonderful!" 
he exclaimed when she stopped. She 
nodded, and swung herself around on the 
piano-stool. 

"Do you remember whether the cobs 
were light chestnut.?" she asked. 

"I do not," said the bishop; and mutter- 
ing to himself, he left the room. 

The Alden Adamses, their niece, and 
Bishop Cunningham found the usual 
party at the Galloways' that evening; but 
young Colfax sent word that he was in- 
disposed. At the last moment the tip had 
come that there was to be a quiet cocking- 
main in the village. He considered the ad- 
visability of taking the bishop, who seemed 
to him to have possibilities worth cultivat- 
ing, but decided that it might cause talk. 

The bishop was rather confused by the 
fashion in which the people at the dinner 
addressed each other by their Christian 
names, or even more informally; but he 
sat next to Mrs. Galloway, who impressed 
him favorably. She was the daughter of a 
Philadelphia millionaire who was a pillar 
of the Presbyterian faith, and she had been 



Gallops 



139 



married only a year. It was her first season 
at Oakdale, and the bishop experienced a 
certain feeling of relief in her company. 
The dinner was good, if the guests were 
somewhat noisy; and the bishop adapted 
himself to the conditions with the cheer- 
fulness of a liberal churchman and a man 
of culture. Mrs. Galloway, he found, al- 
though a dissenter by birth, adopted her 
husband's religious preferences in the 
country; and she was so much interested in 
the bishop's project for a boys' gild in the 
village that he was encouraged to believe 
his first impression of Oakdale incorrect. 
He felt again as though he were in a society 
which he understood ; and, furthermore, the 
reliable victoria horses were in the stable 
waiting to take him home. 

Miss Colfax, who sat on his right, ap- 
peared content with the occasional remarks 
which served her other neighbor, Jimmy 
Braybrooke, in the stead of conversation, 
and left the prelate for the most part to his 
hostess. As the dessert was served, however, 
he became aware that Miss Colfax was talk- 
ing down the table to Galloway about the 
afternoon's horse-trade; and this conversa- 
tion attracted Mrs. Galloway's attention 
also. 

She heard her husband say, "Oh, yes, 
Lorelei will jump anything." There was a 
lull in the talk, and the words came dis- 
tinctly. She looked up. 

"Lorelei ?" she repeated half aloud. Then, 
raising her voice: "Charley Galloway, you 
don't mean to tell me you traded that horse 
to Mr. Colfax.?^ If you did, you will take her 
back. You told me yesterday she was broken 
down and not worth twenty-five cents.'* 

A roar of laughter broke from the men — 
all except the bishop. He was regarding 
Mrs. Galloway with silent admiration. Yet, 
as Varick said afterward, he must have 



missed half the joke, because he was un- 
aware that the lady spoke with the authority 
which clothes the bank-account of an 
establishment. 

Galloway, the unblushing, was for once 
discomfited, and the laughter rose again. 
Just then the footman whispered something 
in his ear, and he hastily left the room. 

"I trust there has been some mistake 
about this," remarked the bishop, benevo- 
lently. 

"He ought to be ashamed of himself," 
said Miss Colfax. "Willie would never have 
done such a thing. It's dishonorable." 

"Excuse me. Miss Colfax!" said Mrs. 
Galloway, flushing. 

"Goodness me!" the bishop murmured. 
Then in his professional voice he began an 
anecdote that figured in his favorite ser- 
mon; but, to his relief, Galloway entered 
the room again, and all eyes were turned 
upon him. 

"He's been writing Willie a check," 
Varick suggested in a loud whisper. But 
he took no notice of Varick. He remained 
standing, one hand on the back of his chair, 
his napkin in the other. A smile puckered 
the corners of his mouth. 

"I am informed," he said pleasantly, 
"that Tim, my stable-boy has broken two 
legs, and that Albion, the horse I got from 
my friend Colfax today, has broken one. I 
ordered him tried on the steeplechase 
course, and he ran through the liverpool. 
They shot him. And Tim's mother, who is 
Mrs. Galloway's laundress, is going to 
prosecute me. She says I had no business 
to put the boy on such a horse." 

"Albion.? Albion.?" said Captain Forbes. 
"Is that the horse.? Well, he has rather an 
ugly reputation. He ran through a jump 
over in Canada last year, and killed his 
jockey.'* 



140 David 

Another burst of laughter made the 
candle-flames tremble, and an unholy 
smile grew upon Mrs. Galloway's meek lit- 
tle mouth. It was a smile that made the 
bishop shudder and turn away his head. He 
glanced at Eleanor Colfax. Her face was 
expressionless. Her lips moved, but in the 
hubbub only he and Braybrooke heard. 

"I am very sorry," she said, "that the 
little idiot broke his legs; but he probably 
pulled the horse into the jump. He can't 
ride, and never will be able to learn. Mr. 
Galloway should have known better than to 
trust him with the horse." 

"That's exactly it," Braybrooke assented, 
while the laughter of the others still rippled 
on. 

"Bless me!" said the bishop to himself, 
"this is extraordinary — most extraordinary! 
I beg pardon!" he exclaimed, recovering 
his senses and rising hastily, for the ladies 
were leaving the room. 

During the rest of the evening Bishop 
Cunningham, the practised diner-out, 
opened not his mouth. When he eventually 
reached the haven of his bedchamber, he 
took up his dairy, as he had done nightly 
for fifty years. Then he paused. Then events 
of the day passed before his mind's eye 
like the unordered memories of a play: 
the red dog-cart, the tandem, the foppish 
youth who calmly guided the runaway 
horses and proposed they should enjoy it 
while it lasted; Mr. Galloway, his waistcoat, 
the jumping cow, and the peculiar incidents 
of the horse-trade; the tea-table, and the 
two fair young women. 



Gray 

The bishop had come to know many 
curious things about women for he had 
known many women as the father con- 
fessor does ; but he said to himself that these 
were a new sort. The picture of the girl 
rose before him as she looked when she 
stopped her wonderful playing to ask about 
the chestnut cobs. He thought of her gentle 
gray eyes, and then of her words at the 
dinner-table when she heard about the 
boy's accident. "Has she two souls," he 
murmured, "or none.f^" From Eleanor Col- 
fax his mind turned to Mrs. Galloway and 
the way she had smiled and to her guests, 
— ^gentlefolk, — who talked of broken bones 
as one might talk of buttered muffins, and 
seemed to consider the legal doctrine of 
caveat emptor a pleasant matter of course 
in horse-trading. According to his habit, he 
labored to classify his impressions in the 
pigeonholes of his mind, and to index them, 
so to say, in his diary. How long he labored 
he knew not, but his efforts were vain. His 
thoughts came and went in a hopeless 
jumble, and the page lay blank before him. 
Suddenly he heard the tall clock in the 
lower hallway sound its prelude of muffled 
arpeggios, and then two low, throbbing 
strokes. He dipped his pen in the ink, and 
wrote hastily: 

Oa\dale, October the Twenty -fourth. — 

A most extraordinary day! 

And below, as if in afterthought: 

*^Hast thou given the horse strength? 
hast thou clothed his nec\ with thunder?'* 
(Job xxxix. 19.) 

Then, with a sigh, he closed the book. 




Races & Runaways 



With doubt and dismay you are smitten, 
You think there's no chance for you, son? 

Why, the best books haven't been written, 
The best race hasn't been run. 



-BERTON BRALEY 



LEW WALLACE (1827-1905) 



The Chariot Race 



frmn BEN-HUR 



It is unfortunate that most of us first read such hoo\s as Ben-Hur in 
early high-school days when we were interested in the excitement of 
the plot alone and missed the magnificent strength of the writing. All 
too often we do not return to these boo\s again. But where, on any 
page, will you find as dramatic and colorful a picture as the one which 
is here presented? 




hen the dash for position be- 
gan, Ben-Hur, as we have seen, 
was on the extreme left of the 
six. For a moment, Hke the others, he was 
half blinded by the light in the arena; yet he 
managed to catch sight of his antagonists 
and divine their purpose. At Messala, who 
was more than an antagonist to him, he 
gave one searching look. The air of passion- 
less hauteur characteristic of the fine patri- 
cian face was there as of old, and so was 
the Italian beauty, which the helmet rather 
increased; but more — ^it may have been 
a jealous fancy, or the effect of the brassy 
shadow in which the features were at the 
moment cast, still the Israelite thought he 
saw the soul of the man as through a glass, 
darkly: cruel, cunning, desperate; not so 
excited as determined — a soul in a tension 
of watchfulness and fierce resolve. 



In a time not longer than was required 
to turn to his four again, Ben-Hur felt his 
own resolution harden to a like temper. 
At whatever cost, at all hazards, he would 
humble this enemy! Prize, friends, wagers, 
honor — everything that can be thought of 
as a possible interest in the race was lost in 
the one deliberate purpose. Regard for life 
even should not hold him back. Yet there 
was no passion, on his part; no blinding 
rush of heated blood from heart to brain, 
and back again; no impulse to fling himself 
upon Fortune: he did not believe in For- 
tune; far otherwise. He had his plan, and, 
confiding in himself, he settled to the task 
never more observant, never more capable. 
The air about him seemed aglow w4di a 
renewed and perfect transparency. 

When not half-way across the arena, he 
saw that Messala's rush would, if there was 



143 



144 -^^^ 

no collision, and the rope fell, give him the 
wall; that the rope would fall, he ceased 
as soon to doubt; and, further, it came to 
him, a sudden, flash-like insight, that Mes- 
sala knew it was to be let drop at the last 
moment (prearrangement with the editor 
could safely reach that point in the contest) ; 
and it suggested, what more Roman-like 
than for the official to lend himself to a 
countryman who, besides being so popular, 
had also so much at stake? There could 
be no other accounting for the confidence 
with which Messala pushed his four for- 
ward the instant his competitors were pru- 
dentially checking their fours in front of 
the obstruction — no other except madness. 

It is one thing to see a necessity and an- 
other to act upon it. Ben-Hur yielded the 
wall for the time. 

The rope fell, and all the fours but his 
sprang into the course under urgency of 
voice and lash. He drew head to the right, 
and, with all the speed of his Arabs, darted 
across the trails of his opponents, the angle 
of movement being such as to lose the least 
time and gain the greatest possible advance. 
So, while the spectators were shivering at 
the Athenian's mishap, and the Sidonian, 
Byzantine, and Corinthian were striving, 
with such skill as they possessed, to avoid 
involvement in the ruin, Ben-Hur swept 
around and took the course neck and neck 
with Messala, though on the outside. The 
marvellous skill shown in making the 
change thus from the extreme left across 
to the right without appreciable loss did 
not fail the sharp eyes upon the benches: 
the Circus seemed to rock and rock again 
with prolonged applause. Then Esther 
clasped her hands in glad surprise; then 
Sanballat, smiling, offered his hundred ses- 
tertii a second time without a taker; and 
then the Romans began to doubt, thinking 



Wallace 



Messala might have found an equal, if not 
a master, and that in an Israelite! 

And now, racing together side by side, a 
narrow interval between them, the two 
neared the second goal. 

The pedestal of the three pillars there, 
viewed from the west, was a stone wall in 
the form of a half-circle, around which the 
course and opposite balcony were bent in 
exact parallelism. Making this turn was con- 
sidered in all respects the most telling test 
of a charioteer ; it was, in fact, the very feat 
in which Orestes failed. As an involuntary 
admission of interest on the part of the spec- 
tators, a hush fell over all the Circus, so that 
for the first time in the race the rattle and 
clang of the cars plunging after the tugging 
steeds were distinctly heard. Then, it would 
seem, Messala observed Ben-Hur, and 
recognized him; and at once the audacity 
of the man flamed out in an astonishing 
manner. 

"Down Eros, up Mars!" he shouted, 
whirling his lash with practised hand. 
"Down Eros, up Mars!" he repeated, and 
caught the well-doing Arabs of Ben-Hur a 
cut the like of which they had never known. 

The blow was seen in every quarter, and 
the amazement was universal. The silence 
deepened; up on the benches behind the 
consul the boldest held his breath, waiting 
for the outcome. Only a moment thus: 
then, involuntarily, down from the balcony, 
as thunder falls, burst the indignant cry of 
the people. 

The four sprang forward affrighted. No 
hand had ever been laid upon them except 
in love; they had been nurtured ever so 
tenderly; and as they grew, their confidence 
in man became a lesson to men beautiful to 
see. What should such dainty natures do 
under such indignity but leap as from 
death ? 



Ben 



Forward they sprang as with one impulse, 
and forward leaped the car. Past question, 
every experience is serviceable to us. Where 
got Ben-Hur the large hand and mighty 
grip which helped him now so well? 
Where but from the oar with which so long 
he fought the sea? And what was this 
spring of the floor under his feet to the 
dizzy, eccentric lurch with which in the old 
time the trembling ship yielded to the beat 
of staggering billows, drunk with their 
power? So he kept his place, and gave the 
four free rein, and called to them in sooth- 
ing voice, trying merely to guide them 
round the dangerous turn; and before the 
fever of the people began to abate he had 
back the mastery. Nor that only: on ap- 
proaching the first goal, he was again side 
by side with Messala, bearing with him the 
sympathy and admiration of every one not 
a Roman. So clearly was the feeling shown, 
so vigorous its manifestation, that Messala, 
with all his boldness, felt it unsafe to trifle 
further. 

As the cars whirled round the goal, 
Esther caught sight of Ben-Hur's face — a 
little pale, a little higher raised, otherwise 
calm, even placid. 

Immediately a man climbed on the entab- 
lature at the west end of the division wall, 
and took down one of the conical wooden 
balls. A dolphin on the east entablature 
was taken down at the same time. 

In like manner, the second ball and sec- 
ond dolphin disappeared. 

And then the third ball and third dol- 
phin. 

Three rounds concluded: still Messala 
held the inside position; still Ben-Hur 
moved with him side by side; still the other 
competitors followed as before. The con- 
test began to have the appearance of one 



Hur 145 

of the double races which became so popu- 
lar in Rome during the later Catsarcan 
period — Messala and Bcn-Hur in the first, 
the Corinthian, Sidonian, and Byzantine in 
the second. Meantime the ushers succeeded 
in returning the multitude to their scats, 
though the clamor continued to run the 
rounds, keeping, as it were, even pace with 
the rivals in the course below. 

In the fifth round the Sidonian succeeded 
in getting a place outside Bcn-Hur, but lost 
it directly. 

The sixth round was entered upon with- 
out change of relative position. 

Gradually the speed had been quickened 
— ^gradually the blood of the competitors 
warmed with the work. Men and beasts 
seemed to know alike that the final crisis 
was near, bringing the time for the winner 
to assert himself. 

The interest which from the beginning 
had centred chiefly in the struggle between 
the Roman and the Jew, with an intense 
and general sympathy for the latter, was 
fast changing to anxiety on his account. On 
all the benches the spectators bent forward 
motionless, except as their faces turned fol- 
lowing the contestants. Ilderim quitted 
combing his beard, and Esther forgot her 
fears. 

"A hundred sestertii on the Jew!" cried 
Sanballat to the Romans under the consul's 
awning. 

There was no reply. 

"A talent — or five talents, or ten; choose 
ye!" 

He shook his tablets at tliem defiantlv. 

"I will take thy sestertii," answered a 
Roman youth, preparing to write. 

"Do not so," interposed a friend. 

"Why?" 

"Messala hath reached his utmost speed. 



146 Lew 

See him lean over his chariot-rim, the reins 
loose as flvincr ribbons. Look then at the 

o 

ew. 

The first one looked. 

*'By Hercules!" he replied, his coun- 
tenance falling. 'The dog throws all his 
weight on the bits. I see, I see! If the gods 
help not our friend, he will be run away 
with by the Israelite. No, not yet. Look! 
Jove with us, Jove with us!' 

The cry, swelled by every Latin tongue, 
shook the velaria over the consul's head. 

If it were true that Messala had attained 
his utmost speed, the effort was with eifect; 
slowly but certainly he was beginning to 
forge ahead. His horses were running with 
their heads low down; from the balcony 
their bodies appeared actually to skim the 
earth; their nostrils showed blood-red in 
expansion; their eyes seemed straining in 
their sockets. Certainly the good steeds were 
doing their best ! How long could they keep 
tlie pace? It was but the commencement 
of the sixth round. On they dashed. As they 
neared the second goal, Ben-Hur turned in 
behind the Roman's car. 

The joy of the Messala faction reached 
its bound: they screamed and howled, and 
tossed their colors; and Sanballat filled his 
tablets with wagers of their tendering. 

Malluch, in the lower gallery over the 
Gate of Triumph, found it hard to keep his 
cheer. He had cherished the vague hint 
dropped to him by Ben-Hur of something 
to happen in the turning of the western 
pillars. It was the fifth round, yet the some- 
thing had not come; and he had said to 
himself, the sixth will bring it; but, lo! Ben- 
Hur was hardly holding a place at the tail 
of his enemy's car. 

Over in the east end, Simonides' party 
held their peace. The merchant's head was 
bent low. Ilderim tugged at his beard, and 



Wallace 



dropped his brows till there was nothing 
of his eyes but an occasional sparkle of light. 
Esther scarcely breathed. Iras alone ap- 
peared glad. 

Along the home-stretch — sixth round — 
Messala leading, next him Ben-Hur, and so 
close it was the old story: 

"First flew Eumelus on Pheretian steeds; 
With those of Tros bold Diomed succeeds; 
Close on Eumelus' back they puff the wind. 
And seem just mounting on his car behind; 
Full on his neck he feels the sultry breeze. 
And, hovering o'er, their stretching shadow 
sees." 

Thus to the first goal, and round it 
Messala, fearful of losing his place, hugged 
the stony wall with perilous clasp; a foot 
to the left, and he had been dashed to 
pieces; yet, when the turn was finished, no 
man, looking at the wheel-tracks of the two 
cars, could have said, here went Messala, 
there the Jew. They left but one trace be- 
hind them. 

As they whirled by, Esther saw Ben-Hur's 
face again, and it was whiter than before. 

Simonides, shrewder than Esther, said to 
Ilderim, the moment the rivals turned into 
the course: "I am no judge, good sheik, if 
Ben-Hur be not about to execute some de- 
sign. His face hath that look." 

To which Ilderim answered: "Saw you 
how clean they were and fresh .^^ By the 
splendor of God, friend, they have not been 
running! But now watch!" 

One ball and one dolphin remained on 
the entablatures; and all the people drew a 
long breath, for the beginning of the end 
was at hand. 

First, the Sidonian gave the scourge to his 
four, and, smarting with fear and pain, 
they dashed desperately forward, promising 
for a brief time to go to the front. The effort 



Ben 



ended in promise. Next, the Byzantine and 
Corinthian each made the trial with hke 
result, after which they were practically out 
of the race. Thereupon, with a readiness 
perfectly explicable, all the factions except 
the Romans joined hope in Ben-Hur, and 
openly indulged their feeling. 

"Ben-Hur! Ben-Hur!" they shouted, and 
the blent voices of the many rolled over- 
whelmingly against the consular stand. 

From the benches above him as he passed, 
the favor descended in fierce injunctions. 

"Speed thee, Jew!'* 

"Take the wall now!" 

"On! loose the Arabs! Give them rein 
and scourge!" 

"Let him not have the turn on thee again. 
Now or never!" 

Over the balustrade they stooped low, 
stretching their hands imploringly to him. 

Either he did not hear, or could not do 
better, for half-way round the course and 
he was still following; at the second goal 
even still no change! 

And now, to make the turn, Messala be- 
gan to draw in his left-hand steeds, an act 
which necessarily slackened their speed. His 
spirit was high; more than one altar was 
richer of his vows; the Roman genius was 
still president. On the three pillars only 
six hundred feet away were fame, increase 
of fortune, promotions, and a triumph in- 
effably sweetened by hate, all in store for 
him ! That moment Malluch, in the gallery, 
saw Ben-Hur lean forward over his Arabs, 
and give them the reins. Out flew the many- 
folded lash in his hand; over the backs of 
the startled steeds it writhed and hissed, and 
hissed and writhed again and again, and 
though it fell not, there were both sting and 
menace in its quick report; and as the man 
passed thus from quiet to resistless action, 
his face suffused, his eyes gleaming, along 



Hur 147 

the reins he seemed to flash his will; and in- 
stantly not one, but the four as one, 
answered with a leap that landed them 
alongside the Roman's car. Messala, on the 
perilous edge of tlie goal, heard, but dared 
not look to see what the awakening por- 
tended. From the people he received no 
sign. Above the noises of the race there was 
but one voice, and that was Ben-Hur's. In 
the old Aramaic, as the sheik himself, he 
called to the Arabs: 

"On, Atair! On, Rigel! What, Antares! 
dost thou linger now? Good horse — oho, 
Aldebaran ! I hear them singing in the tents. 
I hear the children singing and the women 
— singing of the stars, of Atair, Antares, 
Rigel, Aldebaran, victory! — and the song 
will never end. Well done! Home to-mor- 
row, under the black tent — home! On, 
Antares! The tribe is waiting for us, and 
the master is waiting! 'Tis done! 'tis done! 
Ha, ha! We have overthrown the proud. 
The hand that smote us is in the dust. Ours 
the glory! Ha, ha! — steady! The work is 
done — soho! Rest!" 

There had never been anything of the 
kind more simple; seldom anything so 
instantaneous. 

At the moment chosen for the dash, 
Messala was moving in a circle round the 
goal. To pass him, Ben-Hur had to cross 
the track, and good strategy required the 
movement to be in a forward direction ; that 
is, on a like circle limited to the least pos- 
sible increase. The thousands on the benches 
understood it all : they saw the signal given 
— the magnificent response; the four close 
outside Messala's outer wheel, Ben-Hur's 
inner wheel behind the other's car — all this 
they saw. Then they heard a crash loud 
enough to send a dirill through the Circus, 
and, quicker than thought, out over the 
course a spray of shining w^hite-and-yellow 



148 Lew 

flinders flew. Down on its right side toppled 
the bed of the Roman's chariot. There was 
a rebound as of the axle hitting the hard 
earth; another and another; then the car 
went to pieces; and Messala, entangled in 
the reins, pitched forward headlong. 

To increase the borrow of the sight by 
making death certain, the Sidonian, who 
had the wall next behind, could not stop or 
turn out. Into the wreck full speed he 
drove; then over the Roman, and into the 
latter's four, all mad with fear. Presently, 
out of the turmoil, the fighting of horses, 
the resound of blows, the murky cloud of 
dust and sand, he crawled, in time to see 
the Corinthian and Byzantine go on down 
the course atfer Ben-Hur, who had not been 
an instant delayed. 

The people arose, and leaped upon the 
benches, and shouted and screamed. Those 
who looked that way caught glimpses of 



Wallace 



Messala, now under the trampling of the 
fours, now under the abandoned cars. He 
was still; they thought him dead; but far 
the greater number followed Ben-Hur in 
his career. They had not seen the cunning 
touch of the reins by which, turning a little 
to the left, he caught Messala's wheel with 
the iron-shod point of his axle, and crushed 
it; but they had seen the transformation of 
the man, and themselves felt the heat and 
glow of his spirit, the heroic resolution, the 
maddening energy of action with which, by 
look, word, and gesture, he so suddenly 
inspired his Arabs. And such running! It 
was rather the long leaping of lions in 
harness; but for the lumbering chariot, it 
seemed the four were flying. When the 
Byzantine and Corinthian were half-way 
down the course, Ben-Hur turned the first 
goal. 
And the race was won! 



JOHN BIGGS, JR. (contemporary) 



Corkran of Clamstretch 



front SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE 
December 1921 



Here is one of the very few racing stories where interest lies in the 
character of the horse, himself. The writer defies all recognized formulae 
for racing stories and has his hero lose the race. But not only has fudge 
Biggs given us an outstanding personality, he has portrayed, most 
magnificently, the country fair which is the very ''mother and father** 
of the trotting race. 



T 



^his is a record of genius. I saw 
him for the first time as he lay 
beneath an apple-tree, endeavoring 
by muscular twitchings of his upper lip to 
grab an apple which lay just beyond the 
reach of his long black nose. Indisputably 
it was a game which he played, and he 
ordered it by set rules of his own devising. 
It was fundamental that he could not move 
his body, but he might crane or stretch his 
neck to any impossible posture. I climbed 
the paddock fence, and moved the apple 
an inch toward him. He looked at me re- 
proachfully, but seized it none the less, and 
devouring it with a single crunching bite, 
rose to his feet, and proceeded inscrutably 
to stare. 

He was a dumpy little horse, resembling 
a small fat business man, and as soon to be 
suspected of immortal speed as a stock- 



broker of a sonnet. His torso was a rotund 
little barrel. From this his legs, heavy and 
muscular, stuck out at odd angles. A lean 
neck rose from the mass, and upon this was 
plastered a head, many sizes too large, 
which looked as if it had been thrown at 
him from a distance and had inadvertendy 
stuck. 

His gaze mellowed and he regarded me 
more leniently. A faint smile began to 
wreath his lips; the smile expanded to 
soundless tittering. At last, in looking at 
me, he fairly laughed. This I considered 
impolite and told him so. He listened 
courteously, but made no comment other 
than raising a quizzical hoof. He walked 
around me and looked carefully at my 
reverse side. This satisfied him. He returned 
to the apple-tree, yawned broadly, and lay 



149 



150 

down. Richard Thomas Corkran was at 
rest. 

Tentatively I oftcred him apples, but his 
ennui was not to be dispelled. Finally, he 
slept the sleep of a good and honest horse. 
I retired to tlie fence lest I disturb the sacred 
slumbers. 

Genius is an unutterable thing. It is a 
spark flying from no visible flame. It is an 
excitement of the soul; it is a terrific mo- 
tivation. It is a vapor that splits the rock 
of reality. 

Richard Thomas Corkran was a strange 
rhapsody of speed. He was without circum- 
stance, without explanation. No great 
family had crossed a bar sinister upon his 
unknown escutcheon. His fathers were 
indistinguishable clods of work. At the 
time of his first race his sides were galled 
from plough harness. Literally he was self- 
made. 

He was possessed of an iron will and intel- 
ligence. Consummately he understood his 
metier; never did his greatness overwhelm 
him. He remained unmoved, his attitude 
the epitome of a successful business. Yet he 
was capable of a cold and dignified fury. 
Always was it merited, but he worked him- 
self to it, for he had found it to be an 
efiBcient symbol. A balanced quietness was 
his attitude upon the track, and from it 
he never deviated. He raced without the 
slightest enthusiasm or excitation. Icy im- 
perturbability marked his technique — an 
imperturbability that was unaffected. From 
the tips of his tiny hoofs to his absurd head 
he was polite, both to his rivals, whom he 
scorned, and his attendants, whom he 
considered unworthy of notice, and this 
politeness proceeded from his conscious 
known superiority. 

One thing of all things aroused his wrath, 
hot and sincere. He considered himself a 



John Biggs, Jr. 



free agent, and any molestation of this 
right caused anger to boil within him. The 
hours of his business were those which 
he spent upon the track; at all other times 
he came and went as he pleased. He would 
permit no officious infringement upon his 
leisure. As to his racing it was indomitably 
his own. He considered all human aid 
simply cooperation. If it became direction, 
no matter how tactfully suggested, he was 
done. He would not move a hoof toward 
the track's end. In his maiden race, a whip 
had been laid, solely as an incentive, upon 
his muscular little thighs. Richard Thomas 
Corkran had slid to a stop with stiffened 
fore feet, and, without heat or expression, 
but with icy malevolence, had kicked his 
sulky to fragments of wood and steel. 
Thereafter his driver, by iron order, sat 
braced to the sulky, and with loose reins 
simply fulfilled the requirements of rule. 
The race and the trotting of it were solely 
Richard Thomas Corkran's. 

It was five o'clock when they came to 
arouse him, and this partook of a stately, 
ordered ceremony. There were five men in 
all, and I presume that he would not have 
deigned to rise for less. Down the field in 
careful formation they advanced. First 
came the head trainer, magnificently 
unencumbered by blanket, sponge, or curry- 
comb, the veritable master of the bed- 
chamber, and flanking him, his subalterns, 
two graceful yellow boys — this touch 
exotic — carrying combs and skin-brushes; 
next came two buckets, marked with the 
white initials R. T. C, and then his oum 
blanket, plaid-striped, refulgent, the one 
slight vulgarity necessary to all genius. Last 
of all was a small white dog, like an ani- 
mated wash-rag, propelling itself forward 
with staccato bounds and barks. 

The process halted; the dog continued 



Cor\ran of 

forward, and barked malevolently in the ear 
of recumbent greatness, which responded 
with a slow opening of its left eye. The long 
thin neck rose from the ground at a right 
angle, and surveyed the halted host. Richard 
Thomas Corkran got to his feet and shook 
his rotund Httle body. He stood waiting. 

As they combed and brushed him, he 
moved no muscle, but placidly chewed a 
succession of straws that hung pendulous 
from his lower lip. It was a gesture non- 
chalant. At length his black coat was 
sleeked and glossed. The head trainer step- 
ped forward and felt his chest, his hocks, 
and pasterns. This he endured with kind- 
ness, and, inspection over, trotted toward the 
watering-trough, preceded, however, by 
the white dog. Pleasurably he played with 
the water, drinking but Httle. He blew 
through his nostrils, causing white bubbles 
to rise and burst through the turmoil of 
the surface. The light, finely made racing 
harness was then put upon him, and ad- 
justed perfectly to each of his expanding 
muscles, and last the blanket, strapped and 
belted, making him look like a fat, plaid- 
cowled monk. The gate was now opened, 
and he walked gravely from the paddock. 
Behind him streamed his acolytes in meek 
procession. Heralding him was the woolly 
dog. Last was his sulky, wheeled by a negro 
boy. Past the judge's house he plodded, and 
I saw the old jurist rise from the porch to 
greet him. 

The discovery of Richard Thomas Cork- 
ran, and his relation to Judge Coleman, a 
famous county story, deserves record. 

At dusk one summer evening Judge Cole- 
man, exercising a favorite mare, herself of 
note, had, on the Clamstretch, come upon 
a son of a neighboring farmer, atop the 
height of an old-fashioned racing sulky, a 
wooden affair with high shaking wheels. 



Clamstretch 151 

Beneath this relic, for the sulky jutted out 
almost over his rump, careened an odd 
little horse, looking in the darkness, so 
says the judge, like a small, black mouse. 

'Til race you, Tommy," said the judge 
jokingly to the boy. 

"Done," was the reply, and the little horse 
moved up to the mare's nose. 

"Take a handicap. Tommy," said the 
judge, amused by the boy's confidence. 

''You take the handicap, judge," said the 
boy, and the judge, fearful of hurting the 
boy's feelings, walked his mare some ten 
yards to the front. 

*'Now!" shouted the boy, and the judge 
heard with amazement the strong, un- 
believably quick beat of the little horse's 
hoofs as he struck to his stride through the 
white dust of the road. Past the striving 
mare he went as if she were haltered to 
the ground. Three times was this astound- 
ing performance repeated, while the strain- 
ing nostrils of the mare grew red with effort. 

The judge pulled to the side of the road. 

"What do you use that horse for?" he 
asked. 

"For ploughin'," replied the boy, and he 
was near tears with pride and rage. "I have 
to use him for ploughin'." 

"What do you call him?" went on the 
judge. 

"Richard Thomas Corkran," replied the 
boy. "After grandpop." 

Then and there, for an adequate price, 
Richard Thomas Corkran changed hands, 
and the judge that night examining him by 
the light of a stable-lantern discovered the 
marks of plough-galls upon liis flanks. 

No attempt was made to teach R. T. C. to 
race; none was ever needed. When the 
time came for a race he plodded to the 
track, and from thence to the starting-point, 
and thereafter at some time favorable to 



152 



]ohn Biggs, ]r. 



himself he commenced to trot. No agitation 
of spectators or contesting horses, no 
jockeying of drivers, might shake his icy 
impcrturbabiHty, his utter cahii. The race 
done and won, he returned at a walk to 
his paddock. In tw^o years upon the Grand 
Circuit he had never missed a meeting nor 
ever lost a race. 

With something of awe I watched him 
as he passed between the high stone posts 
of the judge's entrance gate and entered 
the Clamstretch. 

This road is a long white ribbon which 
runs from the Porter Ferry to the hills. Its 
crown is covered with clam-shells beaten 
to a soft imponderable dust, and from this 
it is known as the Clamstretch. It is agreed 
by county racing authorities that from the 
centre of the ferry-gate to the old Weldin 
Oak is a perfect half-mile, and a horse 
that covers that distance under two minutes 
is worthy of notice. Richard Thomas Cork- 
ran, when the humor was upon him, had 
trotted the exact half-mile in one minute 
and five seconds. 

It is a county saying that colts the day 
they are born are instructed by their mother 
mares in the trotting of the Clamstretch. 

Beneath the old Weldin Oak and lining 
the road are rough wooden benches, and 
before them the ground had been worn 
bare and hard by many feet. At the side 
of the road sways a decrepit whitewashed 
stand, as high as a man's chest, and with 
two cracker-boxes for steps. This is the of- 
ficial stand of the judge of the course when 
such a formality is necessary. 

The customs of the Clamstretch have 
grown up with time, and are as unbending 
as bronze. It is decreed that Judge Coleman 
shall be the ruling authority of the meeting, 
that the time of trotting shall be from 
twilight to darkness, and that there shall 



be as much racing as the light permits. 

First the horsemen gather and solemnly 
trot practice heats, each driver carefully 
keeping his animal from showing its true 
worth, though the exact record of each is 
known to all. Then, with stable boys at 
the horses' heads, they collect in little 
groups about the oak, and with tobacco, 
portentous silences, and great gravity lay 
careful bets. But with the entrance of the 
judge comes drama. 

He minces across the bare space before 
the oak and nods gravely to each friend. 
From an interior pocket of his immaculate 
gray coat he draws a small black book, the 
official record of the Clamstretch. In this 
book he enters the contesting horses, the 
names of the owners, and the bets. This 
finished, the four horsemen selected for the 
first race pass to the road, briefly inspect 
their gear, climb to the sulkies, sit magni- 
ficently upon the outstretched tails of their 
horses, and with whips at point, drive 
slowly toward the gate of the ferry lodge. 

The noise of the hoofs dies to abrupt 
silence as the contestants jockey for position 
at the start, broken by the sudden thunder 
of the race. Puffs of white dust, hanging 
low over the road, rise beneath the drum- 
ming hoofs; strained red nostrils flash 
across the finish. Comes the stentorian 
voice of tht announcer, giving the winner 
and the time. Gradually the soft light fades ; 
the last race is ended; the judge bids the 
company a grave good night, and the red 
point of his cigar disappears in the gloom 
of the meadow. 

There are many names great in the his- 
tory of racing, whose owners have trotted 
the broad white road and have been duly 
inscribed in the black book. From Barnett 
and Barnetta B., from Almanzer and the 
Bohemia Girl, forever from R.T.C., the 



Corf{ran of 

time of the Clamstrctch is set, and it is a 
point of honor between horse and man 
that when a great king falls he is brought 
back to trot his last from the lodge gate to 
the Weld in Oak. From Clamstretch to 
Clamstretch, is the saying. 

I have often witnessed the custom of the 
Clamstretch, and this time I entered upon 
it inconspicuously in the magnificent wake 
of Richard Thomas Corkran. Upon the bare 
meadow, around the old oak as a nucleus, 
were gathered many horses. A wild roan 
mare led the group, a young untried crea- 
ture, who kicked and squealed in a nervous- 
ness that turned from sudden anger to 
helpless quaking. A negro at her head, a 
shining black hand upon her bit, soothed 
and quieted her with honey upon his 
tongue and a sturdy desire to thump her 
in his heart. Her owner, a bewhiskered 
farmer, stood just beyond the range of her 
flying heels and looked at her with dismay. 

"Now, pettie," he kept saying. "Now, 
pettie, that ain't no way to behave. That 
ain't no way." 

A hilarious group of friends, in a half- 
circle behind him, ridiculed his attempts 
at reconciliation. 

"She ain't your pettie," they shouted. 

"She's some other feller's Maybe she 

ain't got none at all Give her hell, Jim. 

. . . Soft stuff's no dope." 

A large horse, piebald and pretty, looking 
as if he had been purchased in a toy store, 
stood next to the virago. Her nervousness 
was apparently communicated to him, for 
occasionally he would back and rear. At 
these times, he raised clouds of dust, which 
sifted gently over the field, causing a shiver 
to run down the line of waiting horses. 

"Keep 'em horses still," shouted the negro 
boys. "Hold onto 'em." 

One giant black, a colossal hand upon the 



Clamstretch it^T^ 

muzzle of his horse, a mare as dainty and 
graceful as a fawn, threw out his great 
chest with pride. 

"My lady's a lady," he crooned yjftly as 
the other horses stamjxrd and grew restive. 
"My lady's a lady." The pretty creature 
looked at him with wide brown eyes, and 
shook her head as if softly denying. 

An animal at the end of the line held 
my attention. His hide was the color of 
running bronze. His head might have been 
struck for one of the horses of Time, the 
nostrils flaring and intense, the eyes wild 
with hint of action. He looked as if he 
might run with the whirlwind, be bitted 
to a comet's orbit, and triumph. Sacrilege, 
it seemed, when I learned that he had never 
won a race, was quite lacking in the heart 
that creates a great horse. In him nature 
was superbly bluffing. 

Richard Thomas Corkran stood at some 
distance from the rank and file. Boredom 
was unutterably upon him. He seemed 
looking for a place to lie down and continue 
his interrupted slumbers, and to be re- 
strained only by the fear that he might be 
considered gauche. Truly there was nothing 
in which he might be honestly interested. 
No horse present could give him even the 
beginnings of a race. His heaviest w^ork 
had been done upon the grand circuit in 
the spring and early summer. Vacation and 
leisure possessed him for this day at least. 
True, upon the next day he was to trot a 
race which was, perhaps, the most impor- 
tant of his career. Now, through the 
courtesy of the judge, he was the piece de 
resistance, the staple, of the evening. At the 
end of the racing he would trot a heat in 
solitary grandeur — one heat, not more, and 
this heat would be preparation for to-mor- 
row's test. Two horses, strategically placed 
over the straight half-mile, would pace him. 



154 



]ohn Biggs, /r. 



but they would have as little to do with 
his trotting as the distance posts upon the 
track. A little knot of men, gaping and 
solemn, had already gathered about him, 
interpreting his every bored motion as proof 
positive of his phenomenal speed. He 
accepted this as his due and was in no 
manner affected by it. 

The men, as always, interested me. A 
few were professional horsemen, so marked 
and moulded. They were calm persons, 
who spoke without gesture or facial ex- 
pression. Thought flowed soundlessly be- 
hind their shrewd eyes. Their attitude was 
one of continual weighing and balancing of 
mighty points. 

The rest were prosperous farmers, 
coimtry gentlemen, or honest artisans from 
the near-by village, all pleasure-bent. The 
regalia of those who were to drive, or hoped 
to drive, was unique. They seemed to ex- 
press their personalities best through high 
black boots, striped trousers, and flaming 
calico shirts. The climacteric pinnacle was 
usually reached with an inherited racing- 
cap, scarlet, ochre, brown, yellow, plaid. 

Twilight cupped the world, seeming to 
grant a hush to earth. The road took on 
a new whiteness, the meadow gradually 
darkening, touched by the night and the 
brooding quietness that comes as the sun 
goes down. 

The first race came to a close — a torrent 
of young horses. The wild-eyed virago was 
among them, and she won by a prodigious 
stretching of the neck. Thereat, totally un- 
able to withstand triumph, she bucked and 
squealed, dragging her sulky, that torment- 
ing appendage, behind her. 

"Shure, it's temperamental she is," said 
a Scotch-Irish farmer standing beside me. 
"But she might have walked in on her 
hands and won." 



The spectacle was dramatic. There was a 
flurry of horse and man as a race was called, 
a rushing to the track's edge by the specta- 
tors, a happy bustling of self-important 
officials. From the knots of excited human- 
ity emerged the horses, the drivers with 
their whips at trail beneath their elbows, 
their eyes self-consciously upon the ground. 
Slender sulkies, gossamer-wheeled, were 
pulled out, tested by heavy thumpings, and 
attached. Carefully the reins were bitted, 
run back through the guide-rings, and the 
drivers swung themselves up. The final 
touch was the arranging of the horse's tail, 
and here technique differed. A good driver 
must sit upon his horse's tail. This is beyond 
question. The mooted point is whether he 
shall do so spread or flat. Authority as usual 
holds both sides. Richard Thomas Corkran 
absolutely dissenting, for he would allow 
no one to sit on his tail but himself. 

The horses dwindle to specks upon the 
long white road. The sound of hoofs dies to 
faint pulsing in the ears, a shadow of sound. 
Silence follows, breathless, expectant, 
broken by the clarion of the start. 

The rhythm becomes a rhapsody of 
pounding hoofs, quick-timed, staccato. A 
black swirl up the road falls to detail of 
straining bodies. A roar crescendoes to high 
shreds of sound as they flash across the 
finish. A second of tense silence — ^pan- 
demonium. 

Three races of three heats each were 
trotted. Darkness was drifting down upon 
us as the last was finished, and Richard 
Thomas Corkran walked out upon the 
track. 

His small black body blent with the 
semi-darkness, rendering him almost in- 
distinguishable. The crowd followed him 
across the track. There was no preparation, 
no ceremony. The small figure plodded into 



Cor^ran of 

the graying distance. His pace was scarcely 
above a walk. He might have been a 
plough-horse returning from a day of labor. 
The spectators drew back to the road's edge. 

The twilight deepened. We waited in 
silence. A faint drum of hoofs sounded 
down the wind. Sharper, swifter, it grew. 
A black Hne split the darkness, lengthening 
so quickly as to vanquish eyesight. There 
was an incredible twinkling of legs as he 
passed me, a glimpse of square-set method- 
ical shoulders, which moved with the drive 
of pistons, of a free floating tail spread to 
the rushing scythe of air. He finished. 

Carefully he stopped, not too sharply 
lest he strain himself. He turned and plod- 
ded toward the oak, where hung his 
blanket, and as its folds fell upon him he 
returned to peaceful contemplation. 

Came the voice of the announcer, a 
hoarse bellow through the gloom — "Ti-i- 
ime by the ha-a-alf. Ooone — five — an' — 
two — ^fi-i-ifths!!" A roar of applause broke 
to scattered clapping. Relaxation from the 
tension expressed itself in laughter, jest, 
and play. The crowd prepared to go home. 
The Clamstretch was for that day done. 

After dinner Judge Coleman, whose guest 
I was, and myself walked down the close- 
cropped green to the paddock fence. A 
moon had risen, bathing the land in clear 
pale yellow. Within the paddock and be- 
neath his apple-tree lay Richard Thomas 
Corkran. He rested upon his side, his small 
torso rising and falling gently with the 
even flow of his breath. From his upper 
lip protruded a straw which moved gently 
as the air was expelled from his nostrils. 
Untroubled by thoughts of to-morrow's 
race, he was again sound asleep. 

The next morning I saw him leave his 
paddock for the fair grounds. A large truck, 
whose side just disclosed the upper edge 



Clamstretch 155 

of his rotund, barrelled little body, held 
him, his three attendants, and his staccato, 
white and woolly dog. His placid eye fell 
upon me as he passed, and 1 saluted and 
followed him. 

The site of the State Fair was a great 
fenced field upon the outskirts of a near-by 
city. Upon one side towered a huge grand 
stand, facing a broad and dusty half-mile 
track. In the gigantic oval, thus formed, 
was a smaller ring, tan-barked and barri- 
caded, used at times as a horse-show ring, 
across a corner of which was now built a 
small, precarious wooden platform, where 
vaudeville teams disported themselves in a 
bedlam of sound for the free edification 
of the multitude. 

On the outside of the oval of track, 
stretched the Midway, in parlance "Mighty," 
a herd of tents and roughboard shacks, a 
staggering line, running to a quiet negro 
graveyard, overgrown with yellow grass 
and flecked with the gray of forgotten 
tombstones. 

Toward the city in larger tents and squat, 
unsided buildings, were the farming ex- 
hibits, and between these and the outer 
road the racing stables, flanking a hard 
beaten square, in whose centre leaned a 
rusty pump, dry for years, and used as a 
hitching-post. Beyond, in a multiplicity of 
stalls and sties and bins, uncovered to the 
air, were huge and blooded bulls, monster 
hogs, and high-crowing, cackling fowl. 

Over the wide field hung a haze of dust 
that stung the nostrils and soaked into the 
skin, causing a gray change. 

I entered through a choked gate into 
which people streamed as a river banks 
against a bulwark, a confusion of carriages 
and cars, walking women with toddling 
children, red and blue balloons sw^aying 
between the ground and the gateposts, 



156 



]ohn Biggs, Jr. 



flying bits of straw and dust, howling 
hawkers: a high-pitched excitation of mob. 

As I passed through the wooden arch 
came the sleek backs of racing-horses, 
surging toward the eight's posts, and the 
wild foreground of waving arms as the 
spectators beat against the rail. 

The crowd was a sluggish, slow-moving 
monster, that proceeded with sudden aim- 
less stoppings. It was impossible to change 
or alter its spasmodic pace. It rippled into 
every corner of the field; it ran over fences 
and beat down barricades. It possessed an 
attribute of quicksilver in that it could never 
be gathered or held. 

Its sound was a great crushing. It win- 
nowed the grass beneath its feet, and the 
beaten odor came freshly to my nostrils. 
It surged over itself and spun slowly back. 
It never seemed to break or detach itself 
into individuals. Its tentacles might loop 
and cling to various protuberances, but its 
black bulk moved ever on. 

I wandered through the maze of exhibits, 
stopping and listening where I would. The 
broad river of crowd divided to smaller 
eddies that swirled endlessly within and 
between the long rows of buildings and 
tents. 

I passed glittering rows of farming ma- 
chinery, red-painted, sturdy, clawed feet 
hooked into the ground. This bushy- 
bearded farmers tenderly fingered, and 
fought bitingly and ungrammatically with 
one another as to its merits. 

A small tractor crawled upon its belly 
through the mud, and struggled and puffed 
its way over impossible obstacles. It was 
followed by a hysterical herd of small boys, 
who miraculously escaped destruction un- 
der its iron treads. 

I crossed the square where the lean, 
cowled racing-horses were led patiently 



back and forth by the stable boys. Always 
the crowd was with me, beating its endless, 
monotonous forward path. I grew to hate 
it, longed to tear apart its slow viscosity, 
to sweep it away and clear the earth. 

Inside the buildings I passed between 
endless counters piled high with pyramids 
of jelly, saw the broad smiles of the presid- 
ing housewives, smelt brown loaves of prize 
bread. Baskets of huge fruit were allotted 
place, red apples succulent and glowing, 
fuzzy peaches white and yellow. The 
presiding deity of the place — the veritable 
mother of all food — I found in the centre 
of the shack. Her function was the creation 
of pie, and this of itself seemed to me suf- 
ficient. She was a large woman, red-faced, 
red-handed, and without a curve to her 
body. She was composed of but two straight 
lines, and between these lay her solid ample 
self. Her round fat arms were bare to the 
elbow and white with flour. On the table 
before her was an incalculable area of pie- 
crust, which she kneaded and powdered 
and cut with deft and stubby fingers. Be- 
hind her was a huge charcoal range upon 
which uncountable pies cooked, and around 
her were infinite battalions of pies, tremen- 
dous legions of pies, gigantic field-armies 
of pies. Exaggeration itself fell faint. 

Before her, in the consummation of a 
newer miracle, fed the multitude. All men 
they were, and they ate steadily, unemo- 
tionally, as if they might eat eternally. They 
went from pie to pie to pie. They never 
ceased, even to wipe their lips. They never 
stopped to speak. They selected their next 
pie before they had eaten their last, and 
reached for it automatically. It was a spec- 
tacle so vast as to possess grandeur. Such a 
woman and such men might have created 
the world and devoured it in a day. 

Around the eaters stood their wives — 



Cor^ran of 

certainly none could have dared be sweet- 
hearts — gaping with that curious feminine 
lack of understanding — awed but unreason- 
able — at such prodigies of feeding. 

I came next upon monster hogs, buried 
deep in the straw. Gruntingly they lifted 
their battleship bulks and waddled to the 
walls of the pen in response to the pointed 
sticks of small boys. The air was permeated 
with animal odor, occasionally split by the 
fresh smell of cooking pastry and pungent 
aromatic spices. 

With the Midway, sturdy respectability 
changed to blowsy, tarnished sin. Gaudy 
placards in primal colors bellied with the 
wind. All appeal was sensual, to grotes- 
querie or chance. From the tent of the 
"Circassian Syrian Dancing Girls" came 
the beat of a tom-tom, like that of a heavy 
pulse. Squarely in the passageway a three- 
shell merchant had placed his light table 
and was busily at work. 

"Step up, ladies!" he called. "Step up, 
gents. Th' li'l pea against the world ! Match 
it an' y' win! You take a chance evwry 
day. When yer born you take a chance, 
when you marry you take a chance, when 
you die you take an awful chance. Match 
me! Match me! Match me!" 

His fingers moved like the dartings of a 
snake's tongue. The tiny pea appeared and 
disappeared. 

"You lost! Poor girl. She lost her quarter. 
The Lord knows How she got it. Time 
tells an' you ain't old yet . . . 1" 

Beyond, outside a larger tent, sat a moun- 
tainous woman, a tiny fringed ballet skirt 
overhanging her mammoth legs. She was 
like some giant, jellied organism. To the 
crowd which gapingly surrounded her she 
addressed a continual tittering monologue. 

"Step up here, baby Come up, lady! 

No, I ain't particular even if I am fat. ... I 



Clam stretch 157 

don't care who looks at me. I'm a lady, 
I am. Hell, yes! See that man over there?" 
She swung a monster finger toward a 

barker. "He keeps me up here Sure, 

he docs! You jest let me down an' at him — 
ril do him in — I can make twelve of him!" 

Further on the crowd clustered thickly 
around a small tank, from the end of 
which rose a tall ladder topped by a tiny 
platform. So high was the ladder that it 
seemed to melt into a single line. As I 
watched, a young man climbed upon the 
edge of the tank. He grimaced and bowed 
to the crowd. 

He stripped off a beflowered green bath- 
robe, disclosing a body as sleek as a wet 
seal's and like a slender black monkey, 
climbed the ladder. Reaching the platform, 
he posed with outstretched arms. The 
crowd stiffly craned their necks. 

At the side of the tank appeared another 
man with a flat, pockmarked face. There 
ensued an extraordinary dialogue. 

"Leopold Benofoski!" shouted the man 
beside the tank to him in the air, "Is there 
any last word that you would like to leave 
your wife and family .f^" 

"No," shouted the man upon the plat- 
form. 

"Leopold Benofoski!" shouted the inter- 
locutor. "Are you prepared to meet your 
fate.?" 

"Yes," said the young man. 

"Then dive!" shouted the other, " — and 
God be with you!" He hid his face with a 
prodigious gesture of despair. 

The young man drew back his arms 
until he w^as like a tightened bow. For a 
second he poised upon tensed legs, then, 
like a plummet, dropped from the edge of 
the platform. Incredibly, swiftly he flashed 
down. I caught the glint of his white legs 
as he hit the water, a high splash, and he 



158 



had drawn himself out of the other side. A 
grimace of shining teeth, and he was gone. 
The crowd, unmoved, went skiggishly on. 

Slowly I worked myself through the area 
before die grand stand, where the crowd 
was thickest. There had been an accident 
upon die track: a young horse, "breaking" 
because of the hard path worn in the finely 
combed dirt between the turnstiles of the 
fence and the grand stand, had reared and 
flung its fore legs into the air. A debacle 
had followed as the animals close in the 
ruck had plunged into the leader. Three 
drivers had been thrown into a thresh of 
horses. Splintered sulkies and broken shafts 
lay in the debris, hazed by the cloud of dust. 
One horse, maddened with fear, had run 
squealing on, not to be stopped until it had 
completed the mile. One driver was badly 
injured. 

This had had its effect on the crowd. An 
uneasy ripple ran across the grand stand. 
There was a tinge of hysteria in the move- 
ment, a desire to clutch and shiver. As time 
passed the tension heightened. In the offi- 
cial's stand I saw the small, staid figure of 
the judge, peering alertly at the frightened 
multitude. Then came a consultation of 
bent heads, and his hand swung up to the 
cord of the starting bell. The flat clang, for 
the bell was muffled, beat into the tur- 
bulence. A gradual quiet fell. 

There followed the announcement of the 
curtailment of the programme to the im- 
mediate race of Richard Thomas Corkran. 

I cut my way swiftly through the crowd, 
back to the stables, for I desired to see the 
little horse leave the paddock. 

I found him firmly braced up on stocky 
legs as they bound his anklets. His refulgent 
blanket drooped over his rotund torso, and 
from the striped folds emerged the long, 
grotesque neck and the absurd hobby-horse 



John Biggs, Jr, 

head. As I approached he eyed me with 
droll appreciation, for I seemed always 
subtly to please him. 

As the last anklet was buckled he shook 
himself. It was methodical testing to see 
that he was entirely in place. Satisfied, he 
took a few short steps forward, carefully 
balancing his weight so that no muscle 
might be strained. At this juncture the 
white dog, apparently just released from 
captivity, bounced forward like a lively 
rubber ball. Fierce was his attack upon the 
nose of Richard Thomas Corkran. Devious 
were his advancings and retreatings. 
Quietly did the little horse receive this 
adulation. Again he shook himself. 

Now was the spider-web tracery of har- 
ness put upon him, the silvered racing- 
bridle and the long thin bit. The blanket 
readjusted, the paddock-gate was opened, 
and with the small, white dog surging be- 
fore him, his attendants following, he 
plodded toward the arena. 

As he emerged into the crowd there beat 
upon him a roar of sound. Like a great 
wave it ran down the field and re-echoed 
back. It split into individual tendrils that 
were like pointed spears falling harmless 
from his small unmoved back. Through 
the path that opened out before him he 
slowly went, unnoticing and grave. He 
entered the weighing ring. 

Courteously he stood as his blanket was 
removed, and he stood bared to the gaze 
of the three inspecting officials. Then the 
slender spider-wheeled sulky was pulled 
up and attached. Suddenly I saw his head 
lift: the contesting horse had entered the 
arena. 

He was like a legged arrow, a magnifi- 
cent, straight-lined dart. Thin to the point 
of emaciation, the bones of his body moved 
like supple reeds beneath a lustrous skin. 



CorJ^ran of 

Lightly muscled was he, tenuous skeins at 
his wrists and hocks. He looked as if he 
might drift before the wind. 

He was very nervous. There was a con- 
tinual thin white line across his nostrils as 
his high chest took air. A rippling shiver 
ran through him. 

Richard Thomas Corkran was the first 
to leave the ring. Never had he taken his 
eyes from his opponent. His small, black 
muzzle remained fixed, imperturbable. 
Slowly he plodded out upon the track. 

The flat sound of the bell, calling the 
race, drifted down from above my head. As 
I fought my way to the rail, the roar of 
the crowd rose to frenzy. The horses were 
going by the officials' stand to the starting 
post. 

The challenger went first, his curved 
neck pulling against the bit, his gait a drift- 
ing, slithering stride. After him came Rich- 
ard Thomas Corkran, a tiny, methodical 
figure. His head was down. I could see the 
sulky move gently forward under his easy 
step. 

As they reached the post and turned the 
tumult died away to a clear and appalling 
silence. Glancing up the rail, I saw the 
heads of the crowd leaning forward in 
motionless expectation. 

For an instant they hung unmoving at 
the post. Then the challenger seemed to 
lift himself in the air, his fore feet struck out 
in the beginning of his stride for Richard 
Thomas Corkran, without warning, had 
begun to troL 

They swept down toward the thin steel 
wire that overhung the track at the start. 
In breathless silence they passed, and I 
heard the shouted— ''Go./'' 

Like a dream of immeasurable transiency, 
they vanished at the turn. I heard the 



Clam stretch i^ 

staccato beat of hoofs as they went down 
the backstrctch. 

Tlic crowd had turned. To the rail beside 
me leaped a man, balancing himself like 
a bird. 

"He's ahead!" he shouted wildly. "He's 
ahead! — ahead!" 

I swept him from the fence and climbed 
upon it myself. Above the bodies of the 
crowd at the far side of the track I saw two 
plunging heads. For a second only were 
they visible. Again they vanished. 

They came down the stretch in silence, 
the spectators standing as though struck 
into stone. At the three-eighths post they 
seemed to be equal, but as they drew down 
the track I saw that the challenger led 
by a fraction of a foot. His flying hoofs 
seemed never to strike the ground. He was 
like some advancing shadow of incredible 
swiftness. 

Richard Thomas Corkran raced with all 
that was in him. His small legs moved like 
pistons in perfected cadence. 

As the challenger passed I could hear the 
talking of the driver, low-pitched, tense, 
driving his horse to a frenzy of effort. 

"Boy! Boy! Boy! Let him have itl Let 
him have it! Take it from him! I'm tellin' 
you. Go it! Go it! Go it!" 

Richard Thomas Corkran's driver sat 
braced to his sulky, the reins loose upon 
the horse's back. I caught a glimpse of his 
grim, strained face above tlie dust of the 
advance. 

Again there was the wild beating of hoofs 
up the back of tlie track. 

"He's gotta do it now. He can't lose! He 
can't lose!" 

At the seven-eighths post the crowd thrust 
out its arms and began to implore. The 
waving arms leaped down with the striving 



i6o 



]ohn Biggs, Jr. 



horses. The challenger was ahead by yards. 
His red nostrils flared to the wind. Never 
had I seen such trotting! 

He came under the wire in a great 
plunge, his driver madly whipping him. 
Richard Thomas Corkran was defeated! 

For seconds the crowd hung mute, seem- 
ingly afraid to move or speak. Then from 
the edge of die grand stand came a single 
shout. It grew and ran around the field, 
swelling to an uninterrupted roar that 
seemed to split itself against the heavens — 
a tribute to the victor, a greater tribute to 
the vanquished! 

Richard Thomas Corkran plodded slowly 
around the track to the paddock gates. His 
head was down as before, and his rotund 
little body moved steadily onward. At the 
gates he halted and waited as the winner 
was led through before him. Then he 



gravely followed and disappeared into the 
crowd. 

He had met triumph with boredom; he 
met defeat, as a great gentleman should, 
with quiet courtesy and good humor. There 
was nothing of disdain or bitterness upon 
his small, black muzzle; Richard Thomas 
Corkran passed to the gods of horse as he 
had come, imperturbable, alert, sublimely 
sensible. But in his passing his tiny hoofs 
were shod with drama. Departing greatness 
may ask no more! 

I saw him later in the paddock. His 
white, woolly dog was stilled ; a negro rub- 
ber sobbed as he held a washing bucket. 
The little horse stood by himself, his feet 
as ever firm upon the ground, untouched, 
unmoved, and quietly resting. The thoughts 
that he possessed he kept, as always to him- 
self. I bowed my head and turned away. 



OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES (1809-1894) 



How the Old Horse Won the Bet 



Oliver Wendell Holmes herein describes the old-time trotting race, when 
the horses were ridden, not driven. It is one of the very few humorous 
things on racing that I was able to find, most writers preferring to 
stress its dramatic qualities. The use of the abbreviations, ''b.g.',' ''s.h.'* 
always found on race sheet and horse-show program, are particularly 
amusing to the reader, to say nothing of that most marvelous ^'cold-in- 
the-nose" name, "Budd Doble!" Just say it aloud! 



'T was on the famous trotting-ground, 
The betting men were gathered round 
From far and near; the "cracks" were there 
Whose deeds the sporting prints declare: 
The swift g. m., Old Hiram's nag, 
The fleet s. h., Dan Pfeiffer's brag. 
With these a third — and who is he 
That stands beside his fast b. g.? 
Budd Doble, whose catarrhal name 
So fills the nasal trump of fame. 
There too stood many a noted steed 
Of Messenger and Morgan breed; 
Green horses also, not a few; 
Unknown as yet what they could do; 
And all the hacks that know so well 
The scourgings of the Sunday swell. 

Blue are the skies of opening day; 
The bordering turf is green with May; 
The sunshine's golden gleam is thrown 
On sorrel, chestnut, bay, and roan; 
The horses paw and prance and neigh, 
Filhes and colts hke kittens play, 
And dance and toss their rippled manes 
Shining and soft as silken skeins; 
Wagons and gigs are ranged about. 



i6i 



And fashion flaunts her gay turn-out; 

Here stands — each youthful Jehu's dream — 

The jointed tandem, ticklish team! 

And there in ampler breadth expand 

The splendors of the four-in-hand; 

On faultless ties and glossy tiles 

The lovely bonnets beam their smiles; 

(The style's the man, so books avow; 

The style's the woman, anyhow) ; 

From flounces frothed with creamy lace 

Peeps out the pug-dog's smutty face, 

Or spaniel rolls his liquid eye. 

Or stares the wiry pet of Skye — 

woman, in your hours of ease 
So shy with us, so free with these! 

"Come on! I'll bet you two to one 

I'll make him do it!" "Will you- Done!" 

What was it who was bound to do? 

1 did not hear and can't tell you, — 
Pray Hsten till my story 's through. 

Scarce noticed, back behind the rest. 
By cart and wagon rudely prest, 
The parson's lean and bony bay 



l62 



Oliver Wendell Holmes 



Stood harnessed in his one-horse shay — 
Lent to his sexton for the day; 
(A funeral— so the sexton said; 
His mother's uncle's wife was dead.) 

Like Lazarus bid to Dives' feast, 

So looked the poor forlorn old beast; 

His coat was rough, his tail was bare, 

The gray was sprinkled in his hair; 

Sportsmen and jockeys knew him not 

And yet they say he once could trot 

Among the fleetest of the town, 

Till something cracked and broke him down, — 

The steed's, the stateman's, common lot! 

"And are we then so soon forgot?" 

Ah me! I doubt if one of you 

Has ever heard the name "Old Blue,'* 

Whose fame through all this region rung 

In those old days when I was young! 

"Bring forth the horse!" Alas! he showed 
Not like the one Mazeppa rode; 
Scant-maned, sharp-backed, and shaky-kneed, 
The wreck of what was once a steed, 
Lips thin, eyes hollow, stiff in joints; 
Yet not without his knowing points. 
The sexton laughing in his sleeve. 
As if 't were all a make-believe. 
Led forth the horse, and as he laughed 
Unhitched the breeching from a shaft, 
Unclasped the rusty belt beneath, 
Drew forth the snaffle from his teeth. 
Slipped off his head-stall, set him free 
From strap and rein, — a sight to see! 

So worn, so lean in every Hmb, 
It can't be they are saddling him! 
It is! his back the pig-skin strides 
And flaps his lank, rheumatic sides; 
With look of mingled scorn and mirth 
They buckle round the saddle-girth; 
With horsey wink and saucy toss 
A youngster throws his leg across. 
And so, his rider on his back. 
They lead him, limping, to the track, 
Far up behind the starting-point, 
To limber out each stiffened joint. 

As through the jeering crowd he past. 
One pitying look old Hiram cast; 



"Go it, ye cripple, while ye can!" 
Cried out unsentimental Dan; 
"A Fast-Day dinner for the crows!" 
Budd Doble's scoffing shout arose. 

Slowly, as when the walking-beam 
First feels the gathering head of steam, 
With warning cough and threatening wheeze 
The stiff old charger crooks his knees; 
At first with cautious step sedate, 
As if he dragged a coach of state; 
He's not a colt; he knows full well 
That time is weight and sure to tell; 
No horse so sturdy but he fears 
The handicap of twenty years. 

As through the throng on either hand 
The old horse nears the judges' stand. 
Beneath his jockey's feather-weight 
He warms a little to his gait, 
And now and then a step is tried 
That hints of something like a stride. 

"Go!'* — ^Through his ear the summons stung 

As if a battle-trump had rung; 

The slumbering instincts long unstirred 

Start at the old familiar word; 

It thrills like flame through every limb — 

What mean his twenty years to him ? 

The savage blow his rider dealt 

Fell on his hollow flanks unfelt; 

The spur that pricked his staring hide 

Unheeded tore his bleeding side; 

Alike to him are spur and rein, — 

He steps a five-year-old again! 

Before the quarter pole was past. 

Old Hiram said, "He's going fast." 

Long ere the quarter was a half, 

The chuckling crowd had ceased to laugh; 

Tighter his frightened jockey clung 

As in a mighty stride he swung. 

The gravel flying in his track, 

His neck stretched out, his ears laid back, 

His tail extended all the while 

Behind him like a rat-tail file! 

Off went a shoe, — away it spun, 

Shot like a bullet from a gun; 

The quaking jockey shapes a prayer 

From scraps of oaths he used to swear; 



He drops his whip, he drops his rein. 
He clutches fiercely for a mane; 



He '11 lose his hold — he sways and reels — 
He '11 slide beneath those trampling heels 1 
The knees of many a horseman quake, 
The flowers on many a bonnet shake. 
And shouts arise from left and right, 
"Stick on! Stick on!" "Hould tight! Hould 

tight!" 
"Cling round his neck and don't let go — 
"That pace can't hold — there! steady! whoa!" 
But like the sable steed that bore 
The spectral lover of Lenore, 
His nostrils snorting foam and fire, 
No stretch his bony limbs can tire; 
And now the stand he rushes by. 
And "Stop him! — stop him!" is the cry. 
Stand back! he's only just begun — 
He's having out three heats in one! 

"Don't rush in front! he'll smash your brains; 
But follow up and grab the reins!" 
Old Hiram spoke. Dan Pfeiffer heard. 
And sprang impatient at the word; 
Budd Doble started on his bay. 
Old Hiram followed on his gray, 
And off they spring, and round they go, 
The fast ones doing "all they know." 
Look! twice they follow at his heels, 
As round the circling course he wheels. 
And whirls with him that clinging boy 
Like Hector round the walls of Troy; 
Still on, and on, the third time round! 
They're tailing off! They're losing ground! 
Budd Doble's nag begins to fail! 



How the Old Horse Won the Bet 

Dan Pfeiffcr's scjrrcl whisks his tail! 
And see! in spite of whip and shout. 
Old Hiram's mare is giving out! 
Now for the finish! at the turn, 
The old horse — all the rest astern — 
Comes swinging in, with easy trot; 
By Jove! he's distanced all the lot! 



163 



That trot no mortal could explain; 
Some said, "Old Dutchman come again!" 
Some took his time, — at least they tried, 
But what it was could none decide; 
One said he couldn't understand 
What happened to his second hand; 
One said 2. 10; that could n't be — 
More like two twenty two or three; 
Old Hiram settled it at last; 
"The time was two — too dee-vel-ish fast!" 

The parson's horse had won the bet; 
It cost him something of a sweat; 
Back in the one-horse shay he went; 
The parson wondered what it meant. 
And murmured, with a mild surprise 
And pleasant twinkle of the eyes, 
"That funeral must have been a trick. 
Or corpses drive at double-quick; 
I shouldn't wonder, I declare, 
If brother Murray made the prayer!" 

And this is all I have to say 

About the parson's poor old bay, 

The same that drew the one-horse shay. 

Moral for which this tale is told: 
A horse can trot, for all he's old. 



JOHN GALSWORTHY (1867-1933) 



Had a Horse 



from CARAVAN 



One seldom meets that well \nown character, the racing tout, in any 
but an unsavory situation. But John Galsworthy has made of him a 
character of strength and nobility, one who, contrary to the rules of his 
calling, is iiiterested not in the money but in the honor to be won. As far 
as I \now, this is the authors only story about horses or racing. He shows 
us an angle rarely portrayed, and, at the same time, a good race. 




I 



ome quarter of a century ago there 
abode in Oxford a small bookmaker 
called James Shrewin — or more 
usually, Jimmy — a run-about and damped- 
down little man, who made a precarious 
living out of the effect of horses on under- 
graduates. He had a so-called office just off 
the Corn, where he was always open to the 
patronage of the young bloods of Bulling- 
don, and other horse-loving coteries, who 
bestowed on him sufficient money to enable 
him to live. It was through the conspicuous 
smash of one of them — young Gardon 
Colquhoun — that he became the owner of 
a horse. He had been far from wanting 
what was in the nature of a white elephant 
to one of his underground habits, but had 
taken it in discharge of betting debts, to 
which, of course, in the event of bank- 



ruptcy, he would have no legal claim. She 
was a three-year-old chestnut filly, by Lopez 
out of Calendar, bore the name Calliope, 
and was trained out on the Downs near 
Wantage. On a Sunday afternoon, then, 
in late July, Jimmy got his friend George 
Pulcher, the publican, to drive him out 
there in his sort of dogcart. 

"Must 'ave a look at the bilkin' mare," he 
had said; "that young Cocoon told me she 
was a corker; but what's third to Referee 
at Sandown, and never ran as a two-year- 
old .^^ All I know is, she's eatin' 'er 'ead off!" 

Beside the plethoric bulk of Pulcher, clad 
in a light-colored boxcloth coat with 
enormous whitish buttons and a full-blown 
rose in the lapel, Jimmy's little, thin, dark- 
clothed form, withered by anxiety and gin, 
was, as it were, invisible; and compared 
with Pulcher's setting sun, his face, with 
shaven cheeks sucked-in, and smudged-in 



164 



Caravan 



f6^ 



eyes, was like a ghost's under a gray bowler. 
He spoke off-handedly about his animal, 
but he was impressed, in a sense abashed, by 
his ownership. "What the 'ell?" was his 
constant thought. Was he going to race her, 
sell her — what? How, indeed, to get back 
out of her the sum he had been fool enough 
to let young Cocoon owe him; to say 
nothing of her trainer's bill? The notion, 
too, of having to confront that trainer with 
his ownership was oppressive to one whose 
whole life was passed in keeping out of the 
foreground of the picture. Owner! He had 
never owned even a white mouse, let alone 
a white elephant. And an 'orse would ruin 
him in no time if he didn't look alive 
about it! 

The son of a small London baker, de- 
voted to errandry at the age of fourteen, 
Jimmy Shrewin owed his profession to a 
certain smartness at sums, a dislike of bak- 
ing, and an early habit of hanging about 
street corners with other boys, who had 
their daily pennies on an 'orse. He had a 
narrow, calculating head, which pushed 
him toward street-corner books before he 
was eighteen. From that time on he had 
been a surreptitious nomad, till he had 
silted up at Oxford, where, owing to vice- 
chancellors, an expert in underground life 
had greater scope than elsewhere. When he 
sat solitary at his narrow table in the back 
room near the Corn — for he had no clerk 
or associate — eyeing the door, with his lists 
in a drawer before him, and his black shiny 
betting book ready for young bloods, he 
had a sharp, cold, furtive air, and but for 
a certain imitated tightness of trouser, and 
a collar standing up all around, gave no 
impression of ever having heard of the 
quadruped called horse. Indeed, for Jimmy 
''horse" was a newspaper quantity with 
figures against its various names. 



Even when, for a short spell, hanger-on 
to a firm of Cheap Ring bookmakers, he 
had seen almost nothing of horse; his race- 
course hours were spent ferreting among a 
bawling, perspiring crowd, or hanging 
round within earshot of tight-lipped nobs, 
trainers, jockeys, anyone who looked like 
having information. Nowadays he never 
went near a race meeting — his business of 
betting on races giving him no chance — 
yet his conversation seldom deviated for 
more than a minute at a time from that 
physically unknown animal, the horse. The 
ways of making money out of it, infinite, 
intricate, variegated, occupied the mind in 
all his haunts, to the accompaniment of 
liquid and tobacco. Gin and bitters was 
Jimmy's drink; for choice he smoked 
cheroots; and he would cherish in his 
mouth the cold stump of one long after it 
had gone out, for the homely feeling it 
gave him while he talked or listened to talk 
on horses. He was of that vast number, 
town bred, who, like crows round a car- 
cass, feed on that which to them is not alive. 
And now he had a horse ! 

The dogcart traveled at a clinking pace 
behind Pulcher's bobtail. Jimmy's cheroot 
burned well in the warm July air; the 
dust powdered his dark clothes and 
pinched, sallow face. He thought with 
malicious pleasure of that young spark 
Cocoon's collapse — high-'anded lot of 
young fools thinking themselves so know- 
ing; many were the grins, and not few the 
grittings of his blackened teeth he had tc 
smother at their swagger. "Jimmy, you rob- 
ber!" "Jimmy, you little blackguard!" 
Young sparks — gay and languid — well, one 
of 'em had gone out. 

He looked round with his screwed-up 
eyes at his friend George Pulcher, who, 



i66 



]ohn Galsworthy 



man and licensed victualer, had his bally 
independence; lived remote from the 
Quality in his Paradise, the Green Dragon; 
had not to kowtow to anyone; went to 
Newbury, Gatwick, Stockbridge, here and 
there, at will. Ah! George Pulcher had the 
ideal life — and looked it; crimson, square, 
full-bodied. Judge of a horse, too, in his 
own estimation; a leery bird — for whose 
judgment Jimmy had respect — who got the 
ofiSce of any clever work as quick as most 
men! 

And he said, "What am I going to do 
with this blinkin' 'orse, George .f^" 

Without moving its head the oracle 
spoke, in a voice rich and raw: "Let's 'ave 
a look at her, first, Jimmy! Don't like her 
name — Cal'liope; but you can't change 
what's in the stud-book. This Jenning that 
trains 'er is a crusty chap." 

Jimmy nervously sucked in his lips. 

The cart was mounting through the 
hedgeless fields which fringed the Downs; 
larks were singing, the wheat was very 
green, and patches of charlock brightened 
everything. 

It was lonely — few trees, few houses, no 
people, extreme peace, just a few rooks 
crossing under a blue sky. 

"Wonder if he'll offer us a Hrink," said 
Jimmy. 

"Not he; but help yourself, my son." 

Jinmiy helped himself from a large 
wicker-covered flask. 

"Good for you, George — here's how!" 

The large man shifted the reins and 
drank, in turn tilting up a face whose jaw 
still struggled to assert itself against chins 
and neck. 

"Well, here's your bloomin' horse," he 
said. "She can't win the Derby now, but 
she may do us a bit of good yet." 



II 



The trainer, Jenning, coming from his 
Sunday afternoon round of the boxes, 
heard the sound of wheels. He was a thin 
man, neat in clothes and boots, medium in 
height, with a slight limp, narrow gray 
whiskers, thin shaven lips, eyes sharp and 
gray. 

A dogcart stopping at his yard gate and 
a rum-looking couple of customers. 

"Well, gentlemen.?" 

"Mr. Jenning } My name's Pulcher — 
George Pulcher. Brought a client of yours 
over to see his new mare. Mr. James 
Shrewin, Oxford city." 

Jimmy got down and stood before his 
trainer's uncompromising stare. 

"What mare's that.?" asked Jenning. 

"Cal' Hope.' 

"Calli' ope— Mr. Colquhoun's.?" 

Jimmy held out a letter. 

Dear Jenning: I have sold Calliope to 
Jimmy Shrewin, the Oxford bookie. He 
takes her with all engagements and liabili- 
ties, including your training bill. I'm fright- 
fully sick at having to part with her, but 
needs must when the devil drives. 

Gardon Colquhoun. 

The trainer folded the letter. 

"Got proof of registration .?" 

Jimmy drew out another paper. 

The trainer inspected it and called out: 
"Ben, bring out Calliope. Excuse me a 
minute"; and he walked into his house. 

Jimmy stood shifting from leg to leg. 
Mortification had set in; the dry abruptness 
of the trainer had injured even a self-esteem 
starved from youth. 

The voice of Pulcher boomed. "Told you 
he was a crusty devil. 'And 'im a bit of his 
own." 



The trainer was coming back. 

"My bill," he said. "When you've paid 
it you can have the mare. I train for gentle- 
men." 

"The hell you do!" said Pulcher. 

Jimmy said nothing, staring at the bill — 
seventy-eight pounds three shillings ! A buz- 
zing fly settled in the hollow of his cheek, 
and he did not even brush it ofif. Seventy- 
eight pounds! 

The sound of hoofs roused him. Here 
came his horse, throwing up her head as 
if inquiring why she was being disturbed a 
second time on Sunday. In the movement 
of that small head and satin neck was some- 
thing free and beyond present company. 

"There she is," said the trainer. "That'll 
do, Ben. Stand, girl!" 

Answering to a jerk or two of the halter, 
the mare stood, kicking slightly with a 
white hind foot and whisking her tail. Her 
bright coat shone in the sunlight, and little 
shivers and wrinklings passed up and down 
its satin because of the flies. Then, for a 
moment, she stood still, ears pricked, eyes 
on the distance. 

Jimmy approached her. She had resumed 
her twitchings, swishings and slight kick- 
ing, and at a respectful distance he circled, 
bending as if looking at crucial points. He 
knew what her sire and dam had done, and 
all the horses that had beaten or been 
beaten by them; could have retailed by the 
half hour the peculiar hearsay of their 
careers; and here was their offspring in 
flesh and blood, and he was dumb! He 
didn't know a thing about what she ought 
to look like, and he knew it; but he felt 
obscurely moved. She seemed to him a 
picture. 

Completing his circle he approached her 
head, white-blazed, thrown up again in 
listening or scenting, and gingerly he laid 



Caravan 167 

his hand on her neck, warm and smooth 
as a woman's shoulder. She paid no at- 
tention to his touch, and he took his hand 
away. Ought he to look at her teeth or feel 
her legs? No, he was not buying her; she 
was his already; but he must say something. 
He looked round. The trainer was watching 
him with a little smile. For almost the first 
time in his life the worm turned in Jimmy 
Shrewin; he spoke no word and walked 
back to the cart. 

"Take her in," said Jenning. 

From his seat beside Pulcher, Jimmy 
watched the mare returning to her box. 

"When I've cashed your check," said the 
trainer, "you can send for her." 

And, turning on his heel, he went toward 
his house. The voice of Pulcher followed 
him. 

"Blast your impudence! Git on, bob-tail, 
we'll shake the dust off 'ere." 

Among the fringing fields the dogcart 
hurried away. The sun slanted, the heat 
grew less, the color of young wheat and of 
the charlock brightened. 

"The tike! Jimmy, I'd 'ave hit him on 
the mug! But you've got one there. She's 
a bit o' blood, my boy! And I know the 
trainer for her, Polman — no blasted airs 
about 'im." 

Jimmy sucked at his cheroot. 

"I ain't had your advantages, George, and 
that's a fact. I got into it too young, and 
I'm a little chap. But I'll send the — my 
check tomorrow. I got my pride, I 'ope." 

It was the first time that thought had 
ever come to him. 



Ill 



Though not quite the center of the Turf, 
the Green Dragon had nursed a coup in its 
day, nor was it without a sense of venera- 



i68 



John Galsworthy 



tion. The ownership of CalHope invested 
Jimmy Shrewin with the im^x)rtance of 
those out of whom something can be had. 
It took time for one so long accustomed 
to beck and call, to molclike procedure and 
the demeanor of young bloods to realize 
that he had it. But, slowly, with the 
marked increase of his unpaid-for cheroots, 
with the way in which glasses hung 
suspended when he came in, with the 
edgings up to him, and a certain tendency 
to accompany him along the street, it 
dawned on him that he was not only an 
out-of-bounds bookie but a man. 

So long as he had remained unconscious 
of his double nature he had been content 
with laying the odds as best he might, and 
getting what he could out of every situation, 
straight or crooked. Now that he was also 
a man, his complacency was rufSed. He 
suffered from a growing headiness con- 
nected with his horse. She was trained, 
now, by Polman, farther along the Downs, 
too far for Pulcher's bob-tail; and though 
her public life was carried on at the Green 
Dragon, her private life required a train 
journey overnight. Jimmy took it twice a 
week — touting his own horse in the August 
mornings up on the Downs, without drink 
or talk, or even cheroots. Early morning, 
larks singing and the sound of galloping 
hoofs! In a moment of expansion he con- 
fided to Pulcher that it was bally 'olesome. 

There had been the slight difficulty of 
being mistaken for a tout by his new trainer, 
Polman, a stoutish man with the look of 
one of those large sandy Cornish cats, not 
precisely furtive because craft is their na- 
ture. But, that once over, his personality 
swelled slowly. This month of August was 
one of those interludes, in fact, when 
nothing happens, but which shape the 
future by secret ripening. 



An error to suppose that men conduct 
finance, high or low, from greed, or love 
of gambling; they do it out of self-esteem, 
out of an itch to prove their judgment 
superior to their neighbors', out of a long- 
ing for importance. George Pulcher did not 
despise the turning of a penny, but he 
valued much more the consciousness that 
men were saying: "Old George, what 'e 
says goes — knows a thing or two — George 
Pulcher!" 

To pull the strings of Jimmy Shrewin's 
horse was a rich and subtle opportunity 
absorbingly improvable. But first one had 
to study the animal's engagements, and 
secondly to gauge that unknown quantity, 
her form. To make anything of her this 
year they must get about it. That young 
toff, her previous owner, had, of course, 
flown high, entering her for classic races, 
high-class handicaps, neglecting the rich 
chances of lesser occasions. 

Third to Referee in the three-year-old 
race at Sandown Spring — two heads — ^was 
all that was known of her, and now they 
had given her seven two in the Cambridge- 
shire. She might have a chance, and again 
she might not. George sat two long even- 
ings with Jimmy in the little private room 
off the bar deliberating this grave question. 

Jimmy inclined to the bold course. He 
kept saying: "The mare's a flyer, George — 
she's the 'ell of a flyer!" 

"Wait till she's been tried," said the 
oracle. 

Had Polman anything that would give 
them a \mt} 

Yes, he had The Shirker — ^named with 
that irony which appeals to the English — 
one of the most honest four-year-olds that 
ever looked through bridle, who had run 
up against almost every animal of mark — 
the one horse that Polman never interfered 



with, for if interrupted in his training he 
ran all the better; who seldom won, but 
was almost always placed — the sort of horse 
that handicappers pivot on. 

"But," said Pulcher, "try her with The 
Shirker, and the first stable money will 
send her up to tens. 

"That 'orse is so darned regular. We've 
got to throw a bit of dust first, Jimmy. I'll 
go over and see Polman." 

In Jimmy's withered chest a faint resent- 
ment rose — it wasn't George's horse — ^but 
it sank again beneath his friend's bulk and 
reputation. 

The bit of dust was thrown at the ordi- 
nary hour of exercise over the Long Mile 
on the last day of August — the five-year-old 
Hangman carrying eight stone seven, the 
three-year-old Parrot seven stone five; what 
Calliope was carrying nobody but Polman 
knew. The forethought of George Pulcher 
had secured the unofficial presence of the 
press. The instructions to the boy on Cal- 
liope were to be there at the finish if he 
could, but on no account to win. Jimmy 
and George Pulcher had come out over- 
night. They sat together in the dogcart by 
the clump of bushes which marked the 
winning post, with Polman on his cob on 
the far side. 

By a fine warm light the three horses 
were visible to the naked eye in the slight 
dip down by the start. And, through the 
glasses, invested in now that he had a horse, 
Jimmy could see every movement of his 
mare with her blazed face — ^rather on her 
toes, like the bright chestnut and bit o' 
blood she was. He had a pit-patting in his 
heart, and his lips were tight pressed. Sup- 
pose she was no good after all, and that 
young Cocoon had palmed him off a pup! 
But mixed in with his financial fear was 



Caravan 169 

an anxiety more intimate, as if his own 
value were at stake. 

From George Pulcher came an almost 
excited gurgle. 

"See the tout! See 'im behind that bush. 
Thinks we don't know 'e's there, wot oh!" 

Jimmy bit into his cheroot. "They're run- 
ning," he said. 

Rather wide, the black Hangman on 
the far side. Calliope in the middle, they 
came sweeping up the Long Mile. Jimmy 
held his tobaccoed breath. The mare was 
going freely — a length or two behind — 
making up her ground ! Now for it ! 

Ah! She 'ad the 'Angman beat, and ding- 
dong with this Parrot! It was all he could 
do to keep from calling out. With a rush 
and a cludding of hoofs they passed — the 
blazed nose just behind the Parrot's bay 
nose — dead heat all but, with the Hangman 
beat a good length! 

"There 'e goes, Jimmy! See the blank 
scuttlin' down the 'ill like a blinkin' rabbit. 
That'll be in tomorrow's paper, that trial 
will. Ah! but 'ow to read it — that's the 
point." 

The horses had been wheeled and were 
sidling back; Polman was going forward 
on his cob. 

Jimmy jumped down. Whatever that fel- 
low had to say, he meant to hear. It was 
his horse! Narrowly avoiding the hoofs of 
his hot fidgeting mare, he said sharply: 
"What about it.?" 

Polman never looked you in the face ; his 
speech came as if not intended to be heard 
by anyone. 

"Tell Mr. Shrewin how she went." 

"Had a bit up my sleeve. If I'd hit her 
a smart one, I could ha' landed by a length 
or more." 

"That so.?" said Jimmy with a hiss. 



170 



John Galsworthy 



"Well, don t you hit her; she don't want 

hittin'. You remember that." 
The boy said sulkily, "All right!" 
"Take her home," said Polman. Then, 

with tliat reflective averted air of his he 

added: "She was carrying eight stone, Mr. 

Shrewin; you've got a good one there. 

She's the Hangman at level weights." 
Something wild leaped up in Jimmy — 

the Hangman's form unrolled itself before 

him in the air — he had a horse — he damn 

well had a horse! 



IV 



But how delicate is the process of back- 
ing your fancy? The planting of a com- 
mission — what tender and efiScient work 
before it will flower! That sixth sense of 
the racing man, which, like the senses of 
savages in great forests, seizes telepathically 
on what is not there, must be dulled, duped, 
deluded. 

George Pulcher had the thing in hand. 
One might have thought the gross man in- 
capable of such a fairy touch, such power 
of sowing with one hand and reaping with 
the other. He intimated rather than asserted 
that Calliope and the Parrot were one and 
the same thing. "The Parrot," he said, 
"couldn't win with seven stone — ^no use 
thinkin' of this Cariiope." 

Local opinion was the rock on which, 
like a great tactician, he built. So long as 
local opinion was adverse, he could dribble 
money on in London; the natural jump-up 
from every long shot taken was dragged 
back by the careful radiation of disparage- 
ment from the seat of knowledge. 

Jimmy was the fly in his ointment of 
those baling early weeks while snapping up 
every penny of long odds, before suspicion 



could begin to work from the persistence 
of inquiry. Half a dozen times he found 
the little cuss within an ace of blowing 
the gaff on his own blinkin' mare; seemed 
unable to run his horse down; the little 
beggar's head was swellin'! Once Jimmy 
had even got up and gone out, leaving a gin 
and bitters untasted on the bar. Pulcher im- 
proved on his absence in the presence of a 
London tout. 

"Saw tlie trial meself! Jimmy don't like 
to think he's got a stiff 'un." 

And next morning his London agent 
snapped up some thirty-threes again. 

According to the trial the mare was the 
Hangman at seven stone two, and really hot 
stuff — a seven-to-one chance. It was none 
the less with a sense of outrage that, open- 
ing the Sporting Ufe on the last day of 
September, he found her quoted at a hun- 
dred to eight. Whose work was this? 

He reviewed the altered situation in dis- 
gust. He had invested about half the stable 
commission of three hundred pounds at an 
average of thirty to one, but now that she 
had come in the betting he would hardly 
average tens with the rest. What fool had 
put his oar in? 

He learned the explanation two days 
later. The rash, the unknown backer was 
Jimmy! He had acted, it appeared, from 
jealousy; a bookmaker — it took one's breath 
away! 

"Backed her on your own, just because 
that young Cocoon told you he fancied 
her!" 

Jimmy looked up from the table in his 
"office," where he was sitting in wait for 
the scanty custom of the long vacation. 

"She's not his horse," he said sullenly. 
"I wasn't going to have him get the cream." 

"What did you put on?" growled 
Pulcher. 



Caravan 



171 



"Took iive hundred to thirty, and fifteen 
twenties." 

"An' see what it's done — knocked the 
bottom out of the commission. Am I to 
take that fifty as part of it.?" 

Jimmy nodded. 

"That leaves an 'undred to invest," said 
Pulcher, somewhat molHfied. He stood, 
with his mind twisting in his thick still 
body. "It's no good waitin' now," he said. 
"Ill work the rest of the money on today. 
If I can average tens on the balance, we'll 
'ave six thousand three hundred to play 
with and the stakes. They tell me Jenning 
fancies this Diamond Stud of his. He ought 
to know the form with Calliope, blast him! 
We got to watch that." 

They had ! Diamond Stud, a four-year-old 
with eight stone two, was being backed 
as if the Cambridgeshire were over. From 
fifteens he advanced to sevens, thence to 
favoritism at fives. Pulcher bit on it. Jen- 
ning must know where he stood with Cal- 
liope! It meant — it meant she couldn't win! 
The tactician wasted no time in vain regret. 
Establish Calliope in the betting and lay ofiE. 
The time had come to utilize The Shirker. 

It was misty on the Downs — ^fine-weather 
mist of a bright October. The three horses 
became spectral on their way to the starting 
point. Polman had thrown the Parrot in 
again, but this time he made no secret of 
the weights. The Shirker was carrying eight 
seven, Calliope eight, the Parrot seven stone. 

Once more, in the cart, with his glasses 
sweeping the bright mist, Jimmy had that 
pit-patting in his heart. Here they came! 
His mare leading — all riding hard — a 
genuine finish! They passed— The Shirker 
beaten a clear length, with the Parrot at his 
girth. 

Beside him in the cart, George Pulcher 



mumbled, "She's The Shirker at eight stone 
four, Jimmy!" 

A silent drive big with thought back to 
a river inn; a silent breakfast. Over a tank- 
ard at the close the Oracle spoke. 

"The Shirker, at eight stone four, is a 
good 'ot chance, but no cert, Jimmy. We'll 
let 'em know this trial quite open, weights 
and all. That'll bring her in the betting. 
And we'll watch Diamond Stud. If he drops 
back we'll know Jenning thinks he can't 
beat us now. If Diamond Stud stands up, 
we'll know Jenning thinks he's still got our 
mare safe. Then our line'll be clear: we lay 
off the lot, pick up a thousand or so, and 
'ave the mare in at a nice weight at Liver- 
pool." 

Jimmy's smudged-in eyes stared hungrily. 

"How's that.''" he said. "Suppose she 
wins!" 

"Wins! If we lay off the lot, she won't 
win." 

"Pull her!" 

George Pulcher's voice sank half an 
octave with disgust. 

"Pull her! Who talked of pullin'.? She'll 
run a bye, that's all. We shan't ever know 
whether she could 'a' won or not." 

Jimmy sat silent; the situation was such 
as his life during sixteen years had waited 
for. They stood to win both ways with a 
bit of handling. 

"Who's to ride.?" he said. 

"Polman's got a call on Docker. He can 
just ride the weight. Either way he's good 
for us — strong finisher, and a rare judge of 
distance; knows how to time things to a /. 
Win or not, he's our man." 

Jimmy was deep in figures. Laying off at 
sevens, they would still win four thousand 
and the stakes. 

"I'd like a win," he said. 

"Ah!" said Pulcher. "But there'll be 



172 



]ohn Galsworthy 



twenty in the field, my son ; no more uncer- 
tain race than that bally Cambridgeshire. 
We could pick up a thou, as easy as I pick 
up this pot. Bird in the and, Jimmy, and a 
gooi.1 'andicap in the busy. If she wins, she's 
finished. Well, we'll put this trial about and 
see 'ow Jennings pops." 

Jenning popped amazingly. Diamond 
Stud receded a point, then reestablished 
himself at nine to two. Jenning was clearly 
not dismayed. 

George Pulcher shook his head and 
waited, uncertain still which way to jump. 
Ironical circumstance decided him. 

Term had begun ; Jimmy was busy at his 
seat of custom. By some miracle of 
guardianly intervention, young Colquhoun 
had not gone broke. He was up again, eager 
to retrieve his reputation, and that little 
brute, Jimmy, would not lay against his 
horse! He merely sucked in his cheeks and 
answered, "I'm not layin' my own 'orse." 
It was felt that he was not the man he had 
been; assertion had come into his manner, 
he was better dressed. Someone had seen 
him at the station looking quite a toff in 
a blue box-cloth coat standing well out 
from his wisp of a figure, and with a pair 
of brown race glasses slung over the 
shoulder. All together the little brute was 
getting too big for his boots. 

And this strange improvement hardened 
the feeling that his horse was a real good 
thing. Patriotism began to burn in Oxford. 
Here was a snip that belonged to them, as 
it were, and the money in support of it, 
finding no outlet, began to ball. 

A week before the race — ^with Calliope 
at nine to one, and very little doing — young 
Colquhoun went up to town, taking with 
him the accumulated support of betting 
Oxford. That evening she stood at sixes. 
Next day the public followed on. 



George Pulcher took advantage. In this 
crisis of the proceedings he acted on his 
own initiative. The mare went back to 
eights, but the deed was done. He had laid 
off the whole bally lot, including the stake 
money. He put it to Jimmy that evening 
in a nutshell. "We pick up a thousand, and 
the Liverpool as good as in our pocket. I've 
done worse." 

Jimmy grunted out, "She could a' won." 

"Not she. Jenning knows — and there's 
others in the race. This Wasp is goin' to 
take a lot of catchin', and Deerstalker's not 
out of it. He's a hell of a horse, even with 
that weight." 

Again Jimmy grunted, slowly sucking 
down his gin and bitters. Sullenly he said, 
"Well, 1 don' want to put money in the 
pocket of young Cocoon and his crowd. 
Like his impudence, backin' my horse as if 
it was his own." 

"We'll 'ave to go and see her run, 
Jimmy." 

"Not me," said Jimmy. 

"What! First time she runs! It won't look 
natural." 

"No," repeated Jimmy. "I don't want to 
see 'er beat." 

George Pulcher laid his hand on a skinny 
shoulder. 

"Nonsense, Jimmy. You've got to, for 
the sake of your reputation. You'll enjoy 
seein' your mare saddled. We'll go up over 
night. I shall 'ave a few pound on Deer- 
stalker. I believe he can beat this Diamond 
Stud. And you leave Docker to me; I'll 
'ave a word with 'im at Gatwick tomorrow. 
I've known 'im since 'e was that 'igh; an' 
'e ain't much more now." 

"All right!" growled Jimmy. 

The longer you can bet on a race the 
greater its fascination. Handicappers can 
properly enjoy the beauty of their work; 



Caravan 



^n 



clubmen and oracles of the course have due 
scope for reminiscence and prophecy ; book- 
makers in lovely leisure can indulge a litde 
their ow^n calculated preferences, instead of 
being hurried to soulless conclusions by a 
half hour's market on the course; the 
professional backer has the longer in w^hich 
to dream of his fortune made at last by 
some hell of a horse — spotted somewhere 
as interfered with, left at the post, running 
green, too fat, not fancied, backward — ^now 
bound to win this race. And the general 
public has the chance to read the horses' 
names in the betting news for days and 
days; and what a comfort that is! 

Jimmy Shrewin was not one of those 
philosophers who justify the great and 
growing game of betting on the ground 
that it improves the breed of an animal less 
and less in use. He justified it much more 
simply — he lived by it. And in the whole 
of his career of nearly twenty years since 
he made hole-and-corner books among the 
boys of London, he had never stood so 
utterly on velvet as that morning when 
his horse must win him five hundred 
pounds by merely losing. He had spent the 
night in London anticipating a fraction of 
his gains with George Pulcher at a music 
hall. And, in a first-class carriage, as became 
an owner, he traveled down to Newmarket 
by an early special. An early special key 
turned in the lock of the carriage door, 
preserved their numbers at six, all profes- 
sionals, with blank, rather rolling eyes, 
mouths shut or slightly fishy, ears to the 
ground; and the only natural talker a red- 
faced man, who had been at it thirty years. 
Intoning the pasts and futures of this hell 
of a horse or that, even he was silent on the 
race in hand; and the journey was half 
over before the beauty of their own judg- 



ments loosened tongues thereon. George 
Pulcher started it. 

"I fancy Deerstalker," he said. 

*^Too much weight," said the red-faced 
man. "What about this Cal'liope?" 

"Ah!" said Pulcher. "D'you fancy your 
marc, Jimmy .f^" 

With all eyes turned on him, lost in his 
blue box-cloth coat, brown bowler and 
cheroot smoke, Jimmy experienced a subtle 
thrill. Addressing the space between the 
red-faced man and Pulcher, he said, "If she 
runs up to 'er looks." 

"Ah!" said Pulcher, "she's dark — nice 
mare, but a bit light and shelly." 

"Lopez out o' Calendar," muttered the 
red-faced man. "Lopez didn't stay, but he 
was the hell of a horse over seven furlongs. 
The Shirker ought to 'ave told you a bit." 

Jimmy did not answer. It gave him 
pleasure to see the red-faced man's eye try- 
ing to get past, and failing. 

"Nice race to pick up. Don't fancy the 
favorite meself; he'd nothin' to beat at 
Ascot." 

"Jenning knows what he's about," said 
Pulcher. 

Jenning! Before Jimmy's mind passed 
again that first sight of his horse, and the 
trainer's smile, as if he — Jimmy Shrewin, 
who owned her — had been dirt. Tike! To 
have the mare beaten by one of his ! A deep, 
subtle vexation had oppressed him at all 
times all these last days since George 
Pulcher had decided in favor of the mare's 
running a bye. He took too much on him- 
self! Thought he had Jimmy Shrewin in 
his pocket! He looked at the block of crim- 
son opposite. Aunt Sally! If George Pulcher 
could tell what was passing in his mind ! 

But driving up to the course he was not 
above sharing a sandwich and a flask. In 
fact his feelings were unstable and Rustv — 



174 



John Galsworthy 



sometimes resentment, sometinies the old 
respect for his friend's independent bulk. 
The dignity of ownership takes long to 
estabhsh itself in those who have been 
kicked about. 

"All right with Docker," murmured 
Pulcher, sucking at the wicker flask. "I gave 
him the office at Gatwick.'* 

"She could 'a' won," muttered Jimmy. 

"Not she, my boy; there's two at least 
can beat 'er." 

Like all oracles, George Pulcher could 
believe what he wanted to. 

Arriving, they entered the grand-stand 
inclosure, and over the dividing railings 
Jimmy gazed at the Cheap Ring, already 
filling up with its usual customers. Faces 
and umbrellas — the same old crowd. How 
often had he been in that Cheap Ring, with 
hardly room to move, seeing nothing, hear- 
ing nothing but "Two to one on the field!" 
"Two to one on the field!" Threes Sword- 
fish!" "Fives Alabaster!" "Two to one on 
the field!" 

Nothing but a sea of men like himself, 
and a sky overhead. He was not exactly 
conscious of criticism, only of a dull glad- 
I'm-shut-of-that-lot feeling. 

Leaving George Pulcher deep in conver- 
sation with a crony, he lighted a cheroot 
and slipped out on to the course. He passed 
the Jockey Club inclosure. Some early toffs 
were there in twos and threes, exchanging 
wisdom. He looked at them without envy 
or malice. He was an owner himself now, 
almost one of them in a manner of think- 
ing. With a sort of relish he thought of how 
his past life had circled round those tofis, 
slippery, shadow-like, kicked about; and 
now he could get up on the Downs away 
from tofIs, George Pulcher, all that crowd, 
and smell the grass, and hear the bally 
larks, and watch his own mare gallop! 



They were putting the numbers up for 
the first race. Queer not to be betting, not 
to be touting around; queer to be giving it 
a rest ! Utterly familiar with those names on 
the board, he was utterly unfamiliar with 
the shapes they stood for. 

"I'll go and see 'em come out of the pad- 
dock," he thought, and moved on, skimpy 
in his bell-shaped coat and billycock with 
flattened brim. The clamor of the Rings 
rose behind him while he was entering the 
paddock. 

Very green, very peaceful there; not 
many people yet! Three horses in the sec- 
ond race were being led slowly in a sort 
of winding ring; and men were clustering 
round the farther gate where the horses 
would come out. Jimmy joined them, suck- 
ing at his cheroot. They were a picture! 
Damn it, he didn't know but that 'orses 
laid over men! Pretty creatures! 

One by one they passed out of the gate, 
a round dozen. Selling platers, but pictures, 
for all that! 

He turned back toward the horses being 
led about; and the old instinct to listen took 
him close to little groups. Talk was all of 
the big race. From a tall toff he caught the 
word "Calliope." 
"Belongs to a bookie, they say." 
Bookie! Why not.^^ Wasn't a bookie as 
good as any other .^^ Ah! And sometimes 
better than these young snobs with every- 
thing to their hand ! A bookie — well, what 
chance had he ever had ? 
A big brown horse came by. 
"That's Deerstalker," he heard the toff 
say. 

Jimmy gazed at George Pulcher's fancy 
with a sort of hostility. Here came another 
— ^Wasp, six stone ten, and Deerstalker 
nine stone — ^bottom and top of the race! 



"My 'orse'd beat either o' them," he 
thought stubbornly. "Don't like that Wasp." 

The distant roar was hushed. They were 
running in the first race! He moved back 
to the gate. The quick clamor rose and 
dropped, and here they came — back into the 
paddock, darkened with sweat, flanks 
heaving a little! 

Jimmy followed the winner, saw the 
jockey weigh in. 

"What jockey's that?" he asked. 

"That? Why, Docker!" 

Jimmy stared. A short, square, bowlegged 
figure, with a hardwood face! 

Waiting his chance, he went up to him 
and said, "Docker, you ride my 'orse in the 
big race." 

"Mr. Shrewin?" 

"The same," said Jimmy. The jockey's 
left eyelid drooped a little. Nothing re- 
sponded in Jimmy's face. "FU see you before 
the race," he said. 

Again the jockey's eyelid wavered; he 
nodded and passed on. 

Jimmy stared at his own boots; they 
struck him suddenly as too yellow and not 
at the right angle. But why, he couldn't 
say. 



More horses now — those of the first race 
being unsaddled, clothed and led away. 
More men; three familiar figures — young 
Cocoon and two others of his Oxford 
customers. 

Jimmy turned sharply from them. Stand 
their airs? Not he! He had a sudden sickish 
feeling. With a win he'd have been a made 
man — on his own! Blast George Pulcher 
and his caution! To think of being back 
in Oxford with those young bloods jeering 
at his beaten horse! He bit deep into the 
stump of his cheroot, and suddenly came 
on Jenning standing by a horse with a star 



Caravan 175 

no sign of recognition, but signed to the 
boy to lead the horse into a stall, and fol- 
lowed, shutting the door. It was exactly as 
if he had said, "Vermin about!" 

An evil little smile curled Jimmy's lips. 
The tike! 

The horses for the second race passed out 
of the paddock gate, and he turned to find 
his own. His ferreting eyes soon sighted 
Polman. What the cat-faced fellow knew 
or was thinking, Jimmy could not tell. No- 
body could tell. 

"Where's the mare?" he said. 

"Just coming round." 

No mistaking her; fine as a star, shiny- 
coated, sinuous, her blazed face held rather 
high! Who said she was shelly? She was 
a picture! He walked a few paces close to 
the boy. 

"That's Calliope. . . . H'm! . . . Nice filly! 

. . . Looks fit Who's this James Shrewin ? 

. . . What's she at ? ... I like her looks." 

His horse! Not a prettier filly in the 
world ! 

He followed Polman into her stall to see 
her saddled. In the twilight there he 
watched her toilet — the rub-over, the exact 
adjustments, the bottle of water to the 
mouth, the buckling of the bridle — watched 
her head high above the boy keeping her 
steady with gentle pulls of a rein in each 
hand held out a little wide, and now and 
then stroking her blazed nose ; watched her 
pretense of nipping at his hand. He 
watched the beauty of her, exaggerated in 
this half-lit isolation away from the others, 
the life and litheness in her satin body, the 
wilful expectancy in her bright soft eyes. 

Run a bye! This bit o' blood — this bit o' 
fire! This horse of his! Deep within that 
shell of blue box cloth against the stall 
partition a thought declared itself: "I'm 



on its bay forehead. The trainer gave him damned if she shall! She can beat the lot!" 



176 



John Galsworthy 



The door was thrown open, and she led 
out. He moved alongside. They were star- 
ing at her, following her. No wonder! She 
was a picture, his horse — his! She had gone 
to Jimmy's head. 

They passed Jenning with Diamond Stud 
waiting to be mounted. Jimmy shot him a 
look. Let the wait! 

His mare reached the palings and was 
halted. Jimmy saw the short square figure 
of her jockey, in the new magenta cap and 
jacket — his cap, his jacket! Beautiful they 
looked, and no mistake! 

"A word with you," he said. 

The jockey halted, looked quickly round. 

"All right, Mr. Shrewin. I know." 

Jimmy's eyes smoldered at him. Hardly 
moving his lips he said intently: "You 
damn well don't! You'll ride her to win. 
Never mind him! If you don't, I'll have 
you off the turf. Understand me! You'll 
damn well ride 'er to win." 

The jockey's jaw dropped. 

"All right, Mr. Shrewin." 

"See it is!" said Jimmy with a hiss. 

"Mount, jockeys!" 

He saw magenta swing into the saddle. 
And suddenly, as if smitten with the 
plague, he scuttled away. 

He scuttled to where he could see them 
going down — seventeen. No need to 
search for his colors; they blazed, like 
George Pulcher's countenance, or a rhodo- 
dendron bush in sunlight, above that bright 
chestnut with the white nose, curvetting a 
little as she was led past. 

Now they came cantering — Deerstalker 
in the lead. 

"He's a hell of a horse. Deerstalker," said 
someone behind. 

Jimmy cast a nervous glance around. No 
sign of George Pulcher! 
One by one they cantered past, and he 



watched them with a cold feeling in his 
stomach. 

The same voice said, "New colors! Well, 
you can see 'em; and the mare too. She's a 
showy one. Calliope? She's goin' back in 
the bettin', though." 
Jimmy moved up through the Ring. 
Tour to one on the field!" "Six Deer- 
stalker!" "Sevens Magistrate!" Ten to one 
Wasp!" "Ten to one Calliope!" "Four to . 
one Diamond Stud!" Tour to one on the 
field!" 

Steady as a rock, that horse of Jenning's, 
and his own going back ! 

"Twelves Calliope!" he heard just as he 
reached the stand. The telepathic genius of 
the Ring missed nothing — almost! 

A cold shiver went through him. What 
had he done by his words to Docker? 
Spoiled the golden tgg laid so carefully? 
But perhaps she couldn't win, even if they 
let her! He began to mount the stand, his 
mind in the most acute confusion. 

A voice said, "Hullo, Jimmy ! Is she going 
to win?" 

One of his young Oxford sparks was 
jammed against him on the stairway! 

He raised his lip in a sort of snarl, and, 
huddling himself, slipped through and up 
ahead. He came out and edged in close to 
the stairs, where he could get play for his 
glasses. Behind him one of those who im- 
prove the shining hour among backers cut 
off from opportunity was intoning the odds 
a point shorter than below: "Three to one 
on the field." Tives Deerstalker." "Eight 
to one Wasp." 

"What price Calliope?" said Jimmy 
sharply. 

"Hundred to eight." 
"Done!" Handing him the eight, he took 
the ticket. Behind him the man's eyes 



Caravan 

moved fishily, and he resumed his incan- 
tation: 

"Three to one on the field. Three to one 
on the field. Six to one Magistrate." 

On the wheeling bunch of colors at the 
start Jimmy trained his glasses. Something 
had broken clean away and come half the 
course — something in yellow. 

"Eights Magistrate. Eight to one Magis- 
trate," drifted up. 

So they had spotted that! Precious little 
they didn't spot! 

Magistrate was round again, and being 
ridden back. Jimmy rested his glasses a 
moment, and looked down. Swarms in the 
Cheap Ring, Tattersalls, the Stands — a 
crowd so great you could lose George 
Pulcher in it. Just below, a little man was 
making silent frantic signals with his arms 
across to someone in the Cheap Ring. Jim- 
my raised his glasses. In line now — magenta 
third from the rails! 

"They're off!" 

The hush, you could cut it with a knife! 
Something in green away on the right — 
Wasp! What a bat they were going! And a 
sort of numbness in Jimmy's mind cracked 
suddenly; his glasses shook; his thin weasly 
face became suffused, and quivered. Ma- 
genta — magenta — two from the rails! He 
could make no story of the race such as he 
would read in tomorrow's paper — ^he could 
see nothing but magenta. 

Out of the dip now, and coming fast — 
green still leading — something in violet, 
something in tartan, closing. 

"Wasp's beat!" "The favorite — the 
favorite wins!" "Deerstalker — Deerstalker 
wins!" "What's that in pink on the rails?" 

It was his in pink on the rails! Behind 
him a man went suddenly mad. 

"Deerstalker — Come on with 'im, Stee! 
Deerstalker '11 win — ^Deerstalker !" 



177 



Jimmy sputtered venomously: "Will 'e? 
Will 'e?" 

Deerstalker and his own out from the 
rest — opposite the Cheap Ring — neck and 
neck — Docker riding like a demon. 

"Deerstalker! Deerstalker!" "Calliope 
wins! She wins!" 

His horse! They flashed past — fifty yards 
to go, and not a head between 'cm ! 

"Deerstalker! Deerstalker!" "Calliope!" 

He saw his mare shoot out — she'd won! 

With a little queer sound he squirmed and 
wriggled on to the stairs. No thoughts while 
he squeezed, and slid, and hurried — only 
emotion — out of the Ring, away to the pad- 
dock. His horse! 

Docker had weighed in when he reached 
the mare. All right! He passed with a grin. 
Jimmy turned almost into the body of 
Polman standing like an image. 

"Well, Mr. Shrewin," he said to nobody, 
"she's won." 

"Damn you!" thought Jimmy. "Damn 
the lot of you!" And he went up to his 
mare. Quivering, streaked with sweat, im- 
patient of the gathering crowd, she showed 
the whites of her eyes when he put his 
hand up to her nose. 

"Good girl!" he said, and watched her 
led away. 

"Gawd! I want a drink!" he thought. 

Gingerly, keeping a sharp lookout for 
Pulcher, he returned to the stand to get it, 
and to draw his hundred. But up there by 
the stairs the discreet fellow was no more. 
On the ticket was the name O. H. Jones, 
and nothing else. Jimmy Shrewin had been 
welshed! He went down at last in a hot 
temper. At the bottom of the staircase stood 
George Pulcher. The big man's face was 
crimson, his eyes ominous. He blocked 
Jimmy into a corner. 



178 



John Galsworthy 



"Ah!" he said. 'Tou httle crow! What 
the 'ell made you speak to Docker?" 

Jimmy grinned. Some new body within 
him stood there defiant. "She's my 'orse," 
he said. 

"You Gawd-forsaken rat! If I 'ad you in 
a quiet spot I'd shake the life out of you!" 

Jimmy stared up, his little spindle legs 
apart, like a cock sparrow confronting an 
offended pigeon. 

"Go 'ome," he said, "George Pulcher, 
and get your mother to mend your socks. 
You don't know 'ow! Thought I wasn't a 
man, did you? Well, now, you damn well 
know I am. Keep off my 'orse in future." 

Crimson rushed up on crimson in 
Pulcher's face; he raised his heavy fists. 
Jimmy stood, unmoving, his little hands 
in his bellcoat pockets, his withered face 
upraised. The big man gulped as if swal- 
lowing back the tide of blood; his fists 
edged forward and then — dropped. 

"That's better," said Jimmy. "Hit one of 
your own size." 

Emitting a deep growl, George Pulcher 
walked away. 



"Two to one on the field — ^I'll back the 
field. Two to one on the field." "Threes 
Snowdrift — Fours Iron Dock." 

Jimmy stood a moment mechanically 
listening to the music of his life; then, 
edging out, he took a fly and was driven 
to the station. 

All the way up to town he sat chewing 
his cheroot with the glow of drink inside 
him, thinking of that finish, and of how 
he had stood up to George Pulcher. For a 
whole day he was lost in London, but 
Friday saw him once more at his seat of 
custom in the Corn. 

Not having laid against his horse, he had 
had a good race in spite of everything; yet, 
the following week, uncertain into what 
further quagmires of quixotry she might 
lead him, he sold Calliope. 

But for years, betting upon horses that 
he never saw, underground like a rat, yet 
never again so accessible to the kicks of 
fortune, or so prone before the shafts of 
superiority, he would think of the Downs 
with the blinkin' larks singin', and talk of 
how once he — ^had a horse. 



JAMES BOYD (1888- ) 



A Story of a Race in Revolutionary Times 



from DRUMS 



James Boyd, in Drums, gives us a tremendously vivid picture not only 
of the actual running of the race and the feelings of his hero who, 
so unexpectedly , finds himself riding in it but also of the general set- 
up, in those days, of such a'^airs, 'Notice that there is no formal starter 
with a gun, only a friend who waves a white handkerchief and calls 
''Gol" The only betting seems to be either between friends, or by a man 
who stands up on a chair and calls his bids. 

Also, the recce is run in three heats with no objection, apparently, to 
the changing of ]oc\eys between heats, The heats are four miles each so 
that the horses had to run twelve miles in all, something of a test indeed! 
When one compares the easy informality, the enjoyment that everyone 
concerned seemed to get out of the affair, one regrets that the professionals 
of the present day have superseded the amateurs of this earlier period. 



Pnj^he country neighbors and farmers recognition. He passed out a glass of spirits 

were coming in. Inside the tavern automatically. "Coming, sir, coming!" he 

a press of people seemed to bulge ^ried in despairing tones and plunged back 

the very windows, and still others trickled j^^^ ^j^^ ^^^.^^ tap-room. 

slowly in the door, clawing and elbowing n^i r i 11 t 1 » 

/ ,, •11111 1 The hery rum brought heat to Johnny s 

good-naturedly; trickled slowly out, smack- . ' , -n r 1 ' 1 

,. , . . , T 1 t- • J spine, a look around still further warmed 

ing lips, cracking jokes. Johnny hurried , . ' . 1 • 1 • 1 1 . r • n 

1 ^ ^1 , .1 him. Here m high-pitched, comic, friendly 

round to the pantry window. & r ? > 7 

"Hornblower, a glass of spirits, for Gad's ^^^od the pick of the Provmce crowded 

sake! I feel like I had a chill." in for fellowship and sport. They swarmed 

Mr. Hornblower's distracted face shot in- the street and sidewalk, overflowed into 

to view, stared at Johnny, almost without gardens, on doorsteps. Their carrioles and 

179 



i8o James 

chaises lined the footpath, their horses were 
tied to every tree. 

They parted slowly as Sir Nat, perched 
high on a yellow dogcart, drove up to the 
tavern. His negro boy took the horse's 
head. Sir Nat, holding whip and reins in 
his right hand, climbed down. He laid the 
whip across the seat; he looped the reins 
through the terrets; he removed his tan 
box-cloth coat witli the grave preoccupa- 
tion of a Royal Post driver. The crowd 
watched his careful ritual with good-na- 
tured grins. 

"How's Peregrine.?" they said. 

"Fit." 

"Huzzah! You've got to beat that 
Virginia horse!" 

"Right. Oh, there's Gerrould now." 

The tall, grave Virginian came through 
the crowd. 

"Hullo, Gerrould. Missed you last night. 
Comus fit.?" 

"Ah, Dukinfield. My chaise broke down. 
Yes, sir, my horse is ready to run. How is 
Peregrine.?" 

"Fit. Thanks." 

Mr. Gerrould glanced about him im- 
portantly and clasped Sir Nat's hand. 

"Well, then, sir, may the best horse win!" 

"Right," answered Sir Nat, overcome by 
the somewhat theatrical tableau. "Bitters.? 
No.? Well, then, let's get for'ard. You 
know young Fraser.?" 

"I think, sir, I recollect the pleasure." 

"Come along, Bantam; should be at the 
course." 

Dubiously eyeing the dappled March sky, 
Sir Nat put on his box-cloth coat, buttoned 
the large mother-of-pearl buttons, took up 
whip and reins and mounted. Taking the 
seat beside him, Johnny focused every 
faculty on the effort to appear at ease and 
by no means elated. 



Boyd 

"Let go," said Sir Nat to the negro. 
"Take care yourself!" He laid an accurate 
lash along the bright flank. The dog-cart 
shot ahead. The little negro made a white- 
eyed dive for the tail-gate, hoisted himself 
aboard, legs wildly dangling. All down the 
street the crowd scattered and raised a 
humorous cheer. 

The tide of sportsmen was already setting 
strong for the racecourse. They passed 
knots of workmen trudging along, hand- 
kerchiefs stuffed into stocks, smoking 
stolid pipes, 'prentice lads who whistled 
through their teeth and winked, pig-tailed 
seamen, for the most part drunk and bel- 
lowing. Farmers and small planters 
bumped along on trace-marked plough- 
horses. Barefoot negroes moved smoothly 
single file, each with his ticket of leave 
pinned to his breast; they pulled caps, 
ducked heads, grinned. "Looky, nigger. 
Heah come de golden chariot!" A deep- 
toned giggle and a high "Hyah! hyah!" 
ran down the line. A country chaise, mud- 
spattered, bristled with home-made female 
finery and bold untutored country glances. 
Two gutter-snipes from town paddled 
doggedly through the dust, dragging a 
weeping sister and a reluctant cur. A straw- 
filled farmer's wagon gave them a row of 
ruddy, inarticulate grins. 

Captain Tennant, rigid in a hired fly, 
turned a furious eye on them as they 
scraped his hub, recognized them, took 
their dust with an almost benign salute. 

"Good luck, young gentlemen!" they 
heard him call. 

"Good luck. Sir Nat!" said a couple of 
back-country sportsmen on nervous, raw- 
boned colts. "We're a-backin' you, boy!" 
The foot people turned at the rattle of hubs, 
nodded bonnets, raised cocked hats, sticks, 
high-crowned buckled hats, and smiled. 



Drums 



i8i 



"Good luck!" they called. "Good luck! 
You're bound to win. North Carolina 
wins! Huzzah!" 

Ahead in a neat little trap with scarlet 
wheels, Johnny saw Eve Tennant's new 
green capucin beside the stout back of 
Master Hal Cherry. 

"Silly fat boy," said Sir Nat. "Give him 
the go-by, what?" He cut in around them 
dexterously. 

"Confound you!" cried Master Hal, jerk- 
ing the reins up under his chin. "Do you 
know what you're about?" 

"Yes. How do. Miss Eve?" 

"Sir Nat! Johnny!" She smiled at them 
and laughed at her escort's discomfiture. 

Johnny raised his hat and grinned de- 
lightedly. She had never seemed so charm- 
ing and friendly. The fat boy had never 
seemed so absurd. A sobering thought oc- 
curred to him: girls were peculiar, they 
would inveigle a man into taking them to 
a party and then be the first to laugh if 
someone made a monkey of him. 

They overtook four handsomely dressed 
young Virginians in a traveling carriage. 
"Here comes a rather decent horse," re- 
marked one loftily. Johnny's gorge rose. 
"Hello, Virginia!" he shouted. "Is that 
Comus?" He pointed to the fat old cob 
between their shafts. "No, sir," they an- 
swered, "but I reckon he'd win just as 
easy." 

"I reckon he'd stand as good a chance!" 
He waved derisively. 

Wylie Jones, lying back in his saffron- 
panelled glass coach called to his monkey 
nigger postillions and, with a wave of 
tolerant amusement, allowed them to pass. 

Now the race-course was in sight. The 
first comers already outlined a long oval 
on the greening pasture-lands. 

They found Peregrine under a light blan- 



ket in a clump of young pines. Sir Nat's 
old negro, in a bright yellow waistcoat, 
his Hessian boots freshly shined, waddled 
distractedly to and fro, babbled conflicting 
orders to three darky strappers. 

"De hind leg, Amos, da's what Ah said. 
Sassfrass, bring me de water-bucket. Wher' 
de sponge? You yaller boy, chase off dem 
chilluns!" 

The yellow boy reluctantly approached a 
ring of youngsters. 

"Li'l' white boys, please to go on along. 
De ho'se despise to be looked at." 

"Good horse, Peregrine," said Sir Nat, 
walking up. 

Peregrine seemed not to hear. He 
chucked his long fine head and kept an 
apprehensive eye on the distant bustle and 
confusion. 

"Peregrine!" 

Now his sharp ears tilted, his pointed 
muzzle made a nervous thrust at Sir Nat's 
pocket. Sir Nat brought out a tiny slice 
of carrot. Peregrine's lips closed on it 
swiftly, delicately. He turned away and 
once more fixed his uneasy gaze on the 
course. 

"Nervous," said Sir Nat. "Don't bother 
him. Amos, leave his leg." He unfastened 
the halter shank and walked off, leading the 
bright horse, softly whistling "Rum Pun- 
cheon" in his ear. Johnny waited ; now and 
again he could see the pair through the 
trees and hear Sir Nat's soothing, endless 
refrain. The three black strappers squatted 
on the pine straw, solemn as apes. 

"Ain't he de man now?" said the old 
groom. "He des naturally rock dat ho'se 
to sleep." 

Just beyond, Johnny could see the tall 
black figure of Mr. Gerrould and the scar- 
let blanket of his Comus. As he walked 



1 82 ]am€s 

over, the white jockey stripped the blanket 
and started to rub the chestnut quarters. 

"Stand over, you Comus!" he shouted, 
and struck him with the back of his hand. 
Comus stood over quickly enough, but the 
look in his eye was not agreeable. 

"Ah, Mr. Fraser," said Mr. Gerrould. 
^We are quite ready. You have not seen this 
horse before.?** 

"No, seh. He's a sure 'nough fine-looking 
horse. I certainly like his looks," he added, 
with the mental reservation that he would 
like them better were Comus a little stronger 
in the gaskins and a little more honest in 
the eye. 

Mr. Gerrould received his remark in com- 
placent silence — there was nothing more to 
be said. Johnny moved off toward the 
race-course crowd, which now grew in a 
steady stream and raised an ever-mounting 
din to heaven. Carriages, wagons, carts and 
chaises lined the homestretch. Horses 
munched nose-bags at the hind wheels. The 
crowd buzzed to and fro, formed jams, 
broke up, flowed on again. Here two young 
country boys, stripped to the waist, swnng 
wildly at each other in a shouting circle. 
Beyond, a man in a white box coat and a 
white paper hat stood on a chair intoning, 
"Five to three on Comus! Five to three on 
Comus!" in a beery voice. Beside him a 
pock-marked, ratty man sold tickets. Johnny 
fell over a sailor sleeping soundly with his 
hard leather hat clasped to his chest. He 
stopped, stood wondering how he could get 
him to his feet again. But the crowd, after 
tripping over the sailor, seemed to accept 
him as a feature of the local geography and 
flowed around him on either side. Johnny 
strolled on. 

A dark foreigner in earrings and feath- 
ered cap led a dingy bear. The man's wife 
bent forward beneath a barrel organ, a 



Boyd 

bright silk handkerchief drawn down to her 
tired eyes. On top of the barrel organ a 
monkey shivered and cracked his knuckles. 

Johnny followed them till they halted. 
The barrel organ squeaked. 

"Tilly-lilly-lon-ton!" the man intoned and 
jerked the chain. 

The bear rose up wearily, shufHed slowly, 
lurched from side to side. His coat was 
rubbed and rusty, his powerful forepaws 
hung against his chest in a begging posture, 
his eyes were tired like the woman's. 

Those big paws, sturdy yet helpless, pulled 
at Johnny's heart as, years before, the plead- 
ing hands of the fisher-coon had pulled. He 
turned away. 

The first event, a farmer's race, was being 
called. He went to the ropes where Wylie 
Jones, the starter, was lining up the field. 
Among the dozen half-bred colts he saw 
the bound-boy from Slade's Ordinary, his 
shirt sleeves rolled up to his shoulder, 
astride a hammer-headed ancient blood 
horse who stood motionless except for the 
trembling of his battered knees. 

"Go!" cried Wylie Jones, and dropped his 
handkerchief. The bound-boy's nag got 
away with the rest under a liberal fusillade 
of blows. At die turn, however, Johnny saw 
a cloud of dust, a rolling horse, and the seat 
of the bound-boy's cowhide breeches sailing 
through the air. 

The morning passed with short races for 
local horses. Impromptu matches, got up 
to decide disputes, ended in single combats 
or massed engagements between the parti- 
sans. The constable in his silver chain and 
badge marshalled his deputies and waited 
with nice judgment for the moment when 
it was prudent to intervene. 

Toward two o'clock they fell to on their 
dinners; saddle-bags and hampers were 
spread on the grass, bottles and jugs passed 



from hand to hand. Pastry boys in white 
aprons sold tarts from shallow wooden 
trays, a fat old free-nigger woman peddled 
'lasses candy. 

Johnny strolled slowly to and fro, ex- 
hibiting himself and basking gratefully in 
the blaze of his own magnificence. His 
hands were clasped behind him, his eyes 
were bent on the ground as though ab- 
stracted, overwhelmed by weighty affairs. 
He noted accurately, however, the respect- 
ful glances of many a worthy burgher, and 
not a few feminine glances which, though 
not precisely respectful, were even more 
gratifying. It was a long cry, indeed, from 
the little back-country tadpole in mocca- 
sins to the well-set-up and irreproachably 
turned-out young gentleman who now pa- 
raded the race-course for the edification of 
the Province. Nor was his elegance specious 
in the least degree. Its crowning glory lay 
in the fact that it did no more than repre- 
sent the actuality. He was received as friend 
and familiar by the unassailable few whose 
lofty position looked up to no man — ^by 
Captain Tennant, by Wylie Jones and, espe- 
cially gratifying on this day of the great 
race, by Sir Nat. 

At this point in his pleasing contempla- 
tion of himself, his thoughts shot off 
abruptly to Peregrine, walking lightly up 
and down among the pines, cocking his ears 
and waiting. A swift clutch of insupportable 
excitement, of chill apprehension, closed 
on his heart, the hour for the race was almost 
here. He turned clammy, empty, almost 
sick. If he did not do something his mind 
would turn blank, or he would froth and 
fall down in a fit. 

He saw Eve perched on Master Cherry's 
trap and wandered over. 

"Why, sir!" she cried down to him, "you 
look quite gloomy." 



Drums 183 

"Fact is, ma'am, I'm nervous about this 



race. 

"Isn't it exciting!" she said without con- 
viction. "But Peregrine will win, won't 
he?" 

"I hope so," he answered listlessly. There 
was no use trying to tell the things he 
felt. 

"Have some tucker?" Master Cherry 
mumbled from the corner of a stuffed 
mouth. 

Johnny nibbled at a large fish sandwich 
mechanically. The bread, the curry and the 
shredded fish stuck miserably in his throat, 
went down with hideous gulpings, lay sod- 
den on his chest. 

Captain Tennant came up, bristling with 
excitement and indignation. 

"Hello, young Fraser! Where's Sir Nat — 
with the horse ? Good. We must beat these 
Virginia chaps — by Jove, we must! One of 
them just had the dashed impudence to 
offer me five to two against Peregrine!" 

"Yes, seh. Virginians certainly are over- 
weening." 

"Infernally overweening, sir. I told the 
young man that I would take nothing but 
even money and laid him fifteen guineas." 
He puffed angrily. "Rather a large order 
on my Collector's pay, but hang me, I 
won't stand impudence." 

At this moment a fat hand clasped 
Johnny's, a second hand, covered with 
rings, closed over it. 

"Well, suh, young Master Fraser, and how 
do we fine ou'selves today?" 

Mr. Jenney, the pack-horse man, very 
much frilled and wigged, without, however, 
great attention either to good taste or 
cleanliness, clung to Johnny's hand and 
pressed it to his bosom. His bows included 
Eve, Captain Tennant, and Master Cherry. 



184 James 

He had evidently forgotten the incident of 
the fur tippet. 

"Master Fraser," he explained to the com- 
pany, "is the son of a ve'y dear frien' of 
mine, the gallant and cultivated Mr. Fraser, 
of Little River. Our relationship is pe- 
culiarly close, Mrs. Fraser being a Moore, 
of Wilmington, and my late wife"— he 
raised his eyes to heaven — "deceased March 
9, 1764, having been a ToUifer and related 
tlirough the Desaussures to the Moores." 

"Did Mr. Arrocks come with you V asked 
Johnny hurriedly. 

"There he stands," said Mr. Jenney, point- 
ing into the crowd, "the salt of the earth, 
the positive salt of the earth.'* 

Johnny led Mr. Jenney away to where 
the grim face of Mr. Arrocks cast its satur- 
nine eye on the throngs below. Mr. Arrocks 
tilted his long beak vertically as a saluta- 
tion, then tilted it horizontally with a 
meaning glance to indicate that he desired 
a private interview. Disengaging his hand 
from Mr. Jenney's, Johnny stepped aside. 

"Who's to ride Dukinfield's horse.?" he 
said in a hoarse stage whisper. 

"Mr. Heywood, of Black River." 

Mr. Arrocks shook his head lugubriously. 
In pantomime he poured out a monumen- 
tal drink, drank it and simulated stupor. 
He shook his head again and walked away. 

So Mr. Heywood, then, had got drunk 
the night before the race? He hurried to 
Sir Nat with the news. 

"Nat, has Mr. Heywood come?" 

Sir Nat shifted the straw in his mouth. 

"Yes," he replied without enthusiasm. 

"Is he all right?" 

"Seedy. Have to do, though. Too late 
now — " He bit the straw in two and turned 
to his horse. 

"I just saw a fellow I knew; he told me 
he'd drunk himself stiff last night." 



Boyd 

"Yes, yes, I know," Sir Nat shook his 
head — "too late now." 

Johnny strode moodily up and down be- 
fore the little group who had gathered to 
watch Peregrine saddled. He bowed his 
head, the picture of a high-minded sports- 
man deploring the less admirable qualities 
of others. And indeed, beneath this panto- 
mime, he was truly outraged. To be picked 
to ride Peregrine and then get drunk the 
night before — such sacrilege would bring 
a judgment from God. 

An expectant hush had fallen on the race 
crowd, their restless movement ceased; they 
lined up at the track. 

Looking quite alert and fit, Heywood 
appeared on the other side of Peregrine. He 
took a pull at the girths, stripped off his 
coat, gave Sir Nat his thin-lipped grin 
across the saddle. 

"Never fear, Nat, I'll bring him home 
first!" His speech was hearty, confident, 
but Johnny noticed that his face, around 
the sharp mouth, was gray. 

"Listen!" said Sir Nat. "Should win the 
first heat. But the second and third heats — " 
He whispered to him. 

Heywood pulled back the sleeves of his 
yellow silk jacket and nodded impatiently. 
"Here, nigger, a leg up!" The rug was 
slipped off Peregrine's loins and Heywood 
vaulted into the light racing saddle. "Nig- 
ger, hold my iron— not that way, damn 
you!" He got his feet home in the stirrups, 
took a light feel of the reins; horse and 
rider moved off quietly for the starting-post. 
Sir Nat trudged alongside, softly whistling. 
Already the scarlet jacket of Mr. Gerrould's 
jockey could be seen above the heads of 
the crowd. 

Forgetful now of dignity,, of earthly 
pomp and vanity, Johnny trotted behind 
Peregrine's bay quarters with the three 



strappers and the old groom. The crowd 
gave way, closed in behind. They were at 
the post. It seemed impossible that the event 
had arrived. He was fighting through the 
crowd — he would be too late. He heard 
an angry voice, "What in the nation!" And 
another, "Let him through. It's Sir Nat's 
friend." Then he was on the ropes. He saw 
a strange gentleman standing with a raised 
flag; he saw Comus lay back an ear, whirl, 
come up to the line; he saw Peregrine, 
steady enough and ready except for a hint 
of unfathomed apprehension in his eye. 

The flag went down with a shout of 
"Go!" They broke away in a scurry, 
straightened out side by side down the roar- 
ing lane. They disappeared around the turn; 
the roar of the crowd sank to a busy mur- 
mur. Standing on tiptoe, Johnny could just 
see the scarlet jacket and the yellov/ moving 
above the packed heads. Side by side they 
glided along, like two small colored disks 
drawn on strings. At the end of the back 
stretch they vanished. 

Now they were coming. A cheer ran 
down the line with the beat of their hoofs. 
They passed by, shoulder to shoulder, both 
horses settled into the long, steady gallop 
of the four-mile test. 

The rest seemed like a dream to Johnny. 
Horses and riders now glided, two spots 
in the distance, now drummed past in a 
shower of turf clods. He heard the people 
shouting, "Last mile! Peregrine! Go it. 
Peregrine! Last mile!" He must see! He 
must see! 

He was backing furiously through the 
press of bodies, he was frantically climbing 
an over-loaded chaise. A hand reached down 
and hoisted him. 

The two horses, on the back stretch, 
were level just the same. But as they reached 
the turn a scarlet arm rose and fell. The 



Drums 185 

chestnut horse jumped forward, made his 
drive for home. The crowd gave a whis- 
pered groan. Then Peregrine strode out as 
well; he rounded into the stretch with his 
head along the other's saddle-girth. Johnny 
saw the bay ears flash forward, the bay 
neck stretch out. He knew the meaning. The 
horse was going to make his dash. Sit still, 
Heywood, sit still! But just then Hey- 
wood's whip swung fiercely back, Peregrine 
swerved, checked his stride, lost half a 
length, a length, came forward under the 
whip, made a desperate run, passed the 
judges a head and neck behind. 

Johnny fumbled for his handkerchief. He 
was going to cry. The beautiful bay horse 
whom he had ridden so often, the rogueish, 
gallant horse, who knew just when and how 
to gather himself for one of his tremendous 
bursts, was beaten. He blew his nose. Be- 
low him a little knot of Virginia supporters 
were throwing their hats aloft and cheer- 
ing in the heart of the silent throng. The 
arm which held him to the hub of the chaise 
tightened. Mr. Teague Battle stared at the 
huzzaing young bloods. 

"I'd give my hide," he said, "to send those 
young scoundrels home with their tails be- 
tween their legs." 

Here came Peregrine under his sheet, his 
sweat-blackened neck hanging low. Sir Nat 
beside him, pale and troubled, was casting 
anxious glances around. 

"Bantam," he said in a low voice, "come 
down!" 

They walked silently back to the clump 
of pines. Silently the crowd gave \vay for 
them. 

They watched the poor old groom spong- 
ing out Peregrine's nostrils, and crying 
distractedly into the water bucket. 

"Heywood," Sir Nat said gravely, "won't 
do." 



i86 James 

"I know, Nat," Johnny mumbled, "but 
thcy's no one else. If only you were light 
enough. Tell him not to use the whip. O 
my, O my! The horse was all fixed to run." 

Sir Nat withdrew a pine needle from his 
mouth — "You ride." 

The world turned slowly upside down, 
burst into a million fragments which show- 
ered on Johnny's head. 

"What!" he heard himself say. 

"Boy, bring me those boots. Bantam, sit 
down." 

''But, Nat, I've never ridden a race." 

"Know horse — horse knows you. Sit still 
— that's all — speak to him." 

Sir Nat was tugging the boots on Johnny's 
trembling legs and puffing. 

Heywood came up, a plaster of mud 
across his lean jaw. 

"Heywood, give Bantam your jacket." 

"What!" 

"Put this boy up — only chance." 

He^^wood stripped his jacket and threw 
it on the ground. "God's teeth!" he said. 
"You don't expect me to make a good horse 
out of a bad one, do you.^^" He walked 
away. 

Now the jacket was on over Johnny's 
rufHed shirt, now he was hoisted, numb 
and powerless, into the saddle. By Zooks! 
He couldn't do it! 

But with the familiar feel of the horse 
between his knees the strength flowed back 
in him. He took up on the reins. Sir Nat's 
light hand closed on his thigh. 

"Good chap!" he said. "Sit still — speak to 
him." 

He was at the starting post. He heard the 
crowd's murmur of surprise. A voice cried, 
"Ride him, youngster!" "Ride him — ^ride 
him!" they roared. 

The flag went down — he closed his knees 
and shot away. As the ranks of faces and 



Boyd 

waving hats flew past, his heart rose up 
inside him. He took a breath. "Good horse!" 
he whispered. 

Now they were galloping, galloping 
through the empty back stretch, through 
the thundering lane, and he was riding, 
riding, sitting steady in the saddle, keeping 
an even feeling on the bit. Back stretch and 
lane, back stretch and lane wheeled by in 
dizzy procession. 

He heard the cry, "Last mile!" The jockey 
beside him touched the chestnut horse. 
Comus quickened stride and drew away — 
half a length, a length, then two. "Ride 
him! Ride him!" the crowd implored. He 
chewed on his tongue, sat still. 

He trailed the other around the back 
stretch, squinting his eyes against the flying 
sods. At the turn the jockey grinned back 
at him over his shoulder. Above the tumult 
he heard Sir Nat's voice, "Now!" 

He closed his legs, leaned forward for 
the coming shock. But the bay horse hung 
back, thinking of the whip. "Peregrine!" 
he called. "Peregrine!" 

An ear twirled, the reins pulled sharply 
tight, Peregrine reached for his bit. The 
crowd shot past in a gray mist; the scarlet 
jacket was coming back to him. He saw it 
whipping. "Now sit steady!" he muttered. 

As they rounded into the homestretch, 
the saddle beneath him again thrust for- 
ward. By Zooks, he didn't know there was 
such speed! 

In one tremendous instant the chestnut 
horse fell rapidly behind him. He finished 
going away. 

At the first pull Peregrine came in to him 
and stopped. The crowd was running down 
the track, swarming around him. Hats, 
sticks, greatcoats were in the air. "That's 
a-ridin', boy! That's a-ridin'!" "Do it again 
now, son!" "Carolina wins!" 



Sir Nat fought through the press. Johnny 
slipped off weakly into his arms. A hun- 
dred hands shook his, reached for him, 
patted him as they made their way back 
to the little clump of trees. 

"Listen, Bantam!" Sir Nat jerked a thumb 
toward Comus. "Won't be beat so easy 
next time. Start racin' third mile, or you 
won't see him again." He gazed at Pere- 
grine's heaving flanks. "Hold him together," 
he said; "tired." 

Again in the mist and tumult of a dream, 
Johnny was off the score beside the chest- 
nut. He hugged the rail and waited, sick 
and anxious, for Peregrine now was not 
galloping so strong. They made two rounds 
together, the other horse just a neck and 
head behind. Then from the corner of his 
eye he saw the jockey raise his whip. He 
closed his legs and drew away. 

He was galloping into the fourth mile 
now amid the shrieks of Bedlam. "Caro- 
lina! Carolina! Peregrine!" The cursed 
fools! Couldn't they see the horse was 
fading fast, his head nodding, his weight 
all on the bit? 

On the next turn he heard the whip be- 
hind; the chestnut muzzle crept up to his 
knee. He shoved his horse along as fast as 
he dared, but again the whip came down; 
the chestnut muzzle stayed there. 

Cursing and whipping like a madman, 
the scarlet jockey drew up on the turn, 
hung knee to knee, passed him by. A hun- 
dred yards to go and no more running in 



Drums 187 

his beaten horse, though the chestnut was 
just ahead and, whip as the rider might, 
could not draw away. Johnny took up on 
the reins. "Go it, good horse!" he shouted 
thickly. He closed his numb legs; the 
horse's head came up; he felt his hocks 
come under; with a last uncertain burst, 
he drew up to the chestnut, fell back, 
crawled up, hung forever, it seemed, in a 
black roaring cavern, then edged an inch 
ahead. 

Peregrine pulled up, stumbling; stood 
there, legs outspread, muzzle hanging low. 
Johnny leaned forward and laid his face 
on the drooping neck. Then the crowd was 
on them. He was pulled from the saddle, 
he was rocking aloft on a dozen shoulders. 
A thousand faces turned up to him, shouted. 
Men danced, leaped, threw arms about 
each other, reached up frantic hands. Sir 
Nat's pink face was rocking above the crowd 
as well. They drifted slowly together, were 
hoisted together to the seat of a chaise. 
The people cheered and cheered again, then 
fell silent. "Speech! Speech!" they cried. Sir 
Nat, quite crimson, cleared his throat, 
touched Johnny's shoulder. 

"Good chap!" 

"Huzzah!" they howled. 

He pointed a stubby finger to where the 
old groom, laughing, crying, stumbling over 
his Hessian boots, was leading Peregrine 



away. 
"Good horse!" he said. 



ROBERT FROST 



The Runaway 



from COLLECTED POEMS 



This poem is almost the only thing to be found on the Morgan horse, and 
one of the very few poems about the horse in freedom. Written for chil- 
dren, the adult reader sees in it his own childhood's desire to brea\ the 
home ties a?id explore distant horizons. 



Once, when the snow of the year was beginning to fall, 

We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, "Whose colt?" 

A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall. 

The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head 

And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt. 

We heard the miniature thunder where he fled, 

And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and gray, 

Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes. 

"I think the little fellow's afraid of the snow. 

He isn't winter-broken. It isn't play 

With the little fellow at all. He's running away. 

I doubt if even his mother could tell him, *Sakes, 

It's only weather.' He'd think she didn't know. 

Where is his mother? He can't be out alone.'* 

And now he comes again with a clatter of stone 

And mounts the wall again with whited eyes 

And all his tail that isn't hair up straight. 

He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies. 

"Whoever it is that leaves him out so late, 

When other creatures have gone to stall and bin> 

Ought to be told to come and take him in." 



isa 



DOROTHEA DONN BYRNE (contemporary) 



The Turn of the Wheel 



Here is a beautifully written story about a side of Irish life which is very 
real, its poverty, Mrs, Donn Byrne, as does her husband, writes of the 
gypsies and their way with horses. 




orn in open field on a grim March 
day, the world seemed a cold and 
bitter place to him. The old, gray 
wintry grass was hard to his little' feet. 
The sea pounded against the wall and 
threw jets of icy spray over him and his 
mother, who was too tired and too dazed 
with the bearing of him — ^for he was a huge, 
sturdy colt, — to seek shelter for herself and 
her son. She stood there, her sides heaving, 
lip hanging, rain, sweat and sea water in 
her coat, and round her stumbled the new- 
born colt, irritable and insatiate. 

Oh, he was so cold, the little fellow, and 
his mother so unsatisfactory. He had just 
managed to stagger to his feet. The world 
was gaunt, and bare, and wide. Little, slant- 
ing needles of rain pricked him. The big 
gray sea tried to climb at him over the 
field wall. He was afraid of all the ugly, 
sad noises about him. He whimpered and 
squeezed himself against his mother's legs, 
and she began to take pity on him, licking 
him and sheltering him with her body as 
best she could. Now and then, she turned 
anxiously to where the towers of Coolveen 



jutted out of the fog, and sent out a call 
for help. 

While all this was going on in the nine- 
acre field by the sea, Captain the Honor- 
able Desmond O'Deasy was sitting in an 
incredibly dirty, dusty oflSce in Ballyrack 
town, trying to arrive at some amenable 
understanding with his creditors. Hard go- 
ing he was finding it, for what they wanted 
was spot cash, and what he wanted was 
time. He hadn't the cash nor they, appar- 
ently, the time. Not that time would have 
done him much good, for the Honorable 
O'Deasy was flat broke, and mouths that 
he had fed many's the time when their 
owners were children, were set in thin, hard 
lines against him. That is, when they 
weren't opened in curses and threats. 

He had left the castle at seven o'clock 
that morning, driving his team of white 
Arab ponies — the only valuable possession 
left to him — hitched to a light American 
buggy. 

"Well, Minnie," he said to his old house- 
keeper, as she handed him a rose for his 
buttonhole and he set his tweed hat with a 



189 



190 Dorothea 

jaunty twitch to one side, "I'm off to have 
a rap at Fortune gate." 

"Let you give it a kick for me, your 
honor," repHed Minnie. 

The boy handed him the reins and care- 
fully wrapped the rug about his knees and, 
widi a gay flick of the whip, he was off. A 
grand turnout, gentleman and horses, 
thought Minnie Murphy as she watched that 
straight back and the twinkling wheels 
disappear down the daffodil-fringed ave- 
nue. "A grand sight surely," she said to 
herself, and then, sighing, "Sure it's a mur- 
dering shame." However, there was work 
to be done, and because she was sick and 
sore at heart, she hustled Bat and the stable 
boys like a slave driver, slashing and bang- 
ing at everything, beating the worn carpets 
to a froth of dust, and stopping to let it 
settle again w^hile she told her minions what 
she thought of them. 

It was nearly luncheon time when she 
heard the sound of galloping horses and 
saw the white team come tearing back 
up the avenue, her master standing up in 
the buggy, cracking his whip like a mad- 
man and shouting them on. Round by the 
front entrance he swerved, circling round 
the back way to the stable yard and, close 
on his heels, Minnie spied the red wheels 
of a jaunting car. 

"We're destroyed!" said Minnie. "Quick, 
for your life, Bat! The stable gates!" 

And just as the ponies clattered onto the 
cobblestones of the yard, the big wooden 
gates clashed to, and the heavy wooden 
crossbeam fell, shutting out the fastest side 
car in Ballyrack, while two officers of the 
law clamored and scratched outside, waving 
red-sealed documents and shouting venge- 
ance. 

"That'll hold them," said Minnie, with 
a grin "Are you dead, your honor .^" 

"Pretty near," said the captain, climbing 



Donn Byrne 

down and throwing the reins to the waiting 
boy. "Just got to ground in time. They'll 
get the ponies yet, Minnie." 

"Divil a get, your honor. Hell's cure to 
them! May they never — " 

"Never mind, Minnie. Have you a kettle 

boiling ? I could do with a cup of tea 

You there, Bat; walk those ponies round a 
bit." 

He followed Minnie into her cottage, 
where she busied herself with kettle and 
teapot, muttering to herself as she slashed 
at the big loaf of Bastable bread, digging 
at it as if at the throat of her enemies: 
"Coursed him like a hare, they did — ^him 
that reared and supported them!" 

Desmond O'Deasy sat down heavily on 
the settle by the turf fire and sipped the 
black, rancid tea gratefully. Nine miles 
the bailiffs had chased him, but now that he 
was inside his own gates he was safe for 
the moment. They had ambushed him on 
the high road. Out of a boreen the side 
car had come rattling, while the big, fright- 
ened horse had nearly crashed into his turn- 
out. It was no use stopping to argue. He had 
proved the futility of that in his three hours 
in Ballyrack. So he shook up his reins and 
ran like hell for cover. 

"I doubt but we'll have to keep the ponies 
in the dairy after this, Minnie," he said. 

"I'll take them two into the kitchen here 
with pleasure. Sure 'tis clean as Christians 
they are, and far pleasanter companions. Let 
you not worry, my poor gentleman, but 
drink your tea. We'll find ways to circum- 
vage them." 

"I wonder if it would occur to Riordan 
and the other to go down to the nine acre," 
said Desmond. "What have we got in the 
field, Minnie?" 

"Sure nothing but the old cow that's as 
dry as a weasel, and Kitty, just on her time. 
They'd never be bothered with that one." 



The Turn 

"My God ! I forgot the poor old girl with 
all the trouble Tve had today. Has anyone 
been down to look at her?" 

"Not one moment have I had since day- 
break, your honor, what with those dirty 
whelps of servants walking out and leaving 
the castle in the state it's in." 

"Never mind that now. Go round by the 
garden and, if those fellows have gone, take 
a look at the mare." 

"They're away all right, sir," broke in 
Bat. "You never heard such language down 
the avenue." 

"Get on with Minnie, then." 

Left alone, he slumped on the settle and 
buried his face in his hands. He was a fine 
figure of a man, aged before his time with 
the nagging worry. When his father had 
died, Desmond left the swagger cavalry 
regiment to which he belonged, and brought 
his motherless son home with him to carry 
on the old place. He was full of enthusiasm 
and ne^ ideas, thinking modern methods 
would bring back former grandeurs. But 
his enthusiasm and his ideals had crashed 
on the rock of Irish apathy, and his plans 
had failed. He wasn't the man to fight the 
growing depression, the lowered standard 
of the landlord, the laws that were well 
enough in the country where they were 
made, but useless applied to the mentality 
of his countrymen. However, he had man- 
aged to keep Shane, his boy, at a decent 
school and get him into his own regiment, 
but now he was all alone at Coolveen, and 
the circle had nearly closed about him. The 
mare, Kitty, belonged to Shane, who had 
spent his twenty-first birthday money send- 
ing her to the best stallion in the south. His 
father had tried to stop him, suggesting it 
would be kinder to shoot the old lady than 
start breeding her at her time of life. 

"She won't let us down," Shane replied. 
"She has grand blood in her, and will give 



of the Wheel 191 

us a foal that will change all our fortunes, 
you'll see." 

"Well, it's your money, Shane, my lad. I 
would like to see a young one of Kitty's 
about the place." 

The boy had gone off to India with his 
regiment and things had gone from bad 
to worse that year. "Why," thought Des- 
mond, "Did I ever stay in this cruel-hearted 
country and try to make a go of it ? I could 
be sitting blinking at the sun on the Riviera 
with the rest of the old fogies, with never 
a care in the world, save a few francs 
dropped at baccarat or trente et quarante. 
Not that I could have stood that life long. 
. . . It's funny how hard people's faces seem 
when you have no money. It's funny how 
they have that look as if a veil came down 
over their eyes. Even those from whom yoii 
are expecting nothing. Gad, it's a bloody 
world, all right!" 

" 'Tis there, your honor!" Minnie came 
panting back. "'Tis there!" 

"What's there, woman .^ More trouble?" 

"The grandest young foaleen, a coult. 
I'm thinking, though, it's killed the old 
mare. She looks terrible poor in herself." 

"Shut up, and get a big pot of water on 
the fire. I'll murder Riordan and his lot, if 
we lose Kitty." 

Down the nine-acre field they scurried — 
Desmond, Minnie, the boys — and dogs 
barking round them. Kitty saw them com- 
ing and roused herself. She threw up her 
head and gave what sounded very like a 
cheer, as if to say she had done her best 
Minnie busied herself about the foal, with 
murmurs and grunts of delight, but Des- 
mond O'Deasy threw his arms around the 
old mare's neck. 

" 'Tis lovely, Kitty dear," he said. " 'Tis 
beautiful! The finest ever! Well played, old 
sweetheart." 

Old Kitty recovered, and rejoiced in her 



192 Dorothea 

fine young son. He was an ugly chap, im- 
mensely powerful, but gangly and long- 
backed; a dark bay in color, with a white- 
splashed face and one white forefoot. The 
sort of horse that might be anything or 
nothing. He grew to an enormous size. The 
farmers and serving men who played cards 
of a Sunday afternoon in the corner of the 
nine acre used to shake their heads over 
him. 

" 'Tisn't for beauty Mr. Shane will get 
his price for him. 'Tis due for the baker's 
cart that one will be, I'm thinking," they 
said. But his mother thought he was beau- 
tiful, and for two happy years she took 
her ease in the field by the sea, and gam- 
boled, and carried on like a colt herself. 
Whatever was lacking in the castle larder, 
there was nothing lacking for this pair. 
Warm milk and white oats and sweet hay 
the winter long, a good bed at night, and 
divil a care in the world. 

Then, one fine spring morning when 
the sea was at its bluest and the birds were 
singing so that you couldn't hear your 
ears, old Kitty lay down in the daisy- 
sprinkled grass and got up no more. 

Strangely enough, this happened at the 
same hour and moment when Minnie Mur- 
phy, with her apron over her head and her 
eyes worn with crying, was pulling down 
the blinds in Desmond O'Deasy's bedroom 
and shutting out the gay and pleasant sun- 
shine that has nothing to do with those 
who have gone away for good. 

Andiamo, the colt, finding his mother did 
not get up, tried kicking her gently, but 
nothing happened. Frightened, he put his 
head in the air and ran screaming round 
the field. He leaped the sea wall and, land- 
ing on the hard sand of the beach, galloped 
away like a mad thing. It was then that 
Michael Riordan, who was picnicking on 



Donn Byrne 

the beach with his wife and children — ^for 
even bailiffs have these human appurte- 
nances — saw him. 

"Be the hokey, will you look at that one V^ 
said Riordan. "The ugly schamer, he has 
the divil in his heels." 

The auction at Coolveen was in full 
swing. Strawfilled, manure-scented brogues, 
cheap, high-heeled paper shoes of towns- 
folk, stout buttoned boots of farm wives, 
dirty bare feet of little children, traniped 
in and out of the great oaken doors and 
narrow French windows, pushing aside the 
fragile tapestries, crushing the forget-me- 
nots and tulips in the terrace garden. Whis- 
perings, exclamations, curiosity — curiosity 
because here was the break-up of a great 
house; because feet like these never got be- 
yond the kitchen door of such places save 
on days like the present one — days of reck- 
oning. 

Shane O'Deasy, the heir, was away in 
India with his regiment and he had in- 
structed everything to be sold and cleared 
away on his father's death. The sole relics 
of old times were Bat, the stable boy, and 
poor Minnie, overcome with grief and gran- 
deur in her heavy mourning, and full of 
contempt for what she called "the scruff 
of Ballyrack." 

There was pitifully little to sell. A few 
bits of old silver, of Waterford glass, fragile, 
mended furniture, polo sticks and fishing 
rods, regimental photographs and trophies. 
Doherty, the auctioneer, was soon finished 
with the house, and led his following to 
the stable yard, where broken farm imple- 
ments, carts, ancient harness and saddlery 
were heaped in confusion. A solitary cow, 
a couple of lugubrious donkeys and goats 
were huddled in one corner. Hens ran 
squawking under everybody's feet. Pigeons 
cooed from the lofts and overhead, the rooks 



The Turn 

made noisy disturbance. In the center was 
a small cinder track where Bat, the stable 
boy, was carefully leading Andiamo around. 
The colt was fractious, and aimed out kicks 
right and left. 

The auctioneer planted his overturned 
barrel in front of Minnie's cottage. 

"Here you boy!" he called. "Shove that 
horse in the stable before he kicks the 

daylights out of somebody Well, now, 

ladies and gentlemen, we have here — " And 
he paused and peered round the yard over 
his specs. "What the hell have we here any- 
how?" The crowd laughed. "Order, order, 
ladies and gents, please!" — and he thumped 
with his mallet on the barrel top. "As I was 
going to say, we have here the contents of 
this valuable stable." More jeers from the 

crowd. "Now, now, no nonsense, please 

Shove out those animals there boy, and 
come on, somebody; make me an offer. 
Who wants a brace of thoroughbred goats ? 
Who'll give me a pound for the goats?" 

The animals were clouted forward by 
Bat and the small boys. Everything was 
sold quickly, and a few shillings changed 
hands. 

" 'Tis wonderful how the quality man- 
ages to live when they comes down in the 
world," murmured the red-faced Mrs. 
Riordan to Minnie. 

"They don't live, Mrs. Riordan, ma'am, 
they dies," said Minnie, and turned her 
back. 

"Shove out that horse now. Bat Mar- 
tin!" shouted the auctioneer. "We don't 
want to spend the night here. Now then, 
we come to the big event of the day, and 
the last, thank God! Run your eyes over 
that fellow. Have any of you ever seen a 
horse before ? If you admit it, I don't need 
to tell you what this one is worth. Wait 
now till I read you the breeding Walk 



of the Wheel i(j^ 

him round boy." He consulted some dirty 
bits of paper before him: "This animal is a 
bay gelding, two years old, by that grand 
race horse, Impatient, out of Flying Kitty, 
by Gull Flight out of Kathleen Na Houli- 
han, by — and now listen well, my masters — 
by Ascetic — You all know that blood. If 

you don't, you bloody well ought to 

Hold on, don't laugh! I'm tellin' you the 
truth. This colt is well bred enough to beat 
the world, and Mr. Shane Desmond paid 
ninety-eight golden guineas for the fee to 
get him." 

"Owed ninety-eight guineas, more likely," 
muttered Riordan, the bailifif. 

"And what the hell does it matter to 
the horse whether it was paid or owed? 
I'll thank you not to interrupt me, Michael 
Riordan. Now, this colt is just the cut of a 
grand gentleman's hunter, like his mother, 
or the winner of valuable races, like his 
father before him. Make me an offer, you 
dealing men there. Make me an offer that 
will show you know your business." 

"Ten pound," said a farmer. 

"Eleven is my bid," said Riordan. 

"Twelve!" came from the other side. 

Doherty stuck out his chin and shouted 
at them: "Do you want to drive me mad, 
you pack of fools ? Amn't I telling you that 
here's a piece of property worth money?" 

"Yerra, Mr. Doherty, my dearie," broke 
in the farmer. "Have you taken a look at 
the horse? 'Tis a poor ungainly specimen, 
at best." 

"I don't want to look at him. I am look- 
ing at this paper before my eyes. Here, I'll 
read it all out to you again." 

Riordan shoved forward. "I'll give fifteen 
pounds down for the colt, and I'll bet you 
ten shillings you can't better die offer." 

Sizing up the apathy of the crowd and 
burning with die thirst of a poor day's 



194 Dorothea 

work, Doherty, the auctioneer, knocked 
down Andiamo to Riordan for fifteen 
pounds. "And Tm a hard-hearted man, as 
behooves my trade," he said, "but Fm glad 
the captain isn't ahve to see a dirty deal like 
this." 

He got down and tramped oil in dis- 
crust. Andiamo was hitched to the back of 
Riordan's trap and dragged reluctantly out 
of the gates. Heavy boots clattered after 
him. Voices and faces faded away. The 
yard was empty, save for a ragged sheep 
dog and an old woman sitting on a stone 
bench outside her door where the early 
June roses nodded. 

"Old Doherty was right," she mused to 
herself. " 'Tis the mercy of God, himself 
never lived to see the day ! . . . Are you there, 
Bat.^" she called into the stable. "Let you 
put the kettle on. We'll be needing a wee 
cup of tea." 

"Get in there, blast you!" said Riordan, 
as he pushed the colt into the blackness 
of a cow shed in his dingy town yard. 
Andiamo stood trembling. He heard all 
sorts of noises. There were pigs next door 
to him. He hated their smell and their 
squealing. There was a dog tied up on a 
chain that whimpered continually. He 
snuffed round, finding nothing but dirty, 
clammy straw. What light there was filtered 
through the crumbling walls. He crashed 
back suddenly as a rat ran over his foreleg. 
And then, thoroughly wrought up with the 
day's happenings, he began to walk round 
and round the narrow circle of the shed, 
shaking his head up and down. 

Andiamo was developing a personality. 
He was out in the world on his own now. 
The happy days with his mother were gone. 
The husky, whispering voice of Bat was 
gone, and the wheedlings of Minnie; his 



Donn Byrne 

home, his warm stable and his field. He 
hated Riordan with the sudden dislike 
horses take to a man and his hands. But he 
was a bit afraid. Riordan had clouted him 
over the head on that long, racking journey 
to town. 

"Let you not hit the horse in the face, 
Michael," said Mrs. Riordan. "Do you want 
to destroy him?" 

"Sweet bad luck to him! I hate every 
living thing, every blade of grass out of 
that place. They that were so grand, they 
shut the door in my nose and made a mock 
of me. The old trickster that shot two valu- 
able ponies with his own hand rather than 
let them go just and proper to an officer 
of the law." 

"Ah, sure, that's all forbye, Michael. 
You're only spiting yourself." 

"Mind your own business, woman," he 
said, and drove on sullenly. 

At the pub that evening he was full of 
swank and bluster, standing drinks all 
round to the farmers and dealers and small 
townfolk. They drank his liquor because 
they were thirsty, and they heard him out 
because they were polite, but no man liked 
him, and there was scarcely one of them 
that hadn't a private score of his own 
against him. 

" 'Tis true you think you have a winner 
bought, Mr. R.?" questioned Jerry, the bar- 
man. "They tell me the coult's a terrible 
poor animal." 

"What would you expect from the star- 
vation rations at Coolveen.f^" sneered Rior- 
dan. 

" 'Twas always held, now," went on 
Jerry, "that the captain would go hungry 
himself before he'd let his animals want. 
I'm thinking the young gentleman in for- 
eign parts will be sorry after the horse. He 
set great store by the old mare." 



The Turn of 

"If I hadn't bought the horse, I'd have 
took him soon enough in the name of the 
law." 

"Bigad, the law has a capacious trapplc," 
murmured an old horse dealer. 

" 'Tis a dirty lot of snobs you all are," 
said Riordan. "No talk but the sweet cap- 
tain here, and the sweet captain there. Han- 
kering after an old down-and-out that owed 
every one of you money, because he was a 
gentleman and lived in style. Style my 
elbow! A place like a pigsty." 

He stumbled home in the darkness. Out- 
side the shed where Andiamo was stabled, 
he stopped and shook his fist. 

"You'll be a good one all right before I'm 
through with you, or you'll be hounds' 
meat." He could hear the horse walking 
about, his hoofs kicking at the walls. 

"Lie down, you — " he yelled, but the 
tramping and kicking went on. 

"I'll give you a lesson this minute will 
last you — " Snatching up a pitchfork, he 
threw open the door of the cow shed. The 
red lamps of the horse's eyes showed in 
the far corner a second; then, terrified by 
Riordan's stumbling figure and raised arm, 
he sprang forward. He rose on his hind 
legs and boxed at the man, missing him. 
Riordan slashed at his head with the fork, 
but Andiamo scattered him like a suit of 
clothes from a line, and was free. He dashed 
through the yard gate into Ballyrack High 
Street, which was empty, save for the old 
night watchman, who was putting out the 
gas lamps. This one, seeing a maddened, 
snorting horse coming at him, downed tools 
and, calling on the saints, fled up an alley. 

Andiamo was soon out of town and away 
into die fields. Cool and wet with night 
dew, these were grateful to his unshod 
feet. He stopped to crop a bit of grass and 
snuff the air. There was no salty sea smell 



the Wheel 195 

as at home, but he was well content with 
his freedom, and started ofT cross country 
at an easy lollop. Low hedges and banks 
he went over as easily as a grayhound. 
The small, loose stone walls he took in his 
stride, and, when he came across something 
too high for him, he ran up and down look- 
ing for a gap or a gate. There was grand 
"lepping" blood in the colt, and this first 
hunt of his without quarry or hounds or 
red-coated passenger, was perhaps the best 
of his life. 

Through the short Irish summer night he 
cantered, keeping instinctively to the fields, 
till, with the first sign of dawn, he came to 
a boreen, where he pulled up with a snort, 
scenting fire. A curl of smoke was strag- 
gling up from the little pile of turf where 
a gang of traveling tinkers had pitched 
their camp for the night. 

Now, tinkers are the Irish of?shoot of the 
gypsy family, and roam the countryside, 
living the life of the tent and tilted cart 
all through the spring and summer. Like 
the ground hog's shadow in America, the 
first tinker rattling along the roads of Ire- 
land with his women and children and 
assortment of animals is the signal that 
spring is afoot. They have their clans and 
their signs and tokens, as the high-class 
gypsies have even a language of tlieir own 
called Shelta, which is probably very old 
and very erudite. They twist it to their 
fancy, but their ordinary speech is the com- 
mon brogue of their district. A merry, rak- 
ish people they are, dark-skinned and 
foreign-looking, flaming red of hair, with 
keen blue eyes. Clever as wild animals, the 
enemies of all respectable house dwellers, 
they have a certain dignity and a definite 
code. 

As judges of horseflesh diey are hard to 
beat, and make their living trading horses 



196 Dorothea 

or ''finding" tliem before the owner has 
lost them. As a side line, they mend pots 
and pans, make furniture or fishing rods, 
and beg loudly and plausibly. 

Into the encampment Andiamo wan- 
dered carefully. There were a couple of 
gayly painted living vans, two or three tents, 
red carts tilted against the hawthorn hedge 
— gay, colorful litter. There was no stirring 
of human life, but goats, hens, donkeys and 
at least a dozen horses of every age and 
color were browsing along the land. These 
eyed Andiamo distrustfully, but one old 
mare, patched white and brown like a cir- 
cus horse, spying him, lifted her head and 
long upper lip, showing broken yellow 
teeth. Andiamo whinnied very low, and she 
answered him. He came nearer, where- 
upon she planted both hoofs in his ribs. He 
took no offense at this, knowing the ways 
of old mares, but sidled up again. Recog- 
nizing from his manner that he was only 
a poor, foolish youngster, she made room 
for him at the luscious bit of hedgerow she 
was engaged on, and soon they were crop- 
ping side by side. 

The sun rose higher, and from the larg- 
est tent there stepped a grandiose figure of 
a man. He wore a gray whipcord coat 
buttoned tight up to his neck, and very 
heavy trousers. His head flamed up like a 
smaller version of the sun. His feet were 
bare. Making his way to a water-cress-filled 
stream, he ducked his head into it rapidly, 
twice; then shook himself like a dog. His 
toilet over for the day, he ran an eye over 
the animals, and spied Andiamo. 

"Woman!" he called. "Come out!" 

The tent door flapped and a female coun- 
terpart of himself stuck her ragged head 
out. 

"Tell me," said her husband. "Am I 
drunk?" 



Donn Byrne 

"How might that be and yourself stone 
poor?" she replied. 

"Take a look at what's by the hedge 
there." 

She stood beside him, arms akimbo, hand- 
some, dirty, live as a steel wire. 

''Dawdi! [Behold.] 'Tis a blood colt!" 

" 'Tis a gift, woman, from the gentiles, or 
the little people, maybe." 

''Awalir [Verily.] She nodded. "'Tis a 
gift anyhow." 

The man ran his brown hand over Andi- 
amo, whispering all the time in a low, 
tuneful way. The colt shivered slightly, but 
was quiet under the hand. By this time, the 
other tinkers had stumbled out of their 
tents, or from behind the ditch where they 
had been sleeping, and stood around in a 
distant, respectful circle. 

"Woman," said Feodor Mackay, the big 
tinker, straightening himself, "how so or 
why, I cannot yet say, but we are rich! Get 
the food ready, but first bring me the clip- 
pers and a pot of brown color. Away the 
rest of you and prepare. We move in an 
hour." 

Within the hour Andiamo was trans- 
formed. He was a rich brown shade, with 
no white about him but a small star on his 
forehead and a bleached streak in his long 
tail. His mane was hogged, and as quickly 
as the sun dried him, the tinker rubbed 
dirt and leaf mold into his coat. The camp 
broke up. Horses were whipped to a trot. 
Goats, dogs, children and donkeys fell in 
line. 

Andiamo moved happily beside the old 
mare and, with much joking and whip 
cracking, they jogged off toward the County 
of Kerry. 

It wasn't till the next day that the law 
caught up with them. Seeing a motor car 
draw up by the roadside, Feodor's wife 



The Turn 

snatched up a baby and ran forward whin- 
ing, with outstretched begging hand. The 
tinker knocked her aside and welcomed 
the passengers, who had got down and were 
examining his stock. 

"Is it to buy you've come, sweet gentle- 
men ?" he asked poHtely. 

"We'll see about that," said the red- 
necked policeman who was looking the 
horses over. " 'Tis more likely to jail the lot 
of you." 

"That would be a strange thing now, and 
we doing no sign of harm." 

"Tell me, dark man, where do all these 
horses come from?" 

"From many places, Rai" [Sirs] "There's 
a few bred from my own grai Cuhulain. 
There's others I bought at Cahirmee Fair, 
and different trading places the length and 
breadth of Ireland. Maybe you'd like to see 
the book with their names in it? Written 
down exact and precise by my woman who 
is well learned in the arts." 

"Black arts, I'm thinking," said the po- 
liceman "And this big colt here?" 

"The brown one, is it? Sure, that is the 
last foal the dappled mare threw for me, 
and terrible attached she is to it, as you can 
see for yourselves." 

" 'Tis ten good years since that one ever 
foaled." 

"The Rai is mistook. 'Tis two years last 
Patrick's Day, and 'tis her last, I'm fearing. 
He is wrong of his wind and, if it wasn't 
for sentiment, I'd be knocking him on the 
head ere this." 

"And the sire?" 

"Who would that be but Cuhulain him- 
self that has the blood of kings in him ? Has 
the Rai noticed the markings?" 

"I know as well as I am standing here," 
said the red-necked one, "you are lying to 
me, but how am I to prove it?" 



of the Wheel 197 

"Sweet gentleman, that would be a task." 

"Aye, and it will also be a task chasing 
round the counties of Ireland, accusing de- 
cent and otherwise people of having stolen 
Mike Riordan's colt." 

"And for why would anyone go to that 
trouble, seeing the same man is well able 
to steal for himself?" 

"Give me no lip, tinker, or I'll run you 
in." 

"You are joking now, sweet mister. You 
wouldn't do that. Would you, instead, sit 
and drink a drop of the mountain stuff 
with us? Or maybe you'd like herself to 
tell your fortunes?" 

"God forbid! Let you be moving before 
I change my mind about you." 

The car swirled away in a cloud of dust. 
The tinker looked thoughtfully after it. 
"Mus\ros St ]u\els" [policemen are dogs] 
he said to himself. 

Feodor Mackay, the tinker, was a man 
that rode as one with his horse. So lithe 
and smoothly they moved together, they 
were as a single piece. He was kind, too, 
with his horses, and many's the lad he had 
laid for dead with his big fist for ill treat- 
ing one. Whether he loved the horses, or 
whether he knew they spelled the differ- 
ence between life and starvation to him, 
he never stopped to consider. Feodor's strug- 
gle for existence was as hard and as subtle 
as that of the fox or badger. For wife and 
children, and the occasional women of the 
ditch, he had little thought. For the rela- 
tives and hangers-on that formed his cor- 
tege, none at all. They were there to do 
him reverence, and how could a man be a 
king, if he had no subjects ? So he tagged 
them round, and threw food to them, and 
took their part in quarrels. When drunk, 
he beat them unmercifully. The history of 



198 Dorothea 

Andiamo he knew, as it is part of the equip- 
ment of such hangers-on of Fortune to 
know these things, but during the two years 
in which he kept the colt he said no word 
of it. 

Andiamo grew out to match his big 
frame during his peaceful adolescence. The 
old pinto mare was his pal, but with the 
ragtag and bobtail horses that came and 
went in the camp he had nothing to do. 
He was a very grand four-year-old on the 
day that, Feodor, taking him into a fine 
open field well out of view of the farmer 
whose land it was, ran him in the long 
reins — that is, he would have been grand if 
his coat was not stiff with mud and burrs, 
his tail like the tangled stuffing of a mat- 
tress and on his upper lip, the wiry mus- 
tache which horses get from feeding on 
furze or gorse. 

He gave no trouble and, when the tinker, 
wheedling and whispering in his usual way, 
threw a tentative leg over his back, he stood 
square and unconcerned. 

"The father and mother of a horse you 
are, my boukle, or will be when I say the 
word," said Mackay. 

There followed an intensive course of 
breaking, done secretively at hours of the 
morning when only the birds are up, or in 
the late evening time when the sun and the 
moon struggle for mastery in the same sky 
in Ireland. 

Mackay arranged the day's journey to 
end on the outskirts of some good gallop- 
ing ground or place of training, and left 
in his wake a trail of curses from men who 
rose later to find their best rings scarred 
with heavy hoof marks, their carefully built 
banks smashed to bits. But regardless of 
these respectable gentry, tinker and horse 
scoured the country at will, taking the best 
of it. 



Donn Byrne 

One crisp October morning when the 
trees were shivering and the gray tint of 
winter beginning to settle down, Mackay 's 
red-headed woman stood beside him and 
the horse, as they took a four-foot hedge, 
faultlessly clearing it and the ditch on the 
far side. 

"You'll be selling him soon.?" said she. 
"Winter's near on us." 

"I will not. I have other plans," said her 
man. 

"For why ? He came as a gift." 

"And as a gift he goes. This horse is got 
by Impatient of the stock of Ascetic." 

"And, therefore, Mackay, as you said 
when he came, we are rich." 

"Not now, but will be. Listen, slut. The 
horse comes from Coolveen, where the 
Honorable O'Deasy measured with his own 
hand the foot of your son that he might buy 
him boots." 

"The captain was a Noble living, but is 
now dead." 

"His son lives, and the horse is his." 

She caught at his bridle. "Must not your 
children eat, Mackay?" 

"They will eat, sooner or later is of little 
account." 

"You are a fool tinker!" screamed the 
red woman, jumping just in time out of 
range of her husband's ash plant. 

Into brigade headquarters of the — teenth 
Cavalry on Wiltshire Downs walked our 
tinker. 

Very smart he was, with new corded 
coat, and trousers tighter than his skin. His 
face was patched white where the stubble 
had been razed to the bone ; the fiery shock 
of his hair was soaped flat to his well- 
shaped head. Behind him straggled the colt 
and the old mare,- a small boy between, 
leading them. 



The Turn of 

"Halt!" came from the sentry. "Where 
the hell do you think you're going ? To the 
knackers? 'Op it." 

Feodor did not argue with him. He 
waved the horses back and produced a large 
piece of pasteboard on which was inked in 
heavy letters: 

THE MACKAY KING 

FEODOR MOr' MACKAY 

HORSE DEALER IN CHIEF TO CASTLE COOLVEEN 

"Send that to the Lieutenant O'Deasy, 
who will see me at once." 

The sentry threw it back in his face and 
laughed. "Get to hell out of here, quick," 
he said. 

Mackay picked up the card again, and 
stepped catlike up to the soldier, who 
presented his bayonet at him. 

"Englishman," said the tinker, "you are 
a louse and a pickpocket. Presently you will 
lie dead with your trapple slit, and the 
doer will never be found." 

The sergeant of the guard came running 
out of the guard room and planted himself 
between the two, who stood, teeth bared, 
like dogs before a fight. As he opened his 
mouth in a string of curses, a young officer 
who was turning out of the gate in a car 
pulled up. 

"Come, come, what's all this } No gypsies 
allowed here, fellow." 

Feodor whirled round, snatching off his 
wide-brimmed hat. 

"O'Deasy, my darling! God bless the day! 
God bless your honor's worship ! 'Tis you've 
grown the fine man! Didn't I dandle you, 
and you a thrawneen no bigger than Shamus 
here! Look on me, my gentleman. 'Tis old 
Mackay, from Kerry is in it." 

"Good lord, so it is!... All right, you 
men" — to the soldiers...."! thought you 



the Wheel 199 

were dead like the rest, Mackay. But you 
can't stand here. Come outside in the field." 

He took Feodor by the arm, and they 
went out talking. O'Deasy saw the horses. 

"What have we here, old pal? Been up 
to your tricks, have you?" 

"Listen your honor. I've brought you your 
horse." He laid his hand on Andiamo's 
neck. 

"Surely that's never Kitty's colt! What a 
wopper he is. I thought that fellow Riordan 
had bought him. You've taken my breath 
away." 

"Riordan came to a bad end as befitted 
him. And no one mourned. The horse is 
yours. Ask no questions." 

O'Deasy was running his hand over the 
colt's sides and legs. "He's a damn queer 
color, man." 

"That will alter itself quickly." 

"Do you want to sell me the horse, 
Mackay ? I'm a poor man." 

"That too will alter itself. I have trained 
him for you as no horse in Ireland has been 
trained. You will take the National with 
him." 

"Oh, come now, Mackay!" 

"I'm telling you. I know you can ride, 
and the rest I have arranged. Let you watch 
now." 

They were standing near to a five-barred 
gate. Mackay twisted his hand in Andiamo's 
mane and, with a spring, was on his back. 
Loose and easy he sat, his feet hanging. He 
backed away twenty yards and then, with 
a whistle, drove at the gate. Over it like an 
antelope went Andy, and back again as 
easily to O'Deasy's feet. 

"He's a lepper ! Whatever he may do, I'm 
enchanted to have him. Put your price on 
him." 

"There is no price. Your father, God 
bless him, was good to the woman and the 



200 



Dorothea 



children. One favor I will ask — that you 
keep tlie old mare close to the colt. They 
are comrades. She has been a help in the 
rearing of him. I would not see that one 
wronged.'* 

"I'll keep her." 

''Kttshto Bok!' [Good Luck] "I will see 
you three years from now at the Aintree. 
The day of the National. My blessing with 
you, O'Deasy." And with a wave of his 
hand, he was gone, the boy trotting like a 
dog behind. 

"Fair and warm; fresh southeasterly 
winds!" rang the weatherman's report on 
tlie morning of the 19 — National. 

A brave day for once, sharp and clear. 
Wiseacres prodded the ground with their 
sticks. "There'll be few will stand up to it," 
they said. 

From over the world the crowd trekked. 
Shiploads in harbor. Planes settling like 
awkward birds in the near-by fields. Trains 
winding from all points. Old-fashioned 
trams and busses jostling long, rakish cars. 
Motor bikes, push bikes, foot sloggers. 
Hours before the race they were all seething 
on that queer angular course that looks 
like a huge game a child might set out on 
a green carpet. A monstrous piece of arti- 
ficiality it is. A hellish ten minutes done at 
thirty miles an hour. Growing jumps, fir 
and spruce and gorse without an inch of 
give to them, flanked by hard wooden 
copings. Jumps higher than any five-barred 
gate. Bright green of grass. Olive green of 
fences. Miles of white railing. Towering 
stands and a hundred thousand eyes fixed 
on that slight, thin line of horses. No smart 
young things such as we see at Ascot or 
Epsom, but lean tough, war-scarred old 
batders, and the odds against their surviving 
just 4 to I. 



Donn Byrne 

At the gate, Andiamo stood quietly 
enough. He was the biggest horse in the 
race, and his long body and overhigh fore- 
hand gave rise to jeers from the crowd and 
the bookies, who didn't regard him as a 
serious entry. 

"Win or place, I'll give you your own 
price on the Irish antelope," called one. "No 
scrimping, no Scotsman's prices here — 50 
to I the Irishman." 

O'Deasy was cool, too — deadly cool. He 
knew the course as a sailor his chart — every 
blade of grass, every twist. He knew, too, 
that his horse would jump when dead tired, 
when finished. His only fear was from the 
other horses. He would not be jostled. The 
others thought too little of his chance to 
bother with him, but a falling or refusing 
horse might finish him. He ran over in his 
mind the old good advice: "Ride the first 
time round easy, happy-go-lucky, as if you 
were on the tail of the hounds; the second 
round you must race." Quiet enough, the 
fifty horses stood. The roar of the crowd 
came to them — the harsh Lancashire burr, 
the high voices of bookies, shouts and 
signals of the ticktack men — a great seeth- 
ing, noisy burr. 

"They're off!" And away went Andiamo, 
close to the left-hand rail. Away went they 
all. Full tilt at the first fence, each man 
striving for balance that his mount might 
have a clear sight of the obstacle. Over it 
streamed the field along to the next four 
plain fences. Some trailed off. Some un- 
shipped their jocks. The line thinned out. 
They came to Beecher's Brook, where the 
favorite hit the fence so hard he lay along 
the top on his back, and then toppled into 
the brook, bringing down a group of ten 
that were on his heels. Curses, flying hoofs 
and screams. Andiamo, keeping well out 
to the right, avoided the mess, and was over 



The Turn 

grandly, and on to the next, lying well in 
the middle. At the Canal turn, O'Deasy 
steadied him, losing a little ground, and 
then with a shout, took the jump slantingly. 

Andiamo stumbled almost to his knees, 
but O'Deasy sat like a rock and they were 
on again. On and on. The other jocks began 
to notice the horse's jumping, and to crowd 
in on him. One little fellow on a big gray 
almost threw him at the Chair — the biggest 
jump in the world — but Andiamo's superior 
bulk told, and the other crashed right under 
him. With a supreme effort, O'Deasy Hfted 
his mount over the fallen horse and rider. 
And they were past the stands again, and 
settled down to race. There were only 
fifteen horses left now, and plenty of room. 
"Horse darling, we'll win yet," muttered 
O'Deasy. 

As they came out of the country, the 
crowd went mad with excitement. "The 
big Irish brute! He's a superhorse!" 

"Yea, lad, thon's a fair booger." 

"Watch him! Watch him!" 

"Evens the Irishman!" yelled the bookies, 
and then came what looked to be disaster. 
Taking off at the second-last fence, the 
horse's forefeet tipped the guard rail, and 
he stumbled onto the broad jump, to be 
suspended across it. O'Deasy felt his heart 
break as they sat there, horse and rider 
draped over the obstacle. 

"He's finished!... He's done!" 

"He's no damn good!" went the shout- 
ing, till, by a bit of extraordinary good 
luck, a loose horse crashed into Andiamo, 
knocking him over and falling itself. He 
landed on all four feet with a sickening 
jar. "His back's broken!" groaned the rider. 
But it wasn't. On, on he went, sailed the 
last jump, and when O'Deasy gathered him 
up for the run-in, he flattened himself like 
a grey-hound and passed the post three 



oj the Wheel 201 

lengths clear of the five horses left. 
O'Deasy spoke to no man. He unsaddled 
his horse, was weighed in, and then he went 
into a corner of the paddock and laughed 
quietly to himself for five minutes. 

Coolveen lay basking and shimmering 
in the summer sun. Prosperity was all about 
it. Bright flared the roses on the terrace. 
Great activity in the stable yard. Laughing 
voices came from the tennis court, and 
young people in bathing dress strolled down 
the nine acre, where Andiamo, the winner 
of the Grand National, was cropping away 
with the donkeys and cows. 

Minnie Murphy, in a stiff alpaca dress 
with a flowered-satin apron, was doing 
exactly nothing at all when she saw a ver- 
million-painted saloon car come sweeping 
up the avenue, and, with a tremendous 
whirl and flourish, swing round the court- 
yard. Out sprang Feodor Mackay, his red- 
headed woman in silk attire, a hat like a 
cartwheel on one ear, and a dozen, or 
maybe less, immaculate children. 

"Well, I'll be blessed," said Minnie, who 
was a woman of temperate language. As 
she sucked in her breath preparatory to 
directing this unseemly outfit to the back 
premises, she saw young Captain O'Deasy 
run out and throw an arm around Mackay's 
shoulders. They all poured into the house. 

"Is it how I'll be opening a few botdes 
of stout in the kitchen, your honor .^" Min- 
nie suggested. 

"You will lay tea for everybody on the 
terrace, Minnie, my girl," returned her 
master, with emphasis. "Meanwhile, I am 
sure Mrs. Mackay and the children would 
like to see the raspberries in the garden" — 
and he turned away with Feodor. 

"Faith, I'll bet they would," said Minnie 
under her breath. 



PETER ALEKSEEVICH SHIRIAEV (1888-1935) 

A Trotting Race near Leningrad 

from FLATTERY'S FOAL 

[English edition TAGUONFS GRANDSON] 



It may come rather as a surprise to find a modern Russian novel 
devoted to trotting. One thin\s of horses in connection tvith the Russians 
only in terms of the Cossac\s. But here is a novel, dealing tvith the 
Russian peasants during and after the Bolshevi\^ revolution, which 
establishes the fact that the nation, as a tvhole, is tremendously interested 
in a sport which most people thin\ of as being almost wholly American. 
Contrary to general belief, Russia seems to have developed a breed of 
trotters which they consider at least the equal of the American trotter, 
I have ta\en the next to the last chapter of the boo\, both for the 
excitement of the race described, and for the very interesting picture 
it paints of the Russian peasant and his delightful reactions during such 
excitement. The whole boo\ is most interesting, giving, as it does, the 
history of Flattery and her foal — how she is first in the possession of a 
wealthy nobleman and then, when the revolution comes, is ta\en by 
a farmer. Although he loses the mare, he manages to retain the colt 
in spite of the efforts of a high-ran\ing official to obtain it. The local 
color throughout is convincing — whether the American slang used is 
the Russian equivalent or whether it's just the translator s idea of what the 
peasants would say if they were American, I do not \now, but the result is 
free and easy and simple. 



y one o'clock the long avenue instead of paving. It stretched to the grand- 
leading from the Leningrad Road stand, w^hose sculptured roof loomed in the 
to the race-track looked like some distance. Aw^heel or afoot, the crowd 
busy central street, but v^ithout shops or streamed forw^ard in a ceaseless flood, as 

houses On the left ran a grey w^ooden though a reservoir on the Leningrad Road 

fence, an asphalt path bordered by trees, and Vi^ere unsluiced and emptying to the dregs, 

a road faced w^ith a thick layer of sand Some v^alked in haste, conning their race- 

202 




Flattery's Foal 



203 



cards; others with the steady trudge of the 
seasoned race-goer; others again with the 
sauntering gait of hoHday-makers, who 
cared Httle where they went. The foot of 
the avenue was abuzz with program-sellers 
and cabmen, touting for fares at a quarter 
of a ruble; street-cars were perpetually dis- 
gorging men and women, boys and grey- 
beards, rich and poor — and from the Bashi- 
lovka, which crossed the road and car-lines, 
grooms led the trotters, draped in flowered 
horse-cloths, to the stables of the hippo- 
drome. And this pageant of proud horses, 
grey and bay, sorrel and black, in hoods 
and blinkers, knee-boots and white band- 
ages, with blazing eyes and glistening 
flanks, the muscles rippling on sleek arms 
and withers, recalled a procession of gladia- 
tors marching to some circus, hidden from 
view, but near at hand. . . . 

When Nikita, on his return to Moscow, 
went to the Bashilovka, Loutoshkin gave 
him such a welcome as no man had ever 
yet bestowed on him; he asked him to his 
house, into his dining-room, sat him down, 
with Syomka, at his table, and began plying 
him with wine and meat pies and all man- 
ner of toothsome things on separate plates, 
with silver forks and knives. Then he called 
to the other room, and out came a young 
woman. 

"There, Saphir," he said jauntily, nodding 
at Nikita, "that's the Grandson's owner, 
Nikita Loukitch." 

Womanlike, smiling, she waited on him 
and Syomka and presently began talking 
of the Grandson. She might have been born 
on the race-track. Her talk reminded Nikita 
of the old veterinary's — spiced with the 
same queer lingo and outlandish tongue- 
twisters — not at all like woman's prattle, 
when she touched on the colt's points and 
manners. 



"Your wife's just like our veterinary, 
Alexandr Egoritch," he exclaimed to Lou- 
toshkin when they were alone. 

Loutoshkin answered with a laugh. 

As soon as Nikita entered the stable, he 
dashed into the loose-box where he had 
left his precious charge three weeks before. 
Instead of the grey Grandson he found an 
ugly-tempered sorrel stallion. He turned to 
Loutoshkin in dismay. 

"Why, don't you see?" said Loutoshkin 
laughing. "Come along, I've shifted him. 
This way, second box on the left!" 

Nikita burst into the box, and halted 
spellbound on the threshold. He doffed his 
cap and stod scratching his head. It was 
not the rangy, tousle-coated Grandson that 
he saw, but a sleek, dapple-grey beauty, 
with a soft, bushy tail, a saucily clipped 
forelock, and a mane like silk. 

Syomka whispered hurriedly: "It's not 
our colt, I'll take my oath, Papanka ! It's not 
ours, they've changed him!" 

"Grandson, is it you?" stammered Nikita, 
taking a pace forward. 

The Grandson turned his head. The 
keen, glittering, blue-streaked eyes rested on 
him, the nostrils quivered, and the grey 
beauty, recognizing his master, snuffled, 
and nosed for Nikita's pocket. Hastily 
Nikita drew out a lump of sugar and in a 
quavering voice began to speak, at once 
addressing the horse and Syomka and 
Loutoshkin: "He knows me!... You see, 
he's trying to tell me. That's him, our 
Grandson! It's me, Grandson, me — Nikita! 
. . . I've come from Shatnyevka by the rail- 
way, in the express ! . . . Syomka's here too 
— look at him, look! We've left Nastasya 
all alone " 

The Grandson looked at Syomka, at 
Nikita, at Loutoshkin, glancing from time 



204 



Peter AIe\seevich Shiriaev 



to time over their heads through tlie open 
door into the passage, and kept plying his 
ears, as if he followed the conversation of 
his visitors. Then he thrust out his lips to 
Syomka and finally dispelled his doubts; he 
pulled olf his cap and tossed it to die 
ground. Syomka looked up at his father, 
beaming with delight. 

"\\'ell, whose colt is he now.f^" asked 
Loutoshkin from behind. 

Nikita wagged his head smiling, in lieu 
of answer. 

"We're trotting today, Nikita Loukitch," 
said Loutoshkin, drawing a race-card from 

his pocket — "in the fifth race Can you 

read? No? Can your son? Well, Semyon, 
here you are, read it!" 

Sheepishly, syllable by syllable, the boy 
floundered through the printed lines under 
Nikita's forefinger. Nikita looked at him 
with eager pride. 

"Tag-ly-o-ney's Grand-son. . . grey stall- 
ion." 

"Quite right, grey stallion, that's quite 
right," burst in Nikita, afraid to breathe and 
fastening his eyes on Syomka. 

"Born nine-teen . . . twenty-one." 

"That's right too, the year of the famine!" 
cried Nikita. 

"Own-er, Ni— Ni— Lou— Lou— " 

"Nikita Loukitch Loukoff," prompted 
Loutoshkin. 

Nikita bored his nose into the race-card. 
He wanted to see himself there with his 
own eyes, but Syomka edged away from 
him and went on boldly: "By Favourite out 
of Flattery. Driven by O. I. Loutoshkin, in- 
digo jacket, white cap " 

Syomka read on; Nikita wiped his 
streaming forehead. 

"Take the card as a souvenir," said Lou- 
toshkin. "It'll tell you all the other horses 
racing with your colt today. Well have to 



step out, Nikita, the Grandson's in good 
company. We'll start for the track soon, 
then you'll see for yourself!" 

Philipp stuck his head into the loose-box 
and reported: "Sinitsin's sent Mitka here 
again — keeps wanting to know how the 
colt's shaping." 

"And what did you tell him?" asked 
Loutoshkin. 

"Wha-at? ^Goes like the devil,' I told 
him. Because why? If 1 run him down, 
he'll smell a rat — *dark horse,' he'll say. But 
as it is, I'll keep him guessing!" 

Nikita did not quite understand what the 
driver and the groom were saying, but he 
knew it was about his colt, and he drank in 
every word, watching the speakers' lips. 

Loutoshkin clapped him gaily on the 
shoulder. "I saw to it that we should be 
trotting in good company. In the Grand- 
son's race there's a mare running called 
Chicane. She's a holy terror — driven by my 
old friend — ^we drivers do have friends, you 
know — ^Vaska Sinitsin. Now I'm going to 
show him a race! , . . It's a big prize we're 
trotting for, Nikita!" 

He fell silent. Nikita looked at him and 
said ardently: 

"Never you fear, Alim Ivanitch. Just give 
him his head, and — ^hell for leather! But 
mind you don't take the whip to him, he's 
touchy. At Shrovetide me and my wife 
drove him to the Settlement; as we came 
out on the meadow, I just flicked him with 
a twig — ^whish! And up flew his heels — not 
meaning nothing. . . . But believe me or 
believe me not, I thought we'd never get 
home with a whole skin! It's by God's 
mercy I'm here to say it! He's a whirlwind, 
I tell you, not a horse!" 

"It'll be a hard race!" said Philipp grimly, 
as if answering Loutoshkin's thoughts. 



Flattery's Foal 



205 



At two o'clock Philipp, Nikita, and 
Syomka took the Grandson out to the 
Bashilovka and walked him slowly to the 
race-track. On the Leningrad Road the 
holiday crowds parted to give them passage, 
hailing Nikita's horse with exclamations of 
delight. Whenever he heard such praise, he 
wanted to stop and talk, to explain to all 
those well-dressed Moscow strangers that 
the horse belonged to him, Nikita LoukofI 
of Shatnyevka; that he, the owner, was 
taking him to the great race for the cup — 
but Philipp frowned and kept shouting: 
"Don't stare about you! Mind the street- 
cars or you'll get run over!" 

Hastily Nikita would shorten the bridle 
and look round startled at the passing 
street-cars. When they came out on the 
track, Nikita and Syomka halted in amaze- 
ment. The three-decked stand, like a huge 
open hive, throbbed and swarmed, ahum 

with a thousand voices Somewhere a 

bell clanged. Somewhere, out of sight, a 
band struck up. Over a round flat path 
smart horses trotted, drawing flimsy car- 
riages. The metal spokes flashed as the 
wheels spun. 

All this reminded Syomka of a fair, only 
that here he missed the merry-go-rounds. 
Nikita led the Grandson along the black 
path close behind the stands, gazing diz- 
zily about him, and when he looked up at 
the teeming crowds, he held his breath — the 
Grandson, Syomka, and himself were in 
full view of all those peering faces. 

At this thought Nikita puckered his 
brows, hunched his shoulders, tautened his 
muscles. Himself — Nikita LoukofI — the 
grey Grandson, and the lad stood for 
Shatnyevka; and all that bustling hive to 
the right of him, for Moscow. 

Shatnyevka was racing, Moscow looking 
on. 



He turned his head. A colt was stepping 
close behind them. Nikita whispered en- 
couragement: "Never mind him, Grand- 
son! Just you show *em." 

Philipp nudged Nikita and pointed to a 
little bay horse coming on at a smart trot, 
with a driver in a crimson jacket. "Chicane. 

. . . Trotting in your colt's race See 

her.?" 

Savagely Nikita eyed the Grandson's 
rival as she skimmed along the yellow 
track; but Syomka thought of this puny 
creature in the harvest-field, straining at 
a load of sheaves. 

"Call that a horse!" he sneered. 

Then he whispered to his father: "What's 
that red duster on the coachman's back? 
Did he cut it out of a flag, Papanka.^^" 

Unlike the casual public in the second 
row, where stood the boxes, the great bulk 
of the spectators in the cheaper seats were 
regular race-goers ; nearly all of them knew 
each other, they knew the drivers and their 
horses, remembered the events for dozens 
of years back, and chatted together in their 
horsy jargon, which was Greek to a new- 
comer, or rather a sort of thieves' Latin or 
conspirators' code. Indeed, besides his 
knowledge of horse and driver, each had 
his own secret code to inform him whether 
such and such a horse would win. 

"Hey, watch his leg, that's the main 
thing!" they would whisper to some novice, 
mentioning a driver's name. "If he drops 
his left leg at the turn, he's tipping the wink 
to a friend of his to bet on him; mustn't 
bet themselves, you know — stricdy forbid- 
den Aha, there's Yashka ! Does all the 

talking with his whip ! Just you take notice 
— when his whip's behind him, he won't 
win, but when it's up in the air, you can put 
your shirt on him ! . . ." 



206 



Peter Ale\seemch Shiriaev 



These men plunged freely, and reviled 
and hooted the drivers if they lost. After a 
loss they would climb down to the second 
row and, fixing a practised eye on some 
prosperous greenhorn, stick to him like 
burs. They would lead him slyly apart and 
whisper breathlessly: 

"I know of a dead sure thing! Simply 
given away! Safe as the bank!" 

And if the victim were incredulous or 
doubtful, they moved away with unfeigned 
sorrow on their faces, with gait and gesture 
eloquent of regret. "Eykh," they seemed to 
be saying, "there's the money under his 
nose, and he won't take it!" 

And again they would brush past him, 
breathing into his ear: 

"You risk nothing, man Nothing at 

all. He'll walk home!" 

If the horse won, they were sure of their 
commission ; if he lost — they vanished. 

On the lowest bench in the third row, 
right against the railing, sat Aristarkh 
Bourmin. Never absent from the races, he 
arrived punctually and always sat in the 
same seat. The next was always occupied 
by a fat, clean-shaven fellow, with field- 
glasses round his neck. Time and again had 
the fat man sought to draw his neighbour 
into conversation, about horses, drivers, or 
the weather; but Aristarkh Bourmin had 
never deigned to bestow an answer on this 
garrulous stranger. Bolt upright he sat, like 
a wooden idol, propped on his walking- 
stick, and he seemed to heed and see noth- 
ing but the track itself and the horses 
moving up and down it. He ignored the 
greeting of Sossounoff, who stalked in front 
of the rails in his flashy beaver hat and 
loud check breeches, and since he knew by 
sight all the old horse-breeders and owners, 
though on speaking terms with none of 



them, deemed it his duty to salute them 
all, calling them by their Christian names 
and patronymics. 

When Sinitsin drove out for the fifth 
race, on the bay mare Chicane, the fat man 
with the field-glasses began fidgeting and, 
longing to let off steam, strove to attract 
Bourmin's attention: "Just watch that 
mare's action! What splendid time she 
keeps! Superb! Her dam, Telyegin's Tina, 
never lost a race. Did the mile in two twenty 
— on a sticky track." 

"Two eighteen it was!" a voice from 
above corrected him. 

With astounding suppleness the fat man 
faced round on the speaker. "Two eighteen, 
eh ? Well, there you are ! Two eighteen, on 
the mud ! . . . You know, when Nikolai 
Vasilyevitch Telyegin died, his hearse was 
drawn by Tina, that mare's dam." 

"Such riffraff should be hounded off the 
course!" Bourmin hissed, addressing the 
earth in front of him. 

"What — Chicane?" said the fat man 
vehemently. "Were you speaking of Chi- 
cane ? Ought to be hounded off the course ?" 

Bourmin vouchsafed no answer. Laughter 
came from above him. Someone said : "Riff- 
raff or no riffraff, all the betting's on her. 
The driver's sister-in-law's been backing her 
— to the tune of fifty rubles." 

The fat man looked at the speaker, shot 
out of his seat, elbowed his way to the 
three-ruble window, fished out a crumpled 
note, and pushed it through. "Number one, 
please!" 

Number one was Chicane. 

Having received his ticket, he went back 
to his place and again plied Bourmin with 
praises of the mare. Bourmin was silent. He 
looked down at the race-track, sprinkled 
with yellow sand, and his lush black beard 
twitched ominously. 



Flattery's 

Sossounoff, lounging against the rails, 
turned to Bourmin and once more raised his 
hat. 

Nikita and Syomka stood below, in the 
members' enclosure. 

The mild sunny afternoon had drawn 
thousands to the hippodrome that Sunday. 

Aeroplanes hummed in the cloudless 
blue ; from the tops of the stands gay music 
floated; the crowd buzzed with eager chat- 
ter; in the inner circle of the hippodrome 
fountains played in lawns and flower-beds; 
the silken sheen of the drivers' jackets, the 
shrill strokes of the judges' bell, proclaiming 
that, the races had begun, gave zest and 
sparkle to that sun-drenched festival. 

Both Syomka and Nikita greedily de- 
voured every detail of this glittering show, 
standing agape, like children at a toy-shop 
window. But when Sinitsin's crimson jacket 
flashed upon the course, Nikita's wandering 
eyes were fixed on him. His memory took 
stock of the round, red-jowled face and held 
it all his life. Of the horse too — a little bay 
mare, with the number i strapped to her 
saddle, she dashed past him, her ears laid 
back, her legs plying like a miraculous piece 
of clockwork. Though he had never seen a 
race, Nikita knew instinctively that here 
was his colt's rival. And everytime the 
crimson jacket came abreast of them, his 
heart misgave him for the Grandson. 

Loutoshkin drove out last of all. As he 
passed, close to the rails, he nodded gaily 
at Nikita. He wore a white cap and a blue 
silk jacket. The Grandson, gaitered in white 
linen, his head proudly tilted, seemed to 
Nikita strange and marvellous. At his sad- 
dle-strap hung a little board, with the 
number 6 on it. 

Next to Nikita stood a man in goggles, 
marking his race-card as the trotters passed. 



Foal 207 

Nikita plucked him by the sleeve and said, 
pointing at the Grandson: 

"That's our colt! Mine! His name's 
Grandson!" 

The man in the goggles looked at Nikita, 
then at Syomka, but said nothing. 

"He's running for the cup We're from 

Shatnyevka," explained Nikita. 

When the bell rang for the horses to line 
up, Loutoshkin drove back some distance 
and brought the Grandson forward at a 
sharp trot, to warm him up. 

A hollow rumble issued from the stands. 
Overjoyed at this tribute to his nursling, 
Nikita swallowed his pride and tackled the 
man in the goggles once again: "That's our 
colt — mine ! . . . I'm Nikita Loukoff from 
Shatnyevka!" 

Just then the strokes of a bell shrilled 
out above them. A man with a red flag, 
hoisted beside the track on a wooden stand, 
like a speaker on a platform, shouldered liis 
flag and bellowed: 

"Ta-ake your pla-a-ces!" 

The six horses, as if drilled to this 
manoeuvre, broke into groups of diree and 
trotted past Nikita at a lively pace, on tlie 
right and left of the track respectively. First 
of all came the Grandson, in the farther 
group. Loutoshkin's face was grimly set and 
— it seemed to Nikita — angry. When they 
reached the spot where a man stood with 
a paper in his hands, all six horses turned 
and dashed forward, Loutoshkin driving 
nearest to the rails, an arm's length from 
the crowd. 

As he drew level with the platform where 
the man with the red flag was standing, the 
Grandson broke into a gallop. Promptly 
the bell clanged overhead, and again the 
six horses, in the same order as at first, 
swung past Nikita. 



208 



Peter AJe\seevich Shirtaev 



"Tur-iirn!" boomed the man with the 
flag. 

And again the Grandson, and he only, 
started to gallop. Again the bell rang out. 
The crowd murmured. Nikita saw Lou- 
toshkin's lips move as he passed the man 
with the flag; the man gave no answer, but 
shouted up in the direction whence the bell 
had sounded: 

"Number six, ba-ack! Ba-ack six!" 

After the Grandson other horses began 
to gallop before they reached the start. The 
crowd grew restive. A man hissed furiously. 
From the top seats came catcalls. For the 
fifth time the bell clanged. 

Nikita noticed that the bay mare had not 
once broken her trot, and that each time 
the horses turned, she darted ahead of her 
companions. Syomka tugged at his father's 
coat-tail. 

"Papanka, why do they keep whirling 
round? That's the sixth time they've done 
it!" 

"Shut up ! They know what they're about, 
stupid. Keep quiet!" said Nikita in a 
whisper, himself hopelessly at sea. 

"Why don't they let 'em race?" mutttered 
Syomka. "They ain't dancing a quadrille!" 

"Tur-urn! .. .Steady, the field! Loutosh- 
kin, steady — back!" thundered the man 
with the flag; the next moment he jerked 
it downwards and barked: 

"Off!" 

The bell clanged from above. Sinitsin's 
crimson jacket flashed to the front. The 
Grandson, outstripping the rest, promptly 
swallowed up the space between him and 
the mare Chicane, but, to Nikita's horror, 
lunged suddenly and galloped. Nikita 
caught sight of Loutoshkin's face — the 
mouth twisted, the bulging eyes fixed on 
the crimson jacket forging ahead close to 
the rails — noticed the convulsive jerk he 



gave the reins, and his back bent like a taut 
spring. 

The Grandson checked himself, tossed up 
his head, and plunged. 

Sinitsin's backers cheered and yelped: 
"He's well away!" 

"That was a fine trick he showed Lou- 
toshkin!" 

"It's all over but the shouting now!" 

"What can he do against that mare ? Two 
fifteen!— he can't beat that!" 

The fat man with the field-glasses, who 
had watched the start with unwonted agita- 
tion, turned in triumph to Bourmin. "Well, 
what do you say now.f* Hounded off the 
course, eh ? Do you know what a pace that 
mare's trotting at? Hee-hee-hee! Just like 
her dam, Tina! No wonder they let her 
draw Telyegin's hearse!" 

He took out the ticket with the number i, 
flicked it up with his thumb, and added: 
"It's a dead sure thing, safe as the bank!" 

Loutoshkin was quite unprepared for the 
Grandson's break. When the colt galloped, 
the thought that he must lose the race un- 
nerved him. In a flash he saw Nikita's 

face — and Syomka's He remembered 

Saphir, somewhere in that crowd Its up- 
roar overwhelmed his reason. 

"I'm beat!" he thought. "I'll never catch 
him!" 

But the languid fit, the wave of despair, 
passed swiftly, and a moment later Lou- 
toshkin mustered his faculties and launched 
his will like a stream of fire through the 
steel bit into the colt's body. 

The Grandson shook his head, as if to 
free himself from the steel that fretted him, 
but the bit was speaking to him now, com- 
manding him to throw his near foot for- 
ward. For a moment he jibbed, and shifted 
his feet awkwardly; then, striking his 






4 *»< ' 




Flattery's 

proper trot, he strung himself out in fierce 
pursuit of the horses far in front of him. 

The stop-watch in the driver's left ticked 
out the seconds lost. Loutoshkin reckoned 
his own speed, appraised the powers of his 
opponents, and the distance between him 
and each of them. Swiftly the Grandson 
closed on them, rounded the bend on the 
inner side ; and as he came into the straight, 
Loutoshkin swung him out boldly from the 
rails. It was touch and go. 

The Grandson's break had thrown out 
Loutoshkin's calculations. He must be care- 
ful how he urged him, or he would break 
again. But the Grandson responded so 
promptly and streaked forward so effort- 
lessly that Loutoshkin was possessed with 
a sudden confidence, a triumphant ecstasy: 
that ecstasy which transmutes cool crafts- 
manship into creative force — ^when horse 
and driver mingled their essence, when the 
impossible is assured and they know only 
themselves and their exultant purpose. For 
a moment, ever memorable to Loutoshkin, 
time stood still. The path before him was 
illumined, the holiday brightness of the 
crowds enhanced — all was transfigured by 
the magic hue of passion; his heart leaped 
with the joy of battle, his eyes shone with 
the light of victory. 

Cries burst from the rapt spectators: 
"Look, look! Loutoshkin's off! What a lick 
he's going at!" 

Dozens of hostile voices answered: "Chi- 
cane's got the heels of him, all right!" 

"Lost more than three seconds when he 
broke! Won't make that up in a hurry!" 

"That break's settled his hash!" 

"He can't possibly win against that mare," 
affirmed the experts. "Sinitsin's going easily, 
he's got the race in his pocket." 

When Nikita saw that the Grandson had 



Foal Tog 

recovered and was catching up with the 
other horses, he plucked Syomka by the 
tail of his long shirt and panted: "Say your 
*Angcls and archangels,' for Grandson to 
get the cup! Say it, boy!" 

"I don't know it!" 

'Say it, you little stinkard! Now then, 
out with it!" 

Nikita himself did not know the prayer, 
except for the first two words, which he 
kept whispering fervently, never taking his 
eyes off the horses, which had now turned 
into the straight. 

In front came the little mare, a few 
lengths from the rest. But suddenly the field 
seemed spellbound. From the side it looked 
as if they had all stopped and only the 
grey colt were moving. The crimson jacket 
floated back, Loutoshkin's indigo pressed 
on, drew level, vanished behind it, and 
crept slowly to the front; farther he came, 
and faster, hugging the rails now. Chicane 
dropped back, yielding position and pre- 
eminence to the Grandson. Sinitsin's whip 
was going like a flail. 

Nikita and Syomka climbed the barrier 
and, squatting down, slapping their ribs and 
thighs, cried to each other and the world 
at large: "See there!... See there!... Our 
colt's winning! Yes, it's our colt, the Grand- 
son!... See how he's coming on!" 

Higher and higher surged the tumult. 
The public swarmed on the benches, the 
railings of the boxes, the balustrades flank- 
ing the steps. Loutoshkin forged relentlessly 
ahead. The gap between the Grandson and 
Chicane rapidly lengthened. The Grandson 
was now near the post, but Loutoshkin still 
kept urging him. 

"What's the man doing .^^ He's won al- 
ready!" shouted an onlooker. 

"Must have gone crazy!" said another. 

Nikita looked round at the great, bawling 



210 



Peter Ale\seeinch Shiriaev 



face of Moscow and in a frenzy of local 
patriotism tore oft" his cap, whirled it round 
his head, and smacked it on his knee. "Go 
it, Grandson! . . . Eykh, you're a beauty! . . . 
That's our Shatnyevka breed! Go it!'* 

"Is he trying to leave 'em all behind the 
flag?" said voices. 

"Yes, and he'll do it!" others answered. 

Aristarkh Bourmin turned to the fat man. 
"Where's your Chicane now.f^" he rasped. 

"Well, what do you expect?" exploded 
the fat man. 'Plain as a pike-staff! Loutosh- 
kin was always a trickster; he's had this 
dark horse up his sleeve; backed him him- 
self, of course, and . . ." 

"Not a dark horse, my dear sir, an 
Orlo-ffr said Bourmin haughtily. 

"Taglioni's Grandson an Orloff !" sneered 
the fat man. "How do you make that out ? 
Grandsire three-quarters American — sired 
by Heubingen — granddam a cross-breed — 
sired by Baron Rogers — and you say his 
grandson's an Orloff!" 

With that he pressed his bulk half over 
the barrier and howled at the oncoming 
Loutoshkin: "Swin-dler! Thief! Scoun- 
drel!" 

And again he turned spitefully to Bour- 
min, whose face paled as he watched the 
colt, now nearly abreast of them: *May I 
point out once more that that colt owes his 
speed to the American Taglioni!" 

"To his Orloff blood, you mean. , , , A fig 



for your Taglioni!" Bourmin shouted in 
the fat man's face. He rose, majestically 
erect. "His dam, the grey Flattery, was in 
my stable. In those days I owned her." 

"Vanished like a dream, those days, 
Aristarkh Sergyeevitch!" the fat man 
sighed, addressing Bourmin by name for 
the first time. He crushed his useless ticket 
in his palm. "You might care to know that 
I, too, owned a stud-farm once; it vanished." 

Bourmin had not listened. He was al- 
ready stalking out towards the gate, with 
upflung head and black beard bristling 
disdain. 

As he came to the finish straight, Lou- 
toshkin raised his whip. At its touch the 
Grandson shot forward like a bolt from a 
catapult, finishing in record time. The 
stands rocked and roared with jubilation. 
As the colt slowed up, the public saw two 
uncouth figures make a dash at him. 

Having weighed in, Loutoshkin stepped 
down from the sulky and approached 
Nikita. 

Never had he seen such joy on the face 
of man. And the knowledge that he, Lou- 
toshkin, was the author of this joy in a 
humble peasant's heart rejoiced his own; 
the eternal, close-fenced circle of the hippo- 
drome snapped — and a bright path 
streamed from it, far off, to the simple 
hearts, the smiling plains of human 
happiness. , , . 



JESSAMYN WEST (contemporary) 



First Day Finish 



from THE FRIENDLY PERSUASION 



Here, to my mind, is one of the finest modern stories concerning horses, 
and Jessamyn West is greatly to be congratulated. The humor and 
originality of the plot, the vivid, picturesque dialogue, the really beau- 
tiful descriptions, ma\e the story one that should be long remembered. 



V^ W ghee's home, Lady," Jess told his 
I mare. 

JlL They had made the trip in jig 
time. The sun was still up, catalpa shadows 
long across the grass, and mud daubers still 
busy about the horse trough, gathering a 
few last loads before nightfall, when Lady 
turned in the home driveway. 

Jess loosened the reins, so that on their 
first homecoming together they could 
round the curve to the barn with a little 
flourish of arrival. It was a short-lived 
flourish, quickly subsiding when Jess caught 
sight of the Reverend Marcus Augustus 
Godley's Black Prince tied to the hitching 
rack. 

"Look who's here," Jess told his mare 
and they came in slow and seemly as be- 
fitted travelers with forty weary miles 
behind them. 

The Reverend Godley himself, shading 
his eyes from the low sun, stepped to the 
barn door when his Black Prince nickered. 

Jess lit stiffly down and was standing at 



Lady's head when the Reverend Marcus 
Augustus reached them. 

"Good evening, Marcus," said Jess. "Thee 
run short of something over at thy placer" 

"Welcome home," said Reverend Godley, 
never flinching. "I was hunting, with 
Enoch's help, a bolt to fit my seeder," he 
told Jess, but he never took his eyes off 
Lady. 

He was a big man, fat but not pursy, 
with a full red face preaching had kept 
supple and limber. A variety of feelings, 
mostly painful, flickered across it now as he 
gazed at Jess's mare. 

He opened and shut his mouth a couple 
of times, but all he managed to say was, 
"Where'd you come across that animal, 
Friend Bir dwell .^" 

"Kentucky," Jess said shortly. 

"I'm a Kentuckian myself." The Reve- 
rend Godley marveled that the state that 
had fathered him could have produced such 
horseflesh. 



211 



212 Jessamyn 

"You trade Re J Rover for this?" he 
asked. 

Jess rubbed his hand along Lady's neck. 
**The mare's name is Lady," he said. 

"Lady!" the preacher gulped, then threw 
back his big head and disturbed the evening 
air with laughter. 

"Friend," Jess said, watching the big bulk 
heave, "tliy risibilities are mighty near the 
surface this evening." 

The Reverend Godley wiped the tears 
from his face and ventured another look. 
"It's just the cleavage," he said. "The rift 
bet\veen the name and looks." 

"That's a matter of opinion," Jess told 
him, "but Lady is the name." 

The preacher stepped off a pace or two 
as if to try the advantage of a new per- 
spective on the mare's appearance, clapped 
a handful of Sen-sen into his mouth, and 
chewed reflectively. 

"I figure it this way," he told Jess. "You 
bought that animal Red Rover. Flashy as 
sin and twice as unreliable. First little brush 
you have with me and my cob. Red Rover 
curdles on you — goes sourer than a crock 
of cream in a June storm. What's the na- 
tural thing to do?" 

The Reverend Godley gave his talk a 
pulpit pause and rested his big thumbs in 
his curving watch chain. 

"The natural thing to do? Why, just 
what you done. Give speed the go-by. Say 
Farewell to looks. Get yourself a beast 
sound in wind and limb and at home be- 
hind a plow. Friend," he commended Jess, 
"you done the right thing, though I'm free 
to admit I never laid eyes before on a beast 
of such dimensions. 

"Have some Sen-sen?" he asked amiably. 
"Does wonders for the breath." Jess shook 
his head. 

"Well/' he continued, "I want you to 



West 

know — Sunday mornings on the way to 
church, when I pass you, there's nothing 
personal in it. That morning when I went 
round you and Red Rover, I somehow got 
the idea you's taking it personal. Speed's an 
eternal verity, friend, an eternal verity. 
Nothing personal. The stars shine. The 
grass withereth. The race is to the swift. 
A fast horse passes a slow one. An eternal 
verity. Friend Bird well. You're no preacher, 
but your wife is. She understands these 
things. Nothing personal. Like gravitation, 
like life, like death. A law of God. Nothing 
personal. 

"The good woman will be hallooing for 
me," he said, gazing up the pike toward 
his own farm a quarter of a mile away. He 
took another look at Jess's new mare. 

"Name's Lady," he said, as if reminding 
himself. "Much obliged for the bolt. Friend 
Birdwell. Me and my cob'U see you 
Sunday." 

Enoch stepped out from the barn door 
as the Reverend Godley turned down the 
driveway. 

"Figure I heard my sermon for the 
week," he said. 

"He's got an endurin' flock," Jess told 
his hired man. 

"Cob?" Enoch asked. "What's he mean 
aways calling that animal of his a cob? 
He ignorant?" 

"Not ignorant — smooth," Jess said. "Cob's 
just his way of saying Black Prince's no 
ordinary beast without coming straight out 
with so undraped a word as stallion." 

The two men turned with one accord 
from Godley 's cob to Jess's Lady. Enoch's 
green eyes flickered knowingly; his long 
freckled hand touched Lady's muscled 
shoulder lightly, ran down the powerful 
legs, explored the deep chest. 



The Friendly 

"There's more here, Mr. Birdwell, than 
meets the eye ?" 

Jess nodded. 

"As far as looks goes/* Enoch said, "the 
Reverend called the turn." 

"As far as looks goes," Jess agreed. 

"She part Morgan?" 

"Half," Jess said proudly. 

Enoch swallowed. "How'd you swing 
it.?" 

"Providence," Jess said. "Pure Providence. 
Widow woman wanted a pretty horse and 
one that could be passed." 

"Red Rover," Enoch agreed, and added 
softly, "The Reverend was took in." 

"He's a smart man," said Jess. "We'd 
best not bank on it. But by sugar, Enoch, 
I tell thee I was getting tired of taking 
Eliza down the pike to Meeting every 
First Day like a tail to Godley's comet. 
Have him start late, go round me, then slow 
down so's we'd eat dust. Riled me so I was 
arriving at Meeting in no fit state to wor- 
ship." 

"You give her a tryout — coming home.?" 
Enoch asked guardedly. 

"I did, Enoch," Jess said solemnly. "This 
horse, this Morgan mare named Lady, got 
the heart of a lion and the wings of a bird. 
Nothing without pinfeathers is going to 
pass her." 

"It's like Mr. Emerson says," said Enoch 
earnestly. 

Jess nodded. "Compensation," he agreed. 
"A clear case of it and her pure due con- 
sidering the looks she's got." 

"You figure on this Sunday.?" Enoch 
asked. 

"Well," Jess said, "I plan to figure on 
nothing. Thee heard the Reverend Marcus 
Augustus. A fast horse goes round a slow 
one. Eternal law. If Black Prince tries to 
pass us First Day — and don't — it's just a 



Persuasion 213 

law, just something eternal. And mighty 
pretty, Enoch, like the stars." 

"A pity," Enoch said reflecting, "The 
Reverend's young 'uns all so piddling and 
yours such busters. It'll tell on your mare." 

"A pity," Jess acquiesced, "but there it is. 
Eliza'd never agree to leave the children 
home from Meeting." 

Enoch ruminated, his fingers busy with 
Lady's harness. "What'U your wife say to 
this mare? Been a considerable amount of 
trading lately." 

"Say?" said Jess. "Thee heard her. 'Ex- 
change Red Rover for a horse not racy- 
looking.' This mare racy-looking?" 

"You have to look twice to see it," Enoch 
admitted. 

"Eliza don't look twice at a horse. I'll 
just lead Lady up now for Eliza to see. She 
don't hold with coming down to the barn 
while men's about." 

Jess took Lady from the shafts and led 
her between rows of currant bushes up to 
the house. Dusk was come now, lamps were 
lit. Inside, Eliza and the children were 
waiting for their greeting until the men 
had had their talk. 

"Lady," Jess said fondly, "I want thee 
to see thy mistress." 

The rest of the week went by, mild and 
very fair, one of those spells in autumn 
when time seems to stand still. Clear davs 
with a wind which would die down by 
afternoon. The faraway Sandusky ridges 
seemed to have moved up to the orchard's 
edge. The purple ironwxed, the farewell 
summer, the goldenrod, stood untrembling 
beneath an unclouded skv. Onto the corn 
standing shocked in the fields, gold light 
softer than arrows, but as pointed, fell. A 
single crow at dusk would drop in a slow 
arc against the distant wood to show that 



214 Jessamyn 

not all had died. Indian summer can be a 
time of great content. 

First Day turned up pretty. Just before 
the start for Meeting, Jess discovered a hub 
cap missing off the surrey. 

"Lost?" asked Eliza. 

"I wouldn't say lost," Jess told her. "Miss- 



ing. 



Odd thing, a pity^ to be sure, but there it 
was. Nothing for it but for him and Eliza 
to ride to meeting in the cut-down buggy 
and leave tlie children behind. Great pity, 
but there it was. 

Eliza stood in the yard in her First Day 
silk. "J^ss," she said in a balky voice, "this 
isn't my idea of what's seemly. A preacher 
going to Meeting in a cut-down rig like this. 
Looks more like heading for the trotting 
races at the county fair than preaching." 

Jess said, "Thee surprises me, Eliza. Thee 
was used to put duty before appearance. 
Friend Fox was content to tramp the roads 
to reach his people. Thee asks for thy surrey, 
fresh blacking on the dashboard and a new 
whip in the socket." 

He turned away sadly. "The Lord's 
people are everywhere grown more 
worldly," he said, looking dismally at the 
ground. 

It didn't set good with Jess, pushing Eliza 
against her will that way — and he wasn't 
too sure it was going to work. But the name 
Fox got her. When she was a girl she'd 
set out to bring the Word to people, the 
way Fox had done, and he'd have gone, 
she knew, to Meeting in a barrow, if need 
be. 

So that's the way they started out, and 
in spite of the rig, Eliza was lighthearted 
and holy-feeling. When they pulled out on 
the pike, she was pleased to note the mare's 
gait was better than her looks. Lady picked 



West 

up her feet like she knew what to do with 
them. 

"Thee's got a good-pulling mare, Jess," 
she said kindly. 

"She'll get us there, I don't misdoubt," 
Jess said. 

They'd rounded the first curve below 
the clump of maples that gave Maple Grove 
Nursery its name when the Reverend 
Godley bore down upon them. Neither 
bothered to look back, both knew the heavy, 
steady beat of Black Prince's hoofs. 

Eliza settled herself in the cut-down rig, 
her Bible held comfortably in her lap. "It 
taxes the imagination," she said, "how a 
man church-bound can have his mind so 
set on besting another. Don't thee think so, 
Jess.?" 

"It don't tax mine," Jess said, thinking 
honesty might be the only virtue he'd get 
credit for that day. 

Eliza was surprised not to see Black 
Prince pulling abreast them. It was here 
on the long stretch of level road that Black 
Prince usually showed them his heels. 

"Thee'd best pull over, Jess," she said. 

"I got no call to pull out in the ditch," 
Jess said. "The law allows me half the 
road." 

The mare hadn't made any fuss about it 
— no head-shaking, no fancy footwork — ^but 
she'd settled down in her harness, she 
was traveling. It was plain to Eliza they 
were eating up the road. 

"Don't thee think we'd better pull up, 
Jess.?" Eliza said it easy, so as not to stir up 
the contrary streak that wasn't buried very 
deep in her husband. 

"By sugar," Jess said, "I don't see why.'^ 

As soon as Eliza heard that "by sugar" 
spoken as bold-faced as if it were a weekday, 



The Friendly 

she knew it was too late for soft words. "By 
sugar" Jess said again, "I don't see why. The 
Reverend Godley's got half the road and 
I ain't urging my mare." 

It depended on what you called urging. 
He hadn't taken to lambasting Lady with 
his hat yet, the way he had Red Rover, but 
he was sitting on the edge of his seat — and 
sitting mighty light, it was plain to see — 
driving the mare with an easy rein and 
talking to her like a weanling. 

"Thee's a fine mare. Thee's a tryer. Thee's 
a credit to thy dam. Never have to think 
twice about thy looks again." 

Maybe, strictly speaking, that was just 
encouraging, not urging, but Eliza wasn't 
in a hairsplitting mood. 

She looked back at the Reverend Marcus 
Augustus, and no two ways about it: he 
was urging Black Prince. The Reverend 
Godley's cob wasn't a length behind them 
and the Reverend himself was half stand- 
ing, slapping the reins across Black Prince's 
rump and exhorting him like a sinner 
newly come to the mourner's bench. 

This was a pass to which Eliza hadn't 
thought to come twice in a lifetime — twice 
in a lifetime to be heading for Meeting like 
a county fair racer in a checkered shirt. 

"Nothing lacking now," she thought 
bitterly, "but for bets to be laid on us." 

That wasn't lacking, either, if Eliza had 
only known it. They'd come in view of the 
Bethel Church now, and more than one of 
Godley's flock had got so carried away by 
the race as to try for odds on their own 
preacher. It didn't seem loyal not to back up 
their Kentucky brother with hard cash. 
Two to one the odds were — with no takers. 

The Bethel Church sat atop a long, low 
rise, not much to the eye — ^but it told on 
a light mare pulling against a heavy stal- 
lion, and it was here Black Prince began to 



Persuasion 215 

close in; before the rise was half covered, 
the stallion's nose was pressing toward the 
buggy's back wheel. 

Jess had given up encouraging. He was 
urging now. Eliza lifted the hat ofF his 
head. Come what might, there wasn't going 
to be any more hat-whacking if she could 
help it — Jess was beyond knowing whether 
his head was bare or covered. He was pull- 
ing with his mare now, sweating with her, 
sucking the air into scalding lungs with 
her. Lady had slowed on the rise — she'd 
have been dead if she hadn't — but she was 
still a-going, still trying hard. Only the 
Quaker blood in Jess's veins kept him 
from shouting with pride at his mare's 
performance. 

The Reverend Godley didn't have 
Quaker blood in his veins. What he had 
was Kentucky horse-racing blood, and 
when Black Prince got his nose opposite 
Lady's rump Godley's racing blood got the 
best of him. He began to talk to his cob 
in a voice that got its volume from camp- 
meeting practice — and its vocabulary, too, 
as a matter of fact — but he was using it in 
a fashion his camp-meeting congregation 
had never heard. 

They were almost opposite the Bethel 
Church now; Black Prince had nosed up 
an inch or two more on Lady and the 
Reverend Godley was still strongly ex- 
horting — getting mighty personal, for a 
man of his convictions. 

But Lady was a stayer and so was Jess. 
And Eliza too, for that matter. Jess spared 
her a glance out of the corner of his eye 
to see how she was faring. She was faring 
mighty well — sitting bolt upright, her Bible 
tightly clasped, and clucking to the mare. 
Jess couldn't credit what he heard. But 
there was no doubt about it — Eliza was 
counseling Lady. "Thee keep a-going. 



2i6 Jessamyn 

Lady," she called. Eliza hadn't camp-meet- 
ing experience, but she had a good clear 
pulpit voice and Lady heard her. 

She kept a-going. She did better. She un- 
loosed a spurt of speed Jess hadn't known 
was in her. Lady was used to being held 
back, not yelled at in a brush. Yelling got 
her dander up. She stretched out her long 
neck, lengthened her powerful stride, and 
pulled away from Black Prince just as they 
reached the Bethel Church grounds. 

Jess thought the race was won and over, 
that from here on the pace to Meeting 
could be more suitable to First Dav travel. 
But the Reverend Godley had no mind to 
stop at so critical a juncture. He'd wrestled 
with sinners too long to give up at the first 
setback. He figured the mare was weaken- 
ing. He figured that with a strong stayer like 
his Black Prince he'd settle the matter easy 
in the half mile that lay between Bethel 
Church and the Quaker Meetinghouse at 
Rush Branch. He kept a-coming. 

But one thins" he didn't figure — that was 
that the slope from Bethel to Rush Branch 
was against him. Lady had a downhill 
grade now. It was all she needed. She didn't 
pull away from Black Prince in any 
whirlwind style, but stride by stride she 
pulled away. 

It was a great pity Jess's joy in that brush 
had to be marred. He'd eaten humble pie 
some time now, and he was pleasured 
through and through to be doing the dish- 
ing up himself. And he was pleasured for 
the mare's sake. 

But neither w^inning nor his mare's pleas- 
ure was first with Jess. Eliza was. There 
she sat, white and suffering, holding her 
Bible like it was the Rock of Ages from 
which she'd come mighty near to clean slip- 
ping off. Jess knew Eliza had a forgiving 



West 

heart when it came to others — ^but w^hether 
she could forgive herself for getting heated 
over a horse race the way she'd done, he 
couldn't say. 

And the worst for Eliza was yet to come. 
Jess saw that clear enough. When Lady and 
Black Prince had pounded past Godley's 
church, a number of the Bethel brediren, 
who had arrived early and were still in their 
rigs, set out behind the Reverend Marcus 
Augustus to be in at the finish. And they 
were going to be. Their brother was losing, 
but they were for him still, close behind and 
encouraging him in a v/holehearted way. 
The whole caboodle was going to sweep 
behind Jess and Eliza into the Quaker 
churchyard. They wouldn't linger, but Jess 
feared they'd turn around there before 
heading back. And that's the way it was. 

Lady was three lengths ahead of Black 
Prince when they reached the Rush Branch 
Meetinghouse. Jess eased her for the turn, 
made it on tw^o wheels, and drew in close to 
the church. The Bethelites swooped in be- 
hind him and on out — plainly beat but not 
subdued. The Reverend Marcus Augustus 
was the only man among them without a 
word to say. He was as silent as a tomb- 
stone and considerablv crrimmer. Even his 
fancy vest looked to have faded. 

The Quakers waiting in the yard for 
Meeting to begin were quiet, too. Jess 
couldn't tell from their faces what they 
were feeling; but there was no use thinking 
that tliey considered what they'd just wit- 
nessed an edifvin^ si^ht. Not for a weekdav 
even, that mess of rigs hitting it down the 
pike with all diat hullabaloo — let alone to 
First Day and their preacher up front, lead- 
ing it, 

Jess asked a boy to look after Lady. He 
was so taken up with Ehza he no more than 
laid a fond hand on Lady's hot flank in 



The Friendly 

passing. He helped Eliza light down, and 
set his hat on his head when she handed it 
to him. Eliza looked mighty peaked and 
withdrawn, like a woman communing 
with her Lord. 

She bowed to her congregation and they 
bowed back and she led them out of the 
sunshine into the Meetinghouse with no 
word being spoken on either side. She 
walked to the preacher's bench, laid her 
Bible quietly down, and untied her bonnet 
strings. 

Jess sat rigid in his seat among the men. 
Jess was a birthright Quaker — and his father 
and grandfathers before him — and he'd 
known Quakers to be read out of Meeting 
for less. 

Eliza laid her little plump hands on her 
Bible and bowed her head in silent prayer. 
Jess didn't know how long it lasted — some- 
times it seemed stretching out into eternity, 
but Quakers were used to silent worship, 
and he was the only one who seemed res- 
tive. About the time the ice round Jess's 
heart was hardening past his enduring, 
Eliza's sweet, cool, carrying voice said, "If 
the spirit leads any of thee to speak, will 
thee speak now?" 

Then Eliza lowered her head again — 
but Jess peered round the Meetinghouse. He 
thought he saw a contented look on most 
of the faces — nothing that went so far as 
to warm into a smile, but a look that said 
they were satisfied the way the Lord had 
handled things. And the spirit didn't move 
any member of the congregation to speak 
that day except for the prayers of two 
elderly Friends in closing. 

The ride home was mighty quiet. They 
drove past Bethel Church, where the ser- 
mon had been short — for all the hitching 
racks were empty. Lady carried diem along 
proud and untired. Enoch and the children 



Persuasion 217 

met them down the pike a ways from home 
and Jess nodded the good news to Enoch — 
but he couldn't glory in it the way he'd like 
because of Eliza. 

Eliza was kind, but silent. Very silent. 
She s{X)ke when spoken to, did her whole 
duty by the children and Jess, but in all the 
ways that made Eliza most herself, she was 
absent and withdrawn. 

Toward evening Jess felt a little dauncy 
— a pain beneath the ribs, heart, or stomach, 
he couldn't say which. He thought he'd 
brew himself a cup of sassafras tea, take it 
to bed and drink it there, and maybe find a 
little ease. 

It was past nightfall when Jess entered 
his and Eliza's chamber, but there was a 
full moon and by its light he saw Eliza 
sitting at the east window in her white 
nightdress, plaiting her bbck hair. 

"Jess," asked Eliza, noting the cup he car- 
ried, "has thee been taken ill?" 

"No," Jess said, "no," his pain easing off 
of itself when he heard by the tones of 
Eliza's voice that she was restored to him — 
forgiving and gentle, letting bygones be 
bygones. 

"Eliza," he asked, "wouldn't thee like a 
nice hot cup of sassafras tea?" 

"Why, yes, Jess," Eliza said. "That'd be 
real refreshing." 

Jess carried Eliza her cup of tea walking 
down a path of roses the moon had lit up in 
the ingrain carpet. 

He stood, while she drank it, with his 
hand on her chair, gazing out of the win- 
dow: the whole upcurve and embowered 
sweep of the earth soaked in moonlight — 
hill and wood lot, orchard and silent river. 
And beneath that sheen his own rooftree, 
and all beneath it, peaceful and at rest. Lady 
in her stall, Enoch reading Emerson, the 
children long abed. 



2l8 



Jessatnyn West 



" 'Sweet day',** he said, " *so cool, so calm, 
so bright, tlie bridal of the earth and sky'." 

And though he felt so pensive and repose- 
ful, still the bridge of his big nose wrinkled 
up, his ribs shook with laughter. 

Eliza felt the movement of his laughing 
in her chair. "What is it^ Jess ?" she asked. 



Jess stopped laughing, but said nothing. 
He figured Eliza had gone about as far 
in one day as a woman could in enlarging 
her appreciation of horseflesh; still he 
couldn't help smiling when he thought of 
the sermon that might have been preached 
in the Bethel Church upon eternal verities. 



R. D. BLACKMORE (1825-1900) 



A Rough Ride 



from LORNA DOONE 



Surely nowhere in English literature will you find a more beautiful and 
inspiring description than this, of how John Ridd rode the highways 
mans horse that was reputed to be a witch. The beautiful rhythm of the 
writing brings to mind that other poetical description, given on page 
75 of this boo\, of how the horse thief tried to ride Pegasus.* And the 
analogies are superb. 




ell, young uns, what be gaping 
at?" He gave pretty Annie a 
chuck on the chin, and took 
me all in without winking. 

"Your mare," said I, standing stoutly up, 
being a tall boy now; "I never saw such a 
beauty, sir. Will you let me have a ride of 
her?" 

"Think thou couldst ride her, lad? She 
will have no burden but mine. Thou couldst 
never ride her. Tut! I would be loath to kill 
thee." 

"Ride her!" I cried with the bravest scorn, 
for she looked so kind and gentle; "there 
never was a horse upon Exmoor foaled, but 
I could tackle in half an hour. Only I never 
ride upon saddle. Take them leathers off 
of her." 

* The Horse Thief, by William Rose Benet. 



He looked at me with a dry Httle whistle, 
and thrust his hands into his breeches- 
pockets, and so grinned that I could not 
stand it. And Annie laid hold of me in such 
a way that I was almost mad with her. And 
he laughed, and approved her for doing so. 
And the worst of all was — ^he said nothing. 

"Get away, Annie, will you? Do you 
think I'm a fool, good sir! Only trust me 
with her, and I will not override her." 

"For that I will go bail, my son. She is 
liker to override thee. But the ground is soft 
to fall upon, after all this rain. Now come 
out into the yard, young man, for the sake 
of your mother's cabbages. And the mellow 
straw-bed will be softer for thee, since pride 
must have its fall. I am thy mother's cousin, 
boy, and am going up to house. Tom 



219 



220 



R. D. Blac\more 



Faggus is my name, as everybody knows; 
and this is my young mare, Winnie." 

What a fool I must have been not to know 
it at once ! Tom Faggus, the great highw^ay- 
man, and his young blood-mare, the straw- 
berry! Already her fame was noised abroad, 
nearly as much as her master's; and my 
longing to ride her grew tenfold, but fear 
came at the back of it. Not diat I had the 
smallest fear of what the mare could do to 
me, by fair play and horse-trickery, but 
that the glory of sitting upon her seemed to 
be too great for me ; especially as there were 
rumours abroad that she was not a mare 
after all, but a witch. However, she looked 
like a filly all over, and wonderfully beauti- 
ful, with her supple stride, and soft slope 
of shoulder, and glossy coat beaded with 
water, and prominent eyes full of docile 
fire. Whether this came from her Eastern 
blood of the Arabs newly imported, and 
whether the cream-colour, mixed with our 
bay, led to that bright strawberry tint, is 
certainly more than I can decide, being 
chiefly acquaint with farm-horses. And 
these come of any colour and form; you 
never can count what they will be, and 
are lucky to get four legs to them. 

Mr. Faggus gave his mare a wink, and 
she walked demurely after him, a bright 
young thing, flowing over with life, yet 
dropping her soul to a higher one, and led 
by love to anything; as the manner is of 
females, when they know what is the best 
for them. Then Winnie trod lightly upon 
the straw, because it had soft muck under 
it, and her delicate feet came back again. 

"Up for it still, boy, be ye V Tom Faggus 
stopped, and the mare stopped there; and 
they looked at me provokingly. 

"Is she able to leap, sir.? There is good 
take-off on this side of the brook." 



Mr. Faggus laughed very quietly, turning 
round to Winnie so that she might enter 
into it. And she, for her part, seemed to 
know exactly where the fun lay. 

"Good tumble-off, you mean, my boy. 
Well, there can be small harm to thee. I 
am akin to thy family, and know the sub- 
stance of their skulls." 

"Let me get up," said I, waxing wroth, 
for reasons I cannot tell you, because they 
are too manifold; "take ofT your saddle-bag 
things. I will try not to squeeze her ribs 
in, unless she plays nonsense with me." 

Then Mr. Faggus was up on his mettle, 
at this proud speech of mine; and John 
Fry was running up all the while, and Bill 
Dadds, and half a dozen. Tom Faggus 
gave one glance around, and then dropped 
all regard for me. The high repute of his 
mare was at stake, and what was my life 
compared to it ? Through my defiance, and 
stupid ways, here was I in a duello, and my 
legs not come to their strength yet, and my 
arms as limp as a herring. 

Something of this occurred to him, even 
in his wrath with me, for he spoke very 
softly to the filly, who now could scarce 
subdue herself; but she drew in her nostrils, 
and breathed to his breath, and did all she 
could to answer him. 

"Not too hard, my dear," he said; "let 
him gently down on the mixen. That will 
be quite enough." Then he turned the sad- 
dle off, and I was up in a moment. She 
began at first so easily, and pricked her 
ears so lovingly, and minced about as if 
pleased to find so light a weight upon her, 
that I thought she knew I could ride a little, 
and feared to show any capers. "Gee wugg, 
Polly!" cried I, for all the men were now 
looking on, being then at the leaving-ofl 
time; "Gee wugg, Polly, and show what 



Lorna Doone 



221 



thou be'est made of." With that I plugged 
my heels into her, and Billy Dadds flung 
his hat up. 

Nevertheless, she outraged not, though 
her eyes were frightening Annie, and John 
Fry took a pick to keep him safe; but she 
curbed to and fro with her strong forearms 
rising like springs ingathered, waiting and 
quivering grievously, and beginning to 
sweat about it. Then her master gave a 
shrill clear whistle, when her ears were 
bent towards him, and I felt her form be- 
neath me gathering up like whalebone, and 
her hind-legs coming under her, and I 
knew that I was in for it. 

First she reared upright in the air, and 
struck me full on the nose with her comb, 
till I bled worse than Robin Snell made me; 
and then down with her fore-feet deep in 
the straw, and her hind-feet going to 
heaven. Finding me stick to her still like 
wax, for my mettle was up as hers was, 
away she flew with me swifter than ever I 
went before, or since, I trow. She drove full- 
head at the cob-wall — "Oh, Jack, slip off," 
screamed Annie — then she turned like light, 
when I thought to crush her, and ground 
my left knee against it. "Mux me," I cried, 
for my breeches were broken, and short 
words went the furthest — "if you kill 
me, you shall die with me." Then she took 
the courtyard gate at a leap, knocking my 
words between my teeth, and then right 
over a quick set hedge, as if the sky were a 
breath to her; and away for the water- 
meadows, while I lay on her neck like a 
child at the breast, and wished I had never 



been born. Straight away, all in the front of 
the wind, and scattering clouds around her, 
all I knew of the speed we made was the 
frightful flash of her shoulders, and her 
mane like trees in a tempest. I felt the earth 
under us rushing away, and the air left far 
behind us, and my breath came and went, 
and I prayed to God, and was sorry to be 
so late of it. 

All the long swift while, without power 
of thought, I clung to her crest and shoul- 
ders, and dug my nails into her creases, 
and my toes into her flank-part, and was 
proud of holding on so long, though sure 
of being beaten. Then in her fury at feeling 
me still, she rushed at another device for it, 
and leaped the wide water-trough sideways 
across, to and fro, till no breath was left in 
me. The hazelboughs took me too hard in 
the face, and the tall dog-briers got hold of 
me, and the ache of my back was like 
crimping a fish; till I longed to give it up, 
thoroughly beaten, and lie there and die in 
the cresses. But there came a shrill whistle 
from up the home-hill, where the people 
had hurried to watch us; and the mare 
stopped as if with a bullet; then set off for 
home with the speed of a swallow, and 
going as smoothly and silently. I never had 
dreamed of such delicate motion, fluent, 
and graceful, and ambient, soft as the 
breeze flitting over the flowers, but swift 
as the summer lightning. I sat up again, 
but my strength was all spent, and no time 
left to recover it, and though she rose at 
our gate like a bird, I tumbled off into the 
mixen. 



DONN BITINE (1889-1928) 



Tale of the Gipsy Horse 



from DESTINY BAY 



Nowhere in literature is there a more colorful or a more loved horse 
story than this. Many have written of the ''raggle-taggle' gypsies, but 
here we have the aristocracy and pride of the gypsies. It is a story to 
which one returns over the years, never failing to find new flavor and 
new delight in its reading, 

O saddle me my milk white steed, 

Go and fetch me my pony, O! 

That I may ride and seek my bride, 

Who is gone with the raggle-taggle gypsies, 01 

* ANON. 



1 thought first of the old lady's face, in 
the candleHght of the dinner table at 
Destiny Bay, as some fine precious coin, 
a spade guinea perhaps, well and truly 
minted. How old she was I could not ven- 
ture to guess, but I knew well that when she 
was young men's heads must have turned as 
she passed. Age had boldened the features 
much, the proud nose and definite chin. 
Her hair was grey, vitally grey, like a grey 
wave curling in to crash on the sands of 
Destiny. And I knew that in another 
woman that hair would be white as 
scutched flax. When she spoke, the thought 
of the spade guinea came to me again, 



so rich and golden was her voice. 

"Lady Clontarf," said my uncle Valen- 
tine, "this is Kerry, Hector's boy." 

"May I call you Kerry? I am so old a 
woman and you are so much a boy. Also 
I knew your father. He was of that great 
line of soldiers who read their Bibles in 
their tents, and go into battle with a prayer 
in their hearts. I always seem to have 
known," she said, "that he would fondle no 
grey beard." 

"Madame," 1 said, "what should I be but 
Kerry to my father's friends!" 

It seemed to me that I must know her 
because of her proud high face, and her 



222 



Destiny 

eyes of a great lady, but the title of Clontarf 
made little impress on my brain. Our Irish 
titles have become so hawked and shop- 
worn that the most hallowed names in Ire- 
land may be borne by a porter brewer or 
former soap boiler. O'Conor Don and 
MacCarthy More mean so much more to 
us than the Duke of This or the Marquis 
of There, now the politics have so muddled 
chivalry. We may resent the presentation of 
this title or that to a foreigner, but what 
can you do.? The loyalty of the Northern 
Irishman to the Crown is a loyalty of head 
and not of heart. Out of our Northern 
country came the United Men, if you 
remember. But for whom should our hearts 
beat faster .f^ The Stuarts were never fond 
of us, and the Prince of Orange came over 
to us, talked a deal about liberty, was with 
us at a few battles, and went off to grow 
asparagus in England. It is so long since 
O'Neill and O'Donnell sailed for Spain! 

Who Lady Clontarf was I did not know. 
My uncle Valentine is so offhand in his 
presentations. Were you to come on him 
closeted with a heavenly visitant he would 
just say: "Kerry, the Angel Gabriel.'* 
Though as to what his Angelicness was 
doing with my uncle Valentine, you would 
be left to surmise. My uncle Valentine will 
tel you just as much as he feels you ought 
to know and no more — a quality that stood 
my uncle in good stead in the days when 
he raced and bred horses for racing. I did 
know one thing: Lady Clontarf was not 
Irish. There is a feeling of kindness between 
all us Irish that we recognise without speak- 
ing. One felt courtesy, gravity, dignity in 
her, but not that quality that makes your 
troubles another Irish person's troubles, if 
only for the instant. Nor was she English. 
One felt her spiritual roots went too deep 
for that. Nor had she that brilliant armour 



Bay 223 

of the Latin. Her speech was the ordinary 
speech of a gentlewoman, unaccented. Yet 
that remark about knowing my father 
would never fondle a grey beard! 

Who she was and all about her I knew 
I would find out later from my dear aunt 
Jenepher. But about the old drawing-room 
of Destiny there was a strange air of 
formality. My uncle Valentine is most 
courteous, but to-night he was courtly. He 
was like some Hungarian or Russian noble 
welcoming an empress. There was an air 
of deference about my dear aunt Jenepher 
that informed me that Lady Clontarf was 
very great indeed. Whom my aunt Jenepher 
likes is lovable, and whom she respects is 
clean and great. But the most extraordinary 
part of the setting was our butler James 
Carabine. He looked as if royalty were pres- 
ent, and I began to say to myself: "By damn, 
but royalty is! Lady Clontarf is only a 
racing name. I know that there's a queen 
or princess in Germany who's held by the 
Jacobites to be Queen of England. Can it 
be herself that's in it ? It sounds impossible, 
but sure there's nothing impossible where 
my uncle Valentine's concerned." 

At dinner the talk turned on racing, and 
my uncle Valentine inveighed bitterly 
against the new innovations on the track; 
the starting gate, and the new seat in- 
troduced by certain American jockeys, the 
crouch now recognised as orthodox in flat- 
racing. As to the value of the starting gate 
my uncle was open to conviction. He re- 
cognised how unfairly the apprentice was 
treated by the crack jockey with the old 
method of the flag, but he dilated on his 
favourite theme: that machinery was the 
curse of man. All these innovations — 

"But it isn't an innovation, sir. The 
Romans used it." 



224 Donn 

"YouVe a liar!'* said my uncle Valentine. 

My uncle Valentine, or any other Irish- 
man for the matter of that, only means that 
he doesn't believe you. There is a wide 
difterence. 

"I think I'm right, sir. The Romans used 
it for tlieir chariot races. They dropped the 
barrier instead of raising it." A tag of my 
classics came back to me, as tags will. "Re- 
pagtila suhrnittuntur, Pausanias writes." 

'Tausanias, begob!" My uncle Valentine 
was visibly impressed. 

But as to the new seat he was adamant. 
I told him competent judges had placed it 
about seven pounds' advantage to the horse. 

"There is only one place on a horse's 
back for a saddle," said my uncle Valentine. 
*'The shorter your leathers, Kerry, the less 
you know about your mount. You are only 
aware whether or not he is winning. With 
the ordinary seat, you know whether he is 
lazy, and can make proper use of your spur. 
You can stick to his head and help him." 

"Races are won with that seat, sir." 

"Be damned to that!" said my uncle 
Valentine. "If the horse is good enough, 
he'll win with the rider facing his tail." 

"But we are boring you, Madame," I 
said, "with our country talk of horses." 

"There are three things that are never 
boring to see: a swift swimmer swimming, 
a young girl dancing, and a young horse 
running. And three things that are never 
tiring to speak of: God, and love, and the 
racing of horses." 

"A \ushto jukel is also rin\eno, mi penl^ 
suddenly spoke our butler, James Carabine. 

"Dabla, James Carabine, you roller like a 
didakai. A ju\€l to catch hanangreT And 
Lady Clontarf laughed. "What in all the 
tern is as din\eno as a \ushti-di\in grai?" 

"A tatsheno ju\el, mi pen, like Rory 
Bosville's," James Carabine evidently stood 



Byrne 

his ground, "that noshered the Waterloo 
Cup tlirough wajro bo\r 

"Avali! You are right, James Carabine." 
And then she must have seen my astonished 
face, for she laughed, that small golden 
laughter that was like the ringing of an 
acolyte's bell. "Are you surprised to hear me 
speak the tau/lo tshib, the black language, 
Kerry ? I am a gypsy woman." 

"Lady Clontarf, Mister Kerry," said 
James Carabine, "is saying there is nothing 
in the world like a fine horse. I told her 
a fine greyhound is a good thing too. Like 
Rory Bosville's, that should have won the 
Waterloo Cup in Princess Dagmar's year." 

"Lady Clontarf wants to talk to you about 
a horse, Kerry," said my uncle Valentine. 
"So if you would like us to go into the gun- 
room, Jenepher, instead of the withdrawing 
room while you play — " 

"May I not hear about the horse too.f^" 
asked my aunt Jenepher. 

"My very, very dear," said the gypsy lady 
to my blind aunt Jenepher, "I would wish 
you to, for where you are sitting, there a 
blessing will be." 

My uncle Valentine had given up race 
horses for as long as I can remember. Ex- 
cept with Limerick Pride, he had never had 
any luck, and so he had quitted racing as 
an owner, and gone in for harness ponies, 
of which, it is admitted, he bred and 
showed the finest of their class. My own 
two chasers, while winning many good 
Irish races, were not quite up to Aintree 
form, but in the last year I happened to 
buy, for a couple of hundred guineas, a 
handicap horse that had failed signally as 
a three-year-old in classic races, and of 
which a fashionable stable wanted to get 
rid. It was Ducks and Drakes, by Drake's 
Drum out of Little Duck, a beautifully 



Destiny 

shaped, dark grey horse, rather short in the 
neck, but the English stable was convinced 
he was a hack. However, as often happens, 
with a change of trainers and jockeys. 
Ducks and Drakes became a different horse 
and won five good races, giving me so much 
in hand that I was able to purchase for a 
matter of nine hundred guineas a colt I was 
optimistic about, a son of Saint Simon's. 
Both horses were in training with Robinson 
at the Curragh. And now it occurred to 
me that the gypsy lady wanted to buy one 
or the other of them. I decided beforehand 
that it would be across my dead body. 

"Would you be surprised," asked my 
uncle Valentine, "to hear that Lady Clon- 
tarf has a horse she expects to win the Derby 
with?" 

"I should be delighted, sir, if she did," 
I answered warily. There were a hundred 
people who had hopes of their nominations 
in the greatest of races. 

"Kerry," the gypsy lady said quietly, "I 
think I will win." She had a way of clearing 
the air with her voice, with her eyes. What 
was a vague hope now became an issue. 

"What is the horse, Madame .f^" 

"It is as yet unnamed, and has never run 
as a two-year-old. It is a son of Irlandais, 
who has sired many winners on the Con- 
tinent, and who broke down sixteen years 
ago in preparation for the Derby and was 
sold to one of the Festetics. Its dam is Iseult 
III, who won the Prix de Diane four years 
ago." 

"I know so little about Continental 
horses," I explained. 

"The strain is great-hearted, and with 
the dam, strong as an oak tree. I am a gypsy 
woman, and I know a horse, and I am an 
old, studious woman," she said, and she 
looked at her beautiful, unringed golden 
hands, as if she were embarrassed, speaking 



Bay 225 

of something wc, not Romanies, could 
hardly understand, "and I think I know 
propitious hours and days." 

"Where is he now, Madame?" 

"He is at Dax, in the Basse-Pyrenees, with 
Romany folk." 

"Here's the whole thing in a nutshell, 
Kerry: Lady Clontarf wants her colt trained 
in Ireland. Do you think the old stables of 
your grandfather are still good?" 

"The best in Ireland, sir, but sure there 't 
no horse been trained there for forty years, 
barring jumpers." 

"Are the gallops good?" 

"Sure, you know yourself, sir, how good 
they are. But you couldn't train without a 
tiainer, and stable boys — " 

"We'll come to that," said my uncle 
Valentine. "Tell me, what odds will you 
get against an unknown, untried horse in 
the winter books?" 

I thought for an instant. It had been 
an exceptionally good year for two-year- 
olds, the big English breeders' stakes having 
been bitterly contested. Lord Shere had a 
good horse; Mr. Paris a dangerous colt. I 
should say there were fifteen good colts, if 
they wintered well, two with outstanding 
chances. 

"I should say you could really write your 
own ticket. The ring will be only too glad 
to get money. There's so much up on Sir 
James and Toison d'Or." 

"To win a quarter-million pounds?" 
asked my uncle Valentine. 

"It would have to be done very carefully, 
sir, here and there, in ponies and fifties and 
hundreds, but I think between four and five 
thousand pounds would do it." 

"Now if this horse of Lady Clontarf 's 
wins the Two Tliousand and the Derby, 
and the Saint Leger — " 

Something in my face must have shown 



226 Donn 

a lively distaste for the company of lunatics, 
for James Carabine spoke quietly from the 
door by which he was standing. 

''Will your young Honour be easy, and 
listen to your uncle and my lady." 

My uncle Valentine is most grandiose, 
and though he has lived in epic times, a 
giant among giants, his schemes are too 
big for practical business days. And I was 
beginning to think that the gypsy lady, 
for all her beauty and dignity, was but an 
old woman crazed by gambling and tarot 
cards, but James Carabine is so wise, so 
beautifully sane, facing all events, spiritual 
and material, foursquare to the wind. 

" — what would he command in stud 
fees?" continued quietly my uncle Valen- 
tine. 

"If he did this tremendous triple thing, 
sir, five hundred guineas would not be 
exorbitant." 

"I am not asking you out of idle curiosity, 
Kerry, or for information," said my uncle 
Valentine. "I merely wish to know if the 
ordinary brain arrives at these conclusions 
of mine; if they are, to use a word, of Mr. 
Thackeray's, apparent." 

"I quite understand, sir," I said politely. 

"And now," said my uncle Valentine, 
"whom would you suggest to come to 
Destiny Bay as trainer?" 

"None of the big trainers will leave their 
stables to come here, sir. And the small 
ones I don't know sufficiently. If Sir Arthur 
Pollexfen were still training, and not so 
old-" 

"Sir Arthur Pollexfen is not old," said my 
uncle Valentine. "He cannot be more than 
seventy-two or seventy-three." 

"But at that age you cannot expect a man 
to turn out at five in the morning and over- 
see gallops." 

"How litde you know Mayo men," said 



Byrne 

my uncle Valentine. "And Sir Arthur with 
all his truimphs never won a Derby. He 
will come." 

"Even at that, sir, how are you going to 
get a crack jockey? Most big owners have 
first or second call on them. And the great 
free lances, you cannot engage one of those 
and ensure secrecy." 

"That," said my uncle Valentine, "is al- 
ready arranged. Lady Clontarf has a 
Gitano, or Spanish gypsy in whom her con- 
fidence is boundless. And now," said my 
uncle Valentine, "we come to the really 
diplomatic part of the proceeding. Trial 
horses are needed, so that I am commis- 
sioned to approach you with delicacy and 
ask you if you will bring up your two ex- 
cellent horses Ducks and Drakes and the 
Saint Simon colt and help train Lady 
Clontarf's horse. I don't see why you should 
object." 

To bring up the two darlings of my heart, 
and put them under the care of a trainer 
who had won the Gold Cup at Ascot fifty 
years before, and hadn't run a horse for 
twelve years, and have them ridden by this 
Gitano or Spanish gypsy, as my uncle 
called him; to have them used as trial horses 
to this colt which might not be good 
enough for a starter's hack. Ah, no! Not 
damned likely. I hardened my heart against 
the pleading gaze of James Carabine. 

"Will you or won't you?" roared my 
uncle diplomatically. 

My aunt Jenepher laid down the lace 
she was making, and reaching across, her 
fingers c^aught my sleeve and ran down to 
my hand, and her hand caught mine. 

"Kerry will," she said. 

So that was decided. 

"Kerry," said my uncle Valentine, "will 
you see Lady Clontarf home?" 



Destiny 

I was rather surprised. I had thought she 
was staying with us. And I was a bit 
bothered, for it is not hospitaHty to allow 
the visitor to Destiny to put up at the local 
pub. But James Carabine whispered : " 'Tis 
on the downs she's staying, Master Kerry, 
in her own great van with four horses." 
It was difficult to believe that the tall grace- 
ful lady in the golden and red Spanish 
shawl, with the quiet speech of our own 
people, was a roaming gypsy, with the 
whole world as her home. 

"Good night, Jenepher. Good night, 
Valentine. Boshto do\, good luck, James 
Carabine!" 

"Boshto do\, mi pen. Good luck, sister." 

Wc went out into the October night of 
the full moon — the hunter's moon — and 
away from the great fire of turf and bog- 
wood in our drawing-room the night was 
vital with an electric cold. One could sense 
the film of ice in the bogs, and the drum- 
ming of- snipe's wings, disturbed by some 
roving dog, come to our ears. So bright was 
the moon that each whitewashed apple tree 
stood out clear in the orchard, and as we 
took the road toward Grey River, we could 
see a barkentine offshore, with sails of 
polished silver — some boat from Bilbao 
probably, making for the Clyde, in the 
daytime a scrubby ore carrier but to-night 
a ship out of some old sea story, as of 
Magellan, or our own Saint Brendan: 

'Teach air muir lionadh gealach huidhe 
mar or'/ she quoted in Gaelic; "See on the 
filling sea the full moon yellow as gold. . . . 
It is full moon and full tide, Kerry; if you 
make a wish, it will come true." 

"I wish you success in the Derby, Ma- 
dame." 

Ahead of us down the road moved a little 
group to the sound of fiddle and mouth 
organ. It was the Romany body-guard ready 



Bay 2rj 

to protect their chieftainess on her way 
home. 

"You mean that, I know, but you dislike 
the idea. Why?" 

"Madame," I said, "if you can read my 
thoughts as easily as that, it's no more 
impertinent to speak than think. I have 
heard a lot about a great colt to-night, and 
of his chance for the greatest race in the 
world, and that warms my heart. But I 
have heard more about money, and that 
chills me." 

"I am so old, Kerry, that the glory of 
winning the Derby means little to me. Do 
you know how old I am? I am six years 
short of an hundred old." 

"Then the less — " I began, and stopped 
short, and could have chucked myself over 
the cliif for my unpardonable discourtesy. 

"Then the less reason for my wanting 
money," the old lady said. "Is not that so?" 

"Exactly, Madame." 

"Kerry," she said, "does my name mean 
anything to you?" 

"It has bothered me all evening. Lady 
Clontarf, I am so sorry my father's son 
should appear to you so rude and ignorant 
a lout." 

"Mifanwy, Countess Clontarf and Kin- 
cora. 

I gaped like an idiot. "The line of great 
Brian Boru. But I thought — " 

"Did you really ever think of it, Kerry?" 

"Not really, Madame," I said. "It's so long 
ago, so wonderful. It's like that old city 
they speak of in the country tales, under 
Ownaglass, the grey river, with its spires 
and great squares. It seems to me to have 
vanished like that, in rolling clouds of 
thunder." 

"The last O'Neill has vanished, and the 
last Plantagenet. But great Brian's strain 
remains. When I married my lord," she 



228 Donn 

said quiedy, "it was in a troubled time. Our 
ears had not forgotten the musketry of 
Waterloo, and England was still shaken by 
fear of the Emperor, and poor Ireland was 
hurt and w^ounded. As you know, Kerry, 
no peer of the older faith sat in College 
Green. It is no new thing to ennoble, and 
steal an ancient name. Pitt and Napoleon 
passed their leisure hours at it. So that of 
O'Briens, Kerry, sirred and lorded, there 
are a score, but my lord was Earl of Clon- 
tarf and Kincora since before the English 
came. 

"If my lord was of the great blood of 
Kincora, myself was not lacking in blood. 
We Romanies are old, Kerry, so old that 
no man knows our beginning, but that we 
came from the uplands of India centuries 
before history. We are a strong, vital race, 
and WT remain with our language, our own 
customs, our own laws until this day. And 
to certain families of us, the Romanies all 
over the world do reverence, as to our own, 
the old Lovells. There are three Lovells, 
Kerry, the dinelo or foolish Lovells, the 
gozvero or cunning Lovells, and the puro 
Lovells, the old Lovells. I am of the 
old Lovells. My father was the great Mairik 
Lovell. So you see I am of great stock too." 

"Dear Madame, one has only to see you 
to know that." 

"My lord had a small place left him near 
the Village of Swords, and it was near 
there I met him. He wished to buy a horse 
from my father Mairik, a stallion my father 
had brought all the way from the Nejd in 
Arabia. My lord could not buy that horse. 
But when I married my lord, it was part of 
my dowry, that and two handfuls of uncut 
Russian emeralds, and a chest of gold 
coins, Russian and Indian and Turkish 
coins, all gold. So I did not come empty- 
handed to my lord." 



Byrne 

"Madame, do you wish to tell me this ?" 

"I wish to tell it to you, Kerry, because 
I want you for a friend to my little people, 
the sons of my son's son. You must know 
everything about friends to understand 
them. 

"My lord was rich only in himself and 
in his ancestry. But with the great Arab 
stallion and the emeralds and the gold coins 
we were well. We did a foolish thing, 
Kerry; we went to London. My lord wished 
it, and his wishes were my wishes, although 
something told me we should not have 
gone. In London I made my lord sell the 
great Arab. He did not wish to, because 
it came with me, nor did I wish to, because 
my father had loved it so, but I made him 
sell it. All the Selim horses of to-day are 
descended from him, Sheykh Selim. 

"My lord loved horses, Kerry. He knew 
horses, but he had no luck. Newmarket 
Heath is a bad spot for those out of luck. 
And my lord grew worried. When one is 
worried, Kerry, the heart contracts a little, — 
is it not so.f^ Or don't you know yet.f^ Also 
another thing bothered my lord. He was 
with English people, and English people 
have their codes and ordinances. They are 
good people, Kerry, very honest. They go 
to churches, and like sad songs, but whether 
they believe in God, or whether they have 
hearts or have no hearts, I do not know. 
Each thing they do by rote and custom, 
and they are curious in this : they will make 
excuses for a man who has done a great 
crime, but no excuses for a man who 
neglects a trivial thing. An eccentricity of 
dress is not forgiven. An eccentric is an 
outsider. So that English are not good for 
Irish folk. 

"My own people," she said proudly, "are 
simple people, kindly and loyal as your 
family know. A marriage to them is a deep 



Destiny 

thing, not the selfish love of one person 
for another, but involving many factors. A 
man v^ill say: Mifanw^y Lovell's father 
saved my honour once. What can I do for 
Mifanw^y Lovell and Mifanwy Lovell's 
man? And the Lovells said w^hen we were 
married: Brothers, the gawjo rai, the 
foreign gentleman, may not understand the 
gypsy way, that our sorrows are his sorrows, 
and our joys his, but we understand that 
his fights are our fights, and his interests 
the interests of the Lovell Clan. 

"My people were always about my lord, 
and my lord hated it. In our London house 
in the morning, there were always gypsies 
waiting to tell my lord of a great fight 
coming off quietly on Epsom Downs, which 
it might interest him to see, or of a good 
horse to be bought cheaply, or some news 
of a dog soon to run in a coursing match for 
a great stake, and of the dog's excellences or 
his defects. They wanted no money. They 
only wished to do him a kindness. But my 
lord was embarrassed, until he began to 
loathe the sight of a gypsy neckerchief. 
Also, in the race courses, in the betting ring 
where my lord would be, a gypsy would 
pay hard-earned entrance money to tell my 
lord quietly of something they had noticed 
that morning in the gallops, or horses to be 
avoided in betting, or of neglected horses 
which would win. All kindnesses to my 
lord. But my lord was with fashionable 
English folk, who do not understand one's 
having a strange friend. Their uplifted eye- 
brows made my lord ashamed of the poor 
Romanies. These things are things you 
might laugh at, with laughter like sunshine, 
but there would be clouds in your heart. 

"The end came at Ascot, Kerry, where 
the young queen was, and the Belgian king, 
and the great nobles of the court. Into the 
paddock came one of the greatest of gypsies, 



Bay 229 

Tyso Hernc, who had gone before my mar- 
riage with a great draft of Norman trotting 
horses to Mexico, and came back with a 
squadron of ponies, suitable for polo. Tyso 
was a vast man, a pawni Romany, a fair 
gypsy. His hair was red, and his moustache 
was long and curling, like a Hungarian 
pandour's. He had a flaunting dihlo of fine 
yellow silk about his neck, and the buttons 
on his coat were gold Indian mohurs, and 
on his bell-shaped trousers were braids of 
silver bells, and the spurs on his Welling- 
tons were fine silver, and his hands were 
covered with rings, Kerry, with stones in 
them such as even the young queen did not 
have. It was not vulgar ostentation. It was 
just that Tyso felt rich and merry, and no 
stone on his hand was as fine as his heart. 

"When he saw me he let a roar out of 
him that was like the roar of the ring when 
the horses are coming in to the stretch. 

" 'Before God,' he shouted, 'it's Mifanwy 
Lovell.' And, though I am not a small 
woman, Kerry, he tossed me in the air, and 
caught me in the air. And he laughed and 
kissed me, and I laughed and kissed him, so 
happy was I to see great Tyso once more, 
safe from over the sea. 

" 'Go get your rom, mi tshai, your hus- 
band, my lass, and we'll go to the \itshima 
and have a jeraboam of Champagne 
wine.' " 

"But I saw my lord walk ofif with thunder 
in his face, and all the English folk staring 
and some women laughing. So I said: 1 
will go with you alone, Tyso.' For Tyso 
Heme had been my father's best friend 
and my mother's cousin, and had held me 
as a baby, and no matter how he looked, or 
who laughed, he was well come for me. 

"Of what my lord said, and of what I 
said in rebuttal, we will not speak. One 
says foolish things in anger, but, foolish or 



230 Donn 

not, they leave scars. For out of the mouth 
come things forgotten, things one thinks 
dead. But before the end of the meeting, 
I went to Tyso Heme's van. He was braid- 
ing a whip with fingers hght as a woman's, 
and when he saw me he spoke quietly. 

" 'Is all well with thee, Mifanwy V 

" 'Nothing is well with me, father's 
friend.' 

"And so I went back to my people, and 
I never saw my lord any more." 

We had gone along until in the distance 
I could see the gypsy iire, and turning the 
headland wx saw the light on Farewell 
Point. A white flash; a second's rest; a red 
flash; three seconds occultation; then white 
and red again. There is something hearten- 
ing and brave in Farewell Light. Ireland 
keeps watch over her share of the Atlantic 
sea. 

"When I left my lord, I was with child, 
and when I was delivered of him, and the 
child weaned and strong, I sent him to my 
lord, for every man wants his man child, 
and every family its heir. But when he was 
four and twenty he came back to me, for 
the roving gypsy blood and the fighting 
Irish blood were too much for him. He 
was never Earl of Clontarf. He died while 
my lord still lived. He married a Heme, 
a grandchild of Tyso, a brave golden girl. 
And he got killed charging in the Balkan 
Wars. 

"Niall's wife — my son's name was Niall — 
understood, and when young Niall was old 
enough, we sent him to my lord. My lord 
was old at this time, older than his years, 
and very poor. But of my share of money 
he would have nothing. My lord died when 
Niall's Niall was at school, so the little lad 
became Earl of Clontarf and Kincora. I 
saw to it he had sufficient money, but he 
married no rich woman. He married a poor 



Byrne 

Irish girl, and by her had two children, 
Niall and Alick. He was interested in 
horses, and rode well, my English friends 
tell me. But mounted on a brute in the 
Punchestown races, he made a mistake at 
the stone wall. He did not know the horse 
very well. So he let it have its head at the 
stone wall. It threw its head up, took the 
jump by the roots, and so Niall's Niall was 
killed. His wife, the little Irish girl, turned 
her face away from life and died. 

"The boys are fifteen and thirteen now, 
and soon they will go into the world. I 
want them to have a fair chance, and it is 
for this reason I wish them to have money. 
I have been rich and then poor, and then 
very rich and again poor, and rich again 
and now poor. But if this venture succeeds, 
the boys will be all right." 

"Ye-s," I said. 

"You don't seem very enthusiastic, 
Kerry." 

"We have a saying," I told her, "that 
money won from a bookmaker is only lent." 

"If you were down on a race meeting 
and on the last race of the last day you 
won a little, what would you say.^^" 

"I'd say I only got a little of my own 
back." 

"Then we only get a little of our own 
back over the losses of a thousand years." 

We had come now to the encampment. 
Around the great fire were tall swarthy 
men with coloured neckchiefs, who seemed 
more reserved, cleaner than the English 
gypsy. They rose quietly as the gypsy lady 
came. The great spotted Dalmatian dogs 
rose too. In the half light the picketed 
horses could be seen, quiet as trees. 

"This is the Younger of Destiny Bay," 
said the old lady, "who is kind enough to 
be our friend." 



Destiny 

"Sa shan, rair tliey spoke with quiet 
courtesy. "How are you, sir?" 

Lady Clontarfs maid hurried forward 
with a wrap, scolding, and speaking Eng- 
Hsh with beautiful courtesy. "You are dread- 
ful, sister. You go walking the roads at 
night like a courting girl in spring. Gentle- 
man, you are wrong to keep the rawnee 
out, and she an old woman and not well.'* 

"Supplistia," Lady Clontarf chided, "you 
have no more manners than a growling 
dog." 

"I am the rawnee's watchdog," the girl 
answered. 

"Madame, your maid is right. I will go 
now." 

"Kerry," she stopped me, "will you be 
friends with my little people .f^" 

"I will be their true friend," I promised, 
and I kissed her hand. 

"God bless you!" she said. And "\ushto 
bo\, rair the gypsies wished me. "Good 
luck, sir!" And I left the camp for my 
people's house. The hunter's moon was 
dropping toward the edge of the world, 
and the light on Farewell Point flashed 
seaward its white and red, and as I walked 
along, I noticed that a wind from Ireland 
had sprung up, and the Bilbao boat was 
bowling along nor'east on the starboard 
tack. It semed to me an augury. 

In those days, before my aunt Jenepher's 
marriage to Patrick Heme, the work of 
Destiny Bay was divided in this manner: 
my dear aunt Jenepher was, as was right, 
supreme in the house. My uncle Valentine 
planned and superintended the breeding of 
the harness ponies, and sheep, and black 
Dexter cattle which made Destiny Bay so 
feared at the Dublin Horse Show and at 
the Bath and West. My own work was the 
farms. To me fell the task of preparing the 



Bay 231 

stables and training grounds for Lady Clon- 
tarfs and my own horses. It was a relief 
and an adventure to give up thinking of 
turnips, wheat, barley, and seeds, and to 
examine the downs for training ground. In 
my great grandfather's time, in pre-Union 
days, many a winner at the Curragh had 
been bred and trained at Destiny Bay. The 
soil of the downs is chalky, and the matted 
roots of the woven herbage have a certain 
give in them in the driest weather. I found 
out my great-grandfather's mile and a 
half, and two miles and a half with a turn 
and shorter gallops of various gradients. 
My grandfather had used them as a young 
man, but mainly for hunters, horses which 
he sold for the great Spanish and Austrian 
regiments. But to my delight the stables 
were as good as ever. Covered with reed 
thatch, they required few repairs. The floors 
were of chalk, and the boxes beautifully 
ventilated. There were also great tanks for 
rainwater, which is of all water the best for 
horses in training. There were also a few 
stalls for restless horses. I was worried a 
little about lighting, but my uncle Valentine 
told me that Sir Arthur Pollexfen allowed 
no artificial lights where he trained. Horses 
went to bed with the fowls and got up at 
cockcrow. 

My own horses I got from Robinson 
without hurting his feelings. "It's this way, 
Robinson," I told him. "We're trying to 
do a crazy thing at Destiny, and I'm not 
bringing them to another trainer. I'm bring- 
ing another trainer there. I can tell you 
no more." 

"Not another word, Mr. Kerry. Bring 
them back when you want to. I'm sorry 
to say good-bye to the wee colt. But I wish 
you luck." 

We bought three more horses, and a 
horse for Aim-DoUy. So that with the six 



232 



Donn 



we had a rattling good little stable. When 
I saw Sir Arthur Pollcxfen, my heart sank 
a little, for he seemed so much out of a 
former century. Small, ruddy-cheeked, with 
the white hair of a bishop, and a bishop's 
courtesy, I never thought he could run a 
stable. I thought, perhaps, he had grown 
too old and had been thinking for a long 
time now of the Place whither he was 
going, and that we had brought him back 
from his thoughts and he had left his 
vitality behind. His own servant came with 
him to Destiny Bay, and though we wished 
to have him in the house with us, yet he 
preferred to stay in a cottage by the stables. 
I don't know what there was about his 
clothes, but they were all of an antique 
though a beautiful cut. He never wore 
riding breeches but trousers of a bluish cloth 
and strapped beneath his varnished boots. 
A flowered waistcoat with a satin stock, a 
short covert coat, a grey bowler hat and 
gloves. Always there was a freshly cut 
flower in his buttonhole, which his servant 
got every evening from the greenhouses at 
Destiny Bay, and kept overnight in a glass 
of water into which the least drop of whis- 
key had been poured. I mention this as 
extraordinary, as most racing men will not 
wear flowers. They believe flowers bring 
bad luck, though how the superstition arose 
I cannot tell. His evening trousers also 
buckled under his shoes, or rather half 
Wellingtons, such as army men wear, and 
though there was never a crease in them 
there was never a wrinkle. He would never 
drink port after dinner when the ladies had 
left, but a little whiskey punch which 
James Carabine would compose for him. 
Compared to the hard shrewd-eyed trainers 
I knew, this bland, soft-spoken old gentle- 
man filled me with misgiving. 



Byrne 

I got a different idea of the old man the 
first morning I went out to the gallops. The 
sun had hardly risen when the old gentle- 
man appeared, as beautifully turned out as 
though he were entering the Show Ring at 
Ballsbridge. His servant held his horse, a 
big grey, while he swung into the saddle 
as light as a boy. His hack was feeling good 
that morning, and he and I went off toward 
the training ground at a swinging canter, 
the old gentleman half standing in his stir- 
rups, with a light firm grip of his knees, 
riding as Cossacks do, his red terrier gallop- 
ing behind him. When we settled down to 
walk he told me the pedigree of his horse, 
descended through Matchem and Whale- 
bone from Oliver Cromwell's great charger 
The White Turk, or Place's White Turk, as 
it was called from the Lord Protector's stud 
manager. To hear him follow the intricacies 
of breeding was a revelation. Then I under- 
stood what a great horseman he was. On 
the training ground he was like a marshal 
commanding an army, such respect did 
every one accord him. The lads perched on 
the horses' withers, his head man, the 
grooms, all watched the apple-ruddy face, 
while he said little or nothing. He must 
have had eyes in the back of his head, 
though. For when a colt we had brought 
from Mr. Gubbins, a son of Galtee More's, 
started lashing out and the lad up seemed 
like taking a toss, the old man's voice came 
low and sharp: "Don't fall off, boy." And 
the boy did not fall off. The red terrier 
watched the trials with a keen eye, and I 
believe honestly that he knew as much 
about horses as any one of us and certainly 
more than any of us about his owner. When 
my lovely Ducks and Drakes went out at 
the lad's call to beat the field by two lengths 
over five furlongs, the dog looked up at Sir 



Destiny 

Arthur and Sir Arthur looked back at the 
dog, and what they thought toward each 
other, God knoweth. 

I expected when we rode away that the 
old gentleman would have some word to 
say about my horses, but coming home, 
his remarks were of the country. "Your 
Derry is a beautiful country, young Mister 
Kerry," he said, "though it would be trea- 
son to say that in my own country of 
Mayo." Of my horses not a syllable. 

He could be the most silent man I have 
ever known, though giving the illusion of 
keeping up a conversation. You could talk 
to him, and he would smile, and nod at 
the proper times, as though he were devour- 
ing every word you said. In the end you 
thought you had a very interesting con- 
versation. But as to whether he had even 
heard you, you were never sure. On the 
other hand when he wished to speak, he 
spoke to the point and beautifully. Our 
bishop, on one of his pastoral visitations, if 
that be the term, stayed at Destiny Bay, and 
because my uncle Cosimo is a bishop too, 
and because he felt he ought to do some- 
thing for our souls he remonstrated with us 
for starting our stable. My uncle Valentine 
was livid, but said nothing, for no guest 
must be contradicted in Destiny Bay. 

"For surely, Sir Valentine, no man of 
breeding can mingle with the rogues, cut- 
purses and their womenfolk who infest 
race courses, drunkards, bawds and com- 
mon gamblers, without lowering himself 
to some extent to their level," his Lordship 
purred. "Yourself, one of the wardens of 
Irish chivalry, must give an example to the 
common people." 

"Your Lordship," broke in old Sir Arthur 
Pollexfen, "is egregiously misinformed. In 
all periods of the world's history, eminent 
personages have concerned themselves with 



Bay 233 

the racing of horses. We read of Philip of 
Maccdon, that while campaigning in Asia 
Minor, a courier brought him news of two 
events, of the birth of his son Alexander 
and of the winning, by his favourite horse, 
of the chief race at Athens, and we may 
reasonably infer that his joy over the win- 
ning of the race was equal to if not greater 
than that over the birth of Alexander. In 
the life of Charles the Second, the traits 
which do most credit to that careless 
monarch are his notable and gentlemanly 
death and his affection for his great race 
horse Old Rowley. Your Lordship is, I am 
sure," said Sir Arthur, more blandly than 
any ecclesiastic could, "too sound a Greek 
scholar not to remember the epigrams of 
Maecius and Philodemus, which show what 
interest these antique poets took in the 
racing of horses. And coming to present 
times, your Lordship must have heard that 
his Majesty (whom God preserve ! ) has won 
two Derbies, once with the leased horse 
Minoru, and again with his own great Per- 
simmon. The premier peer of Scotland, the 
Duke of Hamilton, Duke of Chastellerault 
in France, Duke of Brandon in England, 
hereditary prince of Baden, is prouder of 
his fine mare Eau de Vie than of all his 
titles. As to the Irish families, the Persses 
of Galway, the Dawsons of Dublin, and my 
own, the Pollexfens of Mayo, have always 
been interested in the breeding and racing 
of horses. And none of these — my punch, 
if you please, James Carabine! — are, as 
your Lordship puts it, drunkards, bawds, 
and common gamblers. I fear your Lord- 
ship has been reading — " and he cocked his 
eye, bright as a wren's, at the bishop, 
"religious publications of the sensational 
and morbid type.'* 
It was all I could do to keep from leap- 



234 Donn 

ing on the table and giving three loud 
cheers for the County of Mayo. 

Now, on those occasions, none too rare, 
when my uncle Valentine and I diflfered on 
questions of agricultural economy, or of 
national polity, or of mere faith and morals, 
he poured torrents of invective over my 
head, which mattered little. But when he 
was really aroused to bitterness he called 
me "modern." And by modern my uncle 
Valentine meant the quality inherent in 
brown buttoned boots, in white waistcoats 
worn with dinner jackets, in nasty little 
motor cars — in fine, those things before 
which the angels of God recoil in horror. 
While I am not modern in that sense, I am 
modern in this, that I like to see folk getting 
on with things. Of Lady Clontarf and of 
Irlandais colt, I heard no more. On the 
morning after seeing her home I called over 
to the caravan but it was no longer there. 
There was hardly a trace of it, I found a 
broken fern and a slip of oaktree, the 
gypsy patteran. But what it betokened or 
whither it pointed I could not tell. I had 
gone to no end of trouble in getting the 
stables and training grounds ready, and Sir 
Arthur Pollexfen had been brought out of 
his retirement in the County of Mayo. But 
still no word of the horse. I could see my 
uncle Valentine and Sir Arthur taking their 
disappointment bravely, if it never arrived, 
and murmuring some courteous platitude, 
out of the reign of good Queen Victoria, 
that it was a lady's privilege to change her 
mind. That might console them in their 
philosophy, but it would only make me 
hot with rage. For to me there is no sex in 
people of standards. They do not let one 
another down. 

Then one evening the horse arrived. 

It arrived at sundown in a large van drawn 



Byrne 

by four horses, a van belonging evidently 
to some circus. It was yellow and covered 
with paintings of nymphs being wooed by 
swains, in clothes hardly fitted to agricul- 
tural pursuits: of lions of terrifying aspect 
being put through their paces by a trainer 
of an aspect still more terrifying: of an 
Indian gentleman with a vast turban and 
a small loincloth playing a penny whistle to 
a snake that would have put the heart 
crosswise in Saint Patrick himself; of a most 
adipose lady in tights swinging from a ring 
while the husband and seven sons hung on 
to her like bees in a swarm. Floridly painted 
over the van was "Arsene Bombaudiac, 
Prop., Bayonne." The whole added no dig- 
nity to Destiny Bay, and if some sorceress 
had disclosed to Mr. Bombaudiac of Bay- 
onne that he was about to lose a van by 
fire at low tide on the beach of Destiny in 
Ireland within forty-eight hours — ^The 
driver was a burly gypsy, while two of the 
most utter scoundrels I have ever laid eyes 
on sat beside him on the wide seat. 

"Do you speak English.'^" I asked the 
driver. 

"Yes, sir," he answered, "I am a Petu- 
lengro." 

"Which of these two beauties beside you 
is the jockey.f^'* 

"Neither, sir. These two are just gypsy 
fighting men. The jockey is inside with the 
horse." 

My uncle Valentine came down stroking 
his great red beard. He seemed fascinated 
by the pictures on the van. "Wjhat your 
poor aunt Jenepher, Kerry," he said^ 
"misses by being blind!" 

"What she is spared, sir! Boy," I called 
one of the servants, "go get Sir Arthur 
Pollexfen. Where do you come from?" 
I asked the driver. 

"From Dax, sir, in the South of France." 



Destiny 

"You're a liar," I said. "Your horses are 
half-bred Clydesdale. There's no team like 
that in the South of France." 

"We came to Dieppe with an attelage 
basque, six yoked oxen. But I was told they 
would not be allowed in England, so I 
telegraphed our chief, Piramus Petulengro, 
to have a team at Newhaven. So I am not a 
liar, sir." 

"I am sorry." 

"Sir, that is all right." 

Sir Arthur Pollexfen came down from 
where he had been speaking to my aunt 
Jenepher. I could see he was tremendously 
excited, because he walked more slowly 
than was usual, spoke with more delibera- 
tion. He winced a little as he saw the van. 
But he was of the old heroic school. He 
said nothing. 

"I think. Sir Valentine," he said, "we 
might have the horse out." 

"Ay, we might as well know the worst," 
said my uncle Valentine. 

A man jumped from the box, and swung 
the crossbar up. The door opened and into 
the road stepped a small man in dark 
clothes. Never on this green earth of God's 
have I seen such dignity. He was dressed 
in dark clothes with a wide dark hat, and 
his face was brown as soil. White starched 
cuffs covered half of his hands. He took 
off his hat and bowed first to my uncle 
Valentine, then to Sir Arthur, and to myself 
last. His hair was plastered down on his 
forehead, and the impression you got was 
of an ugly rugged face, with piercing black 
eyes. He seemed to say: "Laugh, if you 
dare!" But laughter was the furthest thing 
from us, such tremendous masculinity did 
the small man have. He looked at us search- 
ingly, and I had the feeling that if he didn't 
like us, for two pins he would have the bar 
across the van door again and be off with 



Bay 235 

the horse. Then he turned and spoke gut- 
turally to some one inside. 

A boy as rugged as himself, in a Basque 
cap and with a Basque sash, led first a small 
donkey round as a barrel out of the out- 
rageous van. One of the gypsies took it, 
and the next moment the boy led out the 
Irlandais colt. 

He came out confidently, quietly, ap- 
proaching gentlemen as a gentleman, a 
beautiful brown horse, small, standing per- 
fectly. I had just one glance at the sound 
strong legs and the firm ribs, before his 
head caught my eye. The graceful neck, 
the beautiful small muzzle, the gallant eyes. 
In every inch of him you could see breed- 
ing. While Sir Arthur was examining his 
hocks, and my uncle Valentine was standing 
weightily considering strength of lungs and 
heart, my own heart went out to the lovely 
eyes that seemed to ask: "Are these folk 
friends?" 

Now I think you could parade the Queen 
of Sheba in the show ring before me with- 
out extracting more than an offhand com- 
pliment out of me, but there is something 
about a gallant thoroughbred that makes 
me sing. I can quite understand the trainer 
who, pointing to Manifesto, said that if he 
ever found a woman with a shape like that, 
he'd marry her. So out of my heart through 
my lips came the cry: ''Och, asthord" which 
is, in our Gaelic, "Oh, my dear!" 

The Spanish jockey, whose brown face 
was . rugged and impassive as a Pyrenee, 
looked at me, and broke into a wide, un- 
derstanding smile. 

"Si, si, Scflor," he uttered, ''si, sir 

Never did a winter pass so merrily, so 
advantageously at Destiny Bay. Usually 
there is fun enough with the hunting, but 
with a racing stable in winter there is always 



236 Donn 

anxiety. Is there a suspicion of a cough in 
the stables ? Is the ground too hard for gal- 
lops ? Will snow come and hold the gallops 
up for a week? Fortunately we are right 
on the edge of the great Atlantic drift, and 
you can catch at times the mild amazing 
atmosphere of the Caribbean. While Scot- 
land sleeps beneath its coverlet of snow, 
and England shivers in its ghastly fog, we 
on the northeast seaboard of Ireland go 
through a winter that is short as a mid- 
summer night in Lofoden. The trees have 
hardly put off their gold and brown until 
we perceive their cheeping green. And one 
soft day we say: "Soon on that bank will 
be the fairy gold of the primrose." And be- 
hold, while you are looking the primrose 
is there! 

Each morning at sun-up, the first string 
of horses were out. Quietly as a general offi- 
cer reviewing a parade old Sir Arthur sat 
on his grey horse, his red dog beside him, 
while Geraghty, his head man, galloped 
about with his instructions. Hares bolted 
from their forms in the grass. The sun 
rolled away the mists from the blue moun- 
tains of Donegal. At the starting gate, 
which Sir Arthur had set up, the red-faced 
Irish boys steered their mounts from a walk 
toward the tapes. A pull at the lever and 
they were off. The old man seemed to no- 
tice everything. "Go easy, boy, don't force 
that horse!" His low voice would carry 
across the downs. "Don't lag there^ Murphy, 
ride him!" And when the gallop was done, 
he would trot across to the horses, his red 
dog trotting beside him, asking how Sars- 
field went. Did Ducks and Drakes seem 
interested? Did Rustum go up to his bit? 
Then they were off at a slow walk toward 
their sand bath, where they rolled like 
dogs. Then the sponging and the rubbing, 
and the fresh hay in the mangers kept as 



Byrne 

clean as a hospital. At eleven the second 
string came out. At half -past three the lads 
were called to their horses, and a quarter 
of an hour's light walking was given to 
them. At four. Sir Arthur made his "sta- 
bles," questioning the lads in each detail 
as to how the horses had fed, running his 
hand over their legs to feel for any heat 
in the joints that might betoken trouble. 

Small as our stable was, I doubt if there 
was one in Great Britain and Ireland to 
compare with it in each fitting and neces- 
sity for training a race horse. Sir Arthur 
pinned his faith to old black tartar oats, 
of about forty-two pounds to the bushel, 
bran mashes with a little linseed, and sweet 
old meadow hay. 

The Irlandais colt went beautifully. The 
Spanish jockey's small brother, Joselito, 
usually rode it, while the jockey's self, whose 
name we were told was Frasco, Frasco 
Moreno — usually called, he told us, Don 
Frasco — looked on. He constituted himself 
a sort of sub-trainer for the colt, allowing 
none else to attend to its feeding. The small 
donkey was its invariable stable companion, 
and had to be led out to exercise with it. 
The donkey belonged to Joselito. Don 
Frasco rode many trials on the other horses. 
He might appear small standing, but -on 
horseback he seemed a large man, so straight 
did he sit in the saddle. The little boys rode 
with a fairly short stirrup, but the gitano 
scorned anything but the traditional seat. 
He never seemed to move on a horse. Yet he 
could do what he liked with it. 

The Irlandais colt was at last named 
Romany Baw, or "gypsy friend" in English, 
as James Carabine explained to us, and 
Lady Clontarf's colours registered, quar- 
tered red and gold. When the winter lists 
came out, we saw the horse quoted at a 
hundred to one, and later at the call over 



Destiny 

of the Victoria Club, saw that price offered 
but not taken. My uncle Valentine made a 
journey to Dublin, to arrange for Lady 
Clontarf s commission being placed, putting 
it in the hands of a Derry man who had 
become big in the affairs of Tattersall's. 
What he himself and Sir Arthur Pollexfen 
and the jockey had on I do not know, but 
he arranged to place an hundred pounds of 
mine, and fifty of Ann-Dolly's. As the 
months went by, the odds crept down grad- 
ually to thirty-three to one, stood there for 
a while and went out to fifty. Meanwhile 
Sir James became a sensational favourite at 
fives, and Toison d'Or varied between tens 
and one hundred to eight. Some news of 
a great trial of Lord Shire's horse had leaked 
out which accounted for the ridiculously 
short price. But no word did or could get 
out about Lady Clontarf's colt. The two 
gypsy fighters from Dax patrolled Destiny 
Bay, and God help any poor tipster or 
wretched newspaper tout who tried to 
plumb the mysteries of training. I honestly 
believe a bar of iron and a bog hole would 
have been his end. 

The most fascinating figure in this crazy 
world was the gypsy jockey. To see him talk 
to Sir Arthur Pollexfen was a phenomenon. 
Sir Arthur would speak in English and the 
gypsy answer in Spanish, neither knowing 
a word of the other's language, yet each 
perfectly understanding the other. I must 
say that this only referred to how a horse 
ran, or how Romany Baw was feeding and 
feeling. As to more complicated problems, 
Ann-Dolly was called in, to translate his 
Spanish. 

"Ask him," said Sir Arthur, "has he ever 
ridden in France?" 

"Oiga, Vrasco'/ and Ann-Dolly would 
burst into a torrent of gutturals. 

''Si, si, Dona Anna!' 



Bay 237 

"Ask him has he got his clearance from 
the Jockey Club of France?" 

"Seguro, Don Arturol" And out of his 
capacious pocket he extracted the French 
Jockey Club's "character." They made a 
picture I will never forget, the old horseman 
ageing so gently, the vivid boyish beauty of 
Ann-Dolly, and the overpowering dignity 
and manliness of the jockey. Always, except 
when he was riding or working at his anvil, 
— for he was our smith too — he wore the 
dark clothes, which evidently some village 
tailor of the Pyrenees made for him — the 
very short coat, the trousers tubed like ciga- 
rettes, his stiff shirt with the vast cuffs. He 
never wore a collar, nor a neckerchief. Al- 
ways his back was fiat as the side of a house. 

When he worked at the anvil, with his 
young ruffian of a brother at the bellows, 
he sang. He had shakes and grace notes 
enough to make a thrush quit. Ann-Dolly 
translated one of his songs for us. 

No tengo padre ni madre . . , 

Que desgraciado soy yol 

Soy como el arbol solo 

Que echas frutas y no echa flor . . . 

"He sings he has no father or mother. 
How out of luck he is! He is like a lonely 
tree, which bears the fruit and not the 
flower." 

"God bless my soul, Kerry," my uncle 
was shocked. "The little man is homesick." 

"No, no!" Ann-Dolly protested. "He is 
very happy. That is why he sings a sad 
song." 

One of the reasons of the litde man's 
happiness was the discovery of our national 
game of handball. He strolled over to the 
Irish Village and discovered the court back 
of the Inniskillen Dragoon, that most no- 
table of rural pubs. He was tremendously 
excited, and getting some gypsy to translate 



238 Donn 

for him, challenged the local champion for 
the stake of a barrel of porter. He made the 
local champion look like a carthorse in the 
Grand National. When it was told to me I 
couldn't believe it. Ann-Dolly explained to 
me that die great game of Basque country 
was pelota. 

"But don't they play pelota with a bas- 
ket.?" 

''Real pelota is h mains fines, *with the 
hands naked.' " 

"You mean Irish handball," I told her. 

I regret that the population of Destiny 
made rather a good thing out of Don 
Frasco's prowess on the court, going from 
village to village, and betting on a certain 
win. The end was a match between Mick 
Tierney, the Portrush Jarvey and the jockey. 
The match was billed for the champion of 
Ulster, and Don Frasco was put down on 
the card, to explain his lack of English, 
as Danny Frask, the Glenties Miracle, the 
Glenties being a district of Donegal where 
Erse is the native speech. The match was 
poor, the Portrush Jarvey, after the first 
game, standing and watching the ball hiss 
past him with his eyes on his cheek bones. 
All Donegal seemed to have turned out for 
the fray. When the contest was over, a big 
Glenties man pushed his way toward the 
jockey. 

"Dublin and London and New York are 
prime cities," he chanted, "but Glenties is 
truly magnificent. Kir do lauv anshin, a 
railt na hooee, Tut your hand there, Star 
of the North.' " 

'Wo entiendo, senor^' said Don Frasco. 
And with that the fight began. 

James Carabine was quick enough to get 
the jockey out of the court before he was 
lynched. But Destiny Bay men, gypsies, 
fishers, citizens of Derry, bookmakers and 
their clerks and the fighting tribes of Done- 



Byrne 

gal went to it with a vengeance. Indeed, 
according to experts, nothing like it, for 
spirit or results, had been seen since or be- 
fore the Prentice Boys had chased King 
James (to whom God give his deserts!) 
from Derry Walls. The removal of the 
stimned and wounded from the courts drew 
the attention of the police, for the fight 
was continued in grim silence. But on the 
entrance of half a dozen peelers com- 
manded by a huge sergeant, Joselito, the 
jockey's young brother, covered himself 
with glory. Leaping on the reserved seats, 
he brought his right hand over hard and 
true to the sergeant's jaw, and the sergeant 
was out for half an hour. Joselito was ar- 
rested, but the case was laughed out of court. 
The idea of a minuscule jockey who could 
ride at ninety pounds knocking out six foot 
three of Royal Irish Constabulary was too 
much. Nothing was found on him but his 
bare hands, a packet of cigarettes and thirty 
sovereigns he had won over the match. But 
I knew better. I decided to prove him with 
hard questions. 

"Ask him in Romany, James Carabine, 
what he had wrapped around that horse- 
shoe he threw away." 

"He says: Tow, Mister Kerry.' " 

"Get me my riding crop," I said; "I'll 
take him behind the stables." And the train- 
ing camp lost its best lightweight jockey 
for ten days, the saddle suddenly becoming 
repulsive to him. I believe he slept on his 
face. 

But the one who was really wild about 
the affair was Ann-Dolly. She came across 
from Spanish Men's Rest flaming with an- 
ger. 

"Because a Spanish wins, there is fight- 
ing, there is anger. If an Irish wins, there 
is joy, there is drinking. Oh, shame of sports- 
manship!" 



Destiny 

"Oh, shut your gab, Ann-Dolly," I told 
her. "They didn't know he was a Spanish, 
as you call it." 

"What did they think he was if not a 
Spanish? Tell me. I demand it of you." 

"They thought he was Welsh." 

"Oh, in that case . . ." said Ann-Dolly, 
completely mollified. Ipsa hibernis hiher- 
nioral 

I wouldn't have you think that all was 
beer and skittles, as the English say, in 
training Romany Baw for the Derby. As 
spring came closer, the face of the old 
trainer showed signs of strain. The Lincoln 
Handicap was run and the Grand National 
passed, and suddenly flat-racing was on us. 
And now not the Kohinoor was watched 
more carefully than the Derby horse. We 
had a spanking trial on a course as nearly 
approaching the Two Thousand Guineas 
route as Destiny Downs would allow, and 
when Romany Baw flew past us, beating 
Ducks and Drakes who had picked him up 
at the mile for the uphill dash, and Sir 
Arthur clicked his watch, I saw his tense 
face relax. 

"He ran well," said the old man. 

"He'll walk in," said my uncle Valentine. 

My uncle Valentine and Jenico and Ann- 
Dolly were going across to Newmarket 
Heath for the big race, but the spring of 
the year is the time that the farmer must 
stay by his land, and nurse it like a child. 
All farewells, even for a week, are sad, and 
I was loath to see the horses go into the 
races. Romany Baw had a regular summer 
bloom on him and his companion, the 
donkey, was corpulent as an alderman. 
Ducks and Drakes looked rough and back- 
ward, but that didn't matter. 

"You've got the best-looking horse in the 
United Kingdom," I told Sir Arthur. 



Bay 239 

"Thank you, Kerry," the old man was 
pleased. "And as to Ducks and Drakes, 
looks aren't everything." 

"Sure, I know that," I told him. 

"I wouldn't be rash," he told mc, "but I'd 
have a little on both. That is, if they go to 
the post fit and well." 

I put in the days as well as I could, 
getting ready for the Spring Show at Dub- 
lin. But my heart and my thoughts were 
with my people and the horses at New- 
market. I could see my uncle Valentine's 
deep bow with his hat in his hand as they 
passed the Roman ditch at Newmarket, 
giving that squat wall the reverence that 
racing men have accorded it since races 
were run there, though why, none know. A 
letter from Ann-Dolly apprised me that 
the horses had made a good crossing and 
that Romany Baw was well — "and you 
mustn't think, my dear, that your colt is 
not as much and more to us than the Derby 
horse, no, Kerry, not for one moment. Lady 
Clontarf is here, in her caravan, and oh, 
Kerry, she looks ill. Only her burning spirit 
keeps her frail body alive. Jenico and I are 
going down to Eastbourne to see the little 
Earl and his brother . . . You will get this 
letter, cousin, on the morning of the 
race " 

At noon that day I could stand it no longer 
so I had James Carabine put the trotter in 
the dogcart. "There are some things I want 
in Derry," I told myself, "and I may as well 
get them to-day as to-morrow." And we 
went spinning toward Derry Walls. Ducks 
and Drakes' race was the two-thirty. And 
after lunch I looked at reapers I might be 
wanting in July until the time of the race. I 
went along to the club, and had hardly 
entered it when I saw the boy putting up 
the telegram on the notice board. 

I, Duc\s and Dra\es, an hundred to 



24O Donn 

eight; 2, Geneva, four to six; 3, /^//y Sloper, 
three to one. "That's that!" I said. Another 
telegram gave the betting for the Tw^o 
Thousand: Threes, Sir James; seven to tw^o, 
Toison d^or; eights, Cd Canjiy, Gree\ 
Singer, Germanicus; tens, six or seven 
horses; twenty to one any other. No word 
in the betting of the gypsy horse, and I 
wondered had anything happened. Surely 
a horse looking as well as he did must have 
attracted backers' attention. And as I was 
worrying the result came in, Romany Baw, 
first; Sir James, second, Toison d'Or, third. 

"Kerry," somebody called. 

"I haven't a minute," I shouted. Neither 
I had, for James Carabine was outside, wait- 
ing to hear the result. When I told him he 
said : "There's a lot due to you, Mister Kerry, 
in laying out those gallops." "Be damned to 
that!" I said, but I was pleased all the same. 

I was on tenterhooks until I got the papers 
describing the race. Ducks and Drakes' win 
was dismissed summarily, as that of an Irish 
outsider, and the jockey, Flory Cantillon 
(Frasco could not manage the weight), was 
credited with a clever win of two lengths. 
But the account of Romany Baw's race 
filled me with indignation. According to it, 
the winner got away well, but the favourites 
were hampered at the start and either could 
have beaten the Irish trained horse, only 
that they just didn't. The race was won by 
half a length, a head separating second and 
third, and most of the account was given to 
how the favourites chased the lucky out- 
sider, and in a few more strides would 
have caught him. There were a few dirty 
backhanders given at Romany's jockey, 
who, they said, would be more at home in 
a circus than on a modern race track. He 
sat like a rider of a century back, they de- 
scribed it, more like an exponent of the old 
manege than a modern jockey, and even 



Byrne 

while the others were thundering at his 
horse's hindquarters he never moved his 
seat or used his whip. The experts' judg- 
ment of the race was that the Irish colt 
was forward in a backward field, and that 
Romany would be lost on Epsom Downs, 
especially with its "postillion rider." 

But the newspaper criticisms of the jockey 
and his mount did not seem to bother my 
uncle Valentine or the trainer or the jockey's 
self. They came back elated ; even the round 
white donkey had a humorous happy look 
in his full Latin eye. 

"Did he go well?" I asked. 

"He trotted it," said my uncle Valentine. 

"But the accounts read, sir," I protested, 
"that the favourites would have caught him 
in another couple of strides." 

"Of course they would," said my uncle 
Valentine, "at the pace he was going," he 
added. 

"I see," said I. 

"You see nothing," said my uncle Valen- 
tine. "But if you had seen the race you 
might talk. The horse is a picture. It goes 
so sweetly that you wouldn't think it was 
going at all. And as for the gypsy jockey — " 

"The papers say he's antiquated." 

"He's seven pounds better than Flory 
Cantillon," said my uncle Valentine. 

I whistled. Cantillon is our best Irish 
jockey, and his retaining fees are enormous, 
and justified. "They said he was nearly 
caught napping — " 

"Napping be damned!" exploded my un- 
cle Valentine. "This Spanish gypsy is the 
finest judge of pace I ever saw. He knew 
he had the race won, and he never both- 
ered." 

"If the horse is as good as that, and you 
have as high an opinion of the rider, well, 
sir, I won a hatful over the Newmarket 
meeting, and as the price hasn't gone below 



Destiny Bay 



241 



twenties for the Derby, I'm going after the 
Ring. There's many a bookmaker will wish 
he'd stuck to his father's old-clothes busi- 
ness." 

"I wouldn't, Kerry," said my uncle Valen- 
tine. "I'm not sure I wouldn't hedge a bit 
of what I have on, if I were you." 

I was still with amazement. 

"I saw Mifanwy Clontarf," said my uncle 
Valentine, "and only God and herself and 
myself and now you, know how ill that 
woman is." 

"But ill or not ill, she won't scratch the 
horse." 

"She won't," said my uncle Valentine, 
and his emphasis on 'she' chilled me to the 
heart. "You're forgetting, Kerry," he said 
very quietly, "the Derby Rule." 

Of the Derby itself on Epsom Downs, 
everybody knows. It is supposed to be the 
greatest test of a three-year-old in the world, 
though old William Day used to hold it was 
easy. The course may have been easy for 
Lord George Bentinck's famous and un- 
beaten mare Crucifix, when she won the 
Oaks in 1840, but most winners over the 
full course justify their victory in other 
races. The course starts up a heartbreaking 
hill, and swinging around the top, comes 
down again toward Tattenham Corner. If 
a horse waits to steady itself coming down 
it is beaten. The famous Fred Archer 
(whose tortured soul God rest!) used to 
take Tattenham Corner with one leg over 
the rails. The straight is uphill. A mile and 
a half of the trickest, most heartbreaking 
ground in the world. Such is Epsom. Its 
turf has been consecrated by the hoofs of 
great horses since James I established there 
a race for the Silver Bell: by Cromwell's 
great CofSn Mare; by the Arabs, Godolphin 
and Darby; by the great bay, Malton; by 



the prodigious Eclipse; by Diomed, son of 
Florizcl, who went to America 

Over the Derby what sums are wagered 
no man knows. On it is won the Calcutta 
Sweepstake, a prize of which makes a man 
rich for life, and the Stock Exchange sweep, 
and other sweeps innumerable. Some one 
has ventured the belief that on it annually 
are five million of pounds sterling, and 
whether he is millions short, or millions 
over none knows. Because betting is illegal. 

There are curious customs in regard to 
it, as this: that when the result is sent over 
the ticker to clubs, in case of a dead heat, 
the word "dead heat" must come first, 
because within recent years a trusted lawyer, 
wagering trust funds on a certain horse, 
was waiting by the tape to read the result, 
and seeing another horse's name come up, 
went away forthv/ith and blew his brains 
out. Had he been less volatile he would have 
seen his own fancy's name follow that, 
with "dead heat" after it and been to this 
day rich and respected. So now, for the 
protection of such, "dead heat" comes first. 
A dead heat in the Derby is as rare a thing 
as there is in the world, but still vou can't 
be too cautious. But the quaintest rule of 
the Derby is this : that if the nominator of a 
horse for the Derby Stakes dies, his horse 
is automatically scratched. There is a legend 
to the effect that an heir-at-law purposed 
to kill the owner of an entry, and to run 
a prime favourite crookedly, and that on 
hearing this the Stewards of the Jockey Club 
made the rule. Perhaps it has a more prosaic 
reason. The Jockey Club may have con- 
sidered that when a man died, in the trouble 
of fixing his estates, forfeits would not be 
paid, and that it was best for all concerned 
to have the entry scratched. How it came 
about does not matter, it exists. Whether it 
is good in law is not certain. Racing folk 



242 Donn 

will quarrel with His Majesty's Lord Jus- 
tices of Appeal, with the Privy Council, but 
they will not quarrel with the Jockey Club. 
Whetlier it is good in fact is indisputable, 
for certain owners can tell stories of nar- 
row escapes from racing gangs, in those old 
days before the Turf was cleaner than the 
Church, when attempts were made to nob- 
ble favourites, when jockeys had not the 
wings of angels under their silken jackets, 
when harsh words were spoken about train- 
ers — very, very long ago. There it is, good 
or bad, the Derby Rule! 

As to our bets on the race, they didn't 
matter. It was just bad luck. But to see the 
old lady's quarter million of pounds and 
more go down the pike was a tragedy. 
We had seen so much of shabby great 
names that I trembled for young Clontarf 
and his brother. Armenian and Greek fami- 
lies of doubtful antecedents were always on 
the lookout for a title for their daughters, 
and crooked businesses always needed di- 
rectors of title to catch gulls, so much in 
the United Kingdom do the poor trust their 
peers. The boys would not be exactly poor, 
because the horse, whether or not it ran 
in the Derby, would be worth a good round 
sum. If it were as good as my uncle Valen- 
tine said, it would win the Leger and the 
Gold Cup at Ascot. But even with these 
triumphs it wouldn't be a Derby winner. 
And the Derby means so much. There are 
so many people in England who remember 
dates by the Derby winner's names, as "I 
was married in Bend Or's year", or "the 
Achilles was lost in the China seas, let me 
see when, — that was in Sainfoins year." 
Also I wasn't sure that the Spanish gypsy 
would stay to ride him at Doncaster, or 
return for Ascot. I found him one day 
standing on the cliffs of Destiny and looking 



Byrne 

long at the sea, and I knew what that 
meant. And perhaps Romany Baw would 
not run for another jockey as he ran for 
him. 

I could not think that Death could be so 
cruel as to come between us and triumph. 
In Destiny we have a friendliness for the 
Change which most folk dread. One of our 
songs says: 

"When Mother Death in her warm arms shall 

embrace me, 
Low lull me to sleep with sweet Erin-go- 

bragh— " 

We look upon it as a kind friend who 
comes when one is tired and twisted with 
pain, and says: "Listen, avourneen, soon 
the dawn will come, and the tide is on the 
ebb. We must be going." And we trust him 
to take us, by a short road or a long road 
to a place of birds and bees, of which even 
lovely Destiny is but a clumsy seeming. He 
could not be such a poor sportsman as to 
come before the aged gallant lady had won 
her last gamble. And poor Sir Arthur, who 
had come out of his old age in Mayo to win 
a Derby! It would break his heart. And the 
great horse, it would be so hard on him. 
Nothing will convince me that a thorough- 
bred does not know a great race when he 
runs one. The streaming competitors, the 
crackle of silk, the roar as they come into 
the straight, and the sense of the jockey 
calling on the great heart that the writer 
of Job knew so well. "The glory of his nos- 
tril is terrible," says the greatest of poets. 
"He pauseth in the valley and rejoiceth in 
his strength : he goeth on to meet the armed 
men." Your intellectual will claim that the 
thoroughbred is an artificial brainless ani- 
mal evolved by men for their amusement. 
Your intellectual, here again, is a liar. 

Spring came in blue and gold. Blue of 



Destiny 

sea and fields and trees; gold of sun and 
sand and buttercup. Blue of wild hyacinth 
and bluebell; gold of primrose and labur- 
num tree. The old gypsy lady was with her 
caravan near Bordeaux, and from the occa- 
sional letter my uncle Valentine got, and 
from the few words he dropped to me, she 
was just holding her own. May drowsed 
by with the cheeping of the little life in the 
hedgerows. The laburnum floated in a 
cloud of gold and each day Romany Baw 
grew stronger. When his blankets were 
stripped from him he looked a mass of 
fighting muscle under a covering of satin, 
and his eye showed that his heart was fight- 
ing too. Old Sir Arthur looked at him a 
few days before we were to go to England, 
and he turned to me. 

"Kerry," he said, very quietly. 

"Yes, Sir Arthur." 

"All my life I have been breeding and 
training horses, and it just goes to show," 
he told me, "that goodness of God that he 
let me handle this great horse before I died." 

The morning before we left my uncle 
Valentine received a letter which I could see 
moved him. He swore a little as he does 
when moved and stroked his vast red beard 
and looked fiercely at nothing at all. 

"Is it bad news, sir V I asked. 

He didn't answer me directly. "Lady 
Clontarf is coming to the Derby," he told 
me. 

Then it was my turn to swear a little. It 
seemed to me to be but little short of 
maniacal to risk a Channel crossing and 
the treacherous English climate in her stage 
of health. If she should die on the way or 
on the downs, then all her planning and 
our work was for nothing. Why could she 
not have remained in the soft French air, 
husbanding her share of life until the event 
was past! 



Bay 243 

"She comes of ancient, violent blood," 
thundered my uncle Valentine, "and where 
should she be but present when her people 
or her horses go forth to battle.'^" 

"You are right, sir," I said. 

The epithet of "flaming" which the Eng- 
Hsh apply to their June was in this year of 
grace well deserved. The rhododendrons 
were bursting into great fountains of scarlet, 
and near the swans the cygnets paddled, 
unbelievably small. The larks fluttered in 
the air above the downs, singing so gallantly 
that when you heard the trill of the night- 
ingale in the thicket giving his noontime 
song, you felt inclined to say: "Be damned 
to that Italian bird ; my money's on the wee 
fellow!" All through Surrey the green walls 
of spring rose high and thick, and then sud- 
denly coming, as we came, through Leather- 
head and topping the hill, in the distance 
the black colony of the downs showed like 
a thundercloud. At a quarter mile away, 
the clamour came to you, like the vibration 
when great bells have been struck. 

The stands and enclosures were packed 
so thickly that one wondered how move- 
ment was possible, how people could enjoy 
themselves, close as herrings. My uncle Val- 
entine had brought his beautiful harness 
ponies across from Ireland, "to encourage 
English interest in the Irish horse" he ex- 
plained it, but with his beautifully cut 
clothes, his grey high hat, it seemed to me 
that more people looked at him as we spun 
along the road than looked at the horses. 
Behind us sat James Carabine, with his face 
brown as autumn and the gold riags in 
his thickened ears. We got out near the pad- 
dock and Carabine took the ribbons. My 
uncle Valentine said quietly to him: "Find 
out how things are, James Carabine." And 
I knew he was referring to the gypsy lady. 



^44 Donn 

Her caravan was somewhere on the Downs 
guarded by her gypsies, but my uncle had 
been there the first day of the meeting, and 
on Monday night, at the National Sporting, 
some of the gypsies had waited for him com- 
ing out and given him news. I asked him 
how she was, but all his answer was: "It's 
in the Hands of God." 

Along the track toward the grand stand 
we made our way. On the railings across 
the track the bookmakers were proclaiming 
their market: "I'll give fives the field. I'll 
give nine to one bar two. I'll give twenty 
to one bar five. Outsiders! Outsiders! Fives 
Sir James. Seven to one Toison d'Or. Nines 
Honey Bee. Nines Welsh Melody. Ten to 
one the gypsy horse." 

"It runs all right," said my uncle Valen- 
tine, "up to now." 

"Twenty to one Maureen Roe! Twenties 
Asclepiadesl Twenty-five Rifle Ranger, 
Here thirty-three to one Rifle Ranger, Mon\ 
of Sussex, or Presumptuous — " 

"Gentlemen, I am here to plead with you 
not to back the favourite. In this small en- 
velope you will find the number of the 
winner. For the contemptible sum of two 
shillings or half a dollar, you may amass a 
fortune. Who gave the winner of last year's 
Derby?" a tipster was calling. "Who gave 
the winner of the Oaks? Who gave the 
winner of the Steward's Cup?" 

"All right, guv'nor, I'll bite. 'Oo the 'ell 
did?" 

Opposite the grand stand the band of the 
Salvation Army was blaring the music of 
"Work, for the Night is Coming." Gypsy 
girls were going around dul^l^ering or tell- 
ing fortune. "Ah, gentleman, you've a lucky 
face. Cross the poor gypsy's hand with 
silver — " 

"You better cut along and see your horse 
saddled," said my uncle Valentine. Ducks 



Byrne 

and Drakes was in the Ranmore Plate and 
with the penalty he received after New- 
market, Frasco could ride him. As I went 
toward the paddock I saw the numbers go 
up, and I saw we were drawn third, which 
I think is best of all on the tricky Epsom 
five-furlough dash. I got there in time to 
see the gypsy swing into the saddle in the 
green silk jacket and orange cap, and Sir 
Arthur giving him his orders. "Keep back 
of the Fusilier," he pointed to the horse, 
"and then come out. Hit him once if you 
have to, and no more." 

''Si, si, Don Arturol" And he grinned at 
me. 

"Kerry, read this,'* said the old trainer, 
and he gave me a newspaper, "and tell me 
before the race," his voice was trembling a 
little, "if there's truth in it." 

I pushed the paper into my pocket and 
went back to the box where my uncle Val- 
entine and Jenico and Ann-Dolly were. 
"What price my horse," I asked in Tatter- 
sail's. "Sixes, Mister MacFarlane." "I'll take 
six hundred to an hundred twice." As I 
moved away there was a rush to back it. 
It tumbled in ^wt minutes to five to two. 

"And I thought I'd get tens," I said to 
my uncle Valentine, "with the Fusilier and 
Bonny Hortense in the race. I wonder who's 
been backing it." 

"I have," said Ann-Dolly. "I got twelves." 

"You might have the decency to wait un- 
til the owner gets on," I said bitterly. And as 
I watched the tapes went up. It was a beau- 
tiful start. Everything except those on the 
outside seemed to have a chance as they 
raced for the rails. I could distinguish the 
green jacket but vaguely until they came 
to Tattenham Corner, when I could see 
Fusilier pull out, and Bonny Hortense fol- 
low. But back of Fusilier, racing quietly 
beside the filly, was the jacket green. 



Destiny 

"I wish he'd go up," I said. 

"The favourite wins," they were shout- 
ing. And a woman in the box next us began 
to clap her hands calling: "Fusilier's won. 
Fusilier wins it!" 

"You're a damn fool, woman," said Ann- 
Dolly. "Ducks and Drakes has it." And as 
she spoke, I could see Frasco hunch forward 
slightly and dust his mount's neck with his 
whip. He crept past the hard-pressed Fusi- 
lier to win by half a length. 

In my joy I nearly forgot the newspaper, 
and I glanced at it rapidly. My heart sank. 
"Gypsy Owner Dying as Horse runs in 
Derby," I read, and reading down it I felt 
furious. Where the man got his information 
from I don't know, but he drew a pictur- 
esque account of the old gypsy lady on her 
deathbed on the downs as Romany Baw 
was waiting in his stall. The account was 
written the evening before, and "it is im- 
probable she will last the night," it ended. 
I gave it to my uncle Valentine, who had 
been strangely silent over my win. 

"What shall I say to Sir Arthur Pollex- 
fen?" 

"Say she's ill, but it's all rot she's dying." 

I noticed as I went to the paddock a mur- 
mur among the racegoers. The attention of 
all had been drawn to the gypsy horse by 
its jockey having won the Ranmore Plate. 
Everywhere I heard questions being asked 
as to whether she were dead. Sir James had 
hardened to fours. And on the heath I heard 
a woman proffer a sovereign to a book- 
maker on Romany Baw, and he said : "That 
horse don't run, lady." I forgot my own 
little triumph in die tragedy of the scratch- 
ing of the great horse. 

In the paddock Sir Arthur was standing 
watching the lads leading the horses around. 
Twenty-seven entries, glossy as silk, mus- 
cled like athletes of old Greece, ready to run 



Bay 245 

for the Deroy stakes. The jockeys, with their 
hard wizened faces, stood talking to train- 
ers and owners, saying nothing about the 
race, all already having been said, but just 
putting in the time until the order came to 
go to the gate. I moved across to the old 
Irish trainer and the gypsy jockey. Sir 
Arthur was saying nothing, but his hand 
trembled as he took a pinch of snuff from 
his old-fashioned silver horn. The gypsy 
jockey stood erect, with his overcoat over 
his silk. It was a heart-rending five minutes 
standing there beside them, waiting for 
the message that they were not to go. 

My uncle Valentine was standing with a 
couple of the Stewards, A small race offi- 
cial was explaining something to them. 
They nodded him away. There was an- 
other minute's conversation and my uncle 
came toward us. The old trainer was fum- 
bling pitifully with his silver snuff horn, 
trying to find the pocket in which to put it. 

"It's queer," said my uncle Valentine, 
"but nobody seems to know where Lady 
Clontarf is. She's not in her caravan." 

"So — " questioned the old trainer. 

"So you run," said my uncle Valentine. 
"The horse comes under starter's orders. 
You may have an objection, Arthur, but you 
run." 

The old man put on youth and grandeur 
before my eyes. He stood erect. With an eye 
like an eagle's he looked around the pad- 
dock. 

"Leg up, boy!" he snapped at Frasco. 

"Here, give me your coat." I helped 
throw the golden-and-red shirted figure 
into the saddle. Then the head lad led the 
horse out. 

We moved down the track and into the 
stand, and the parade began. Lord Shire's 
great horse, and the French hope Toison 
d'Orj the brown colt owned by the richest 



246 Donn 

merchant in the world, and the Httle horse 
owned by the Leicester butcher, who served 
in his own shop; the horse owned by the 
peer of last year's making; and the bay 
filly owned by the first baroness in England. 
They went down past the stand, and turn- 
ing breezed off at a gallop back, to cross 
the downs toward the starting gate, and as 
they went with each went some one's heart. 
All eyes seemed turned on the gypsy horse, 
with his rider erect as a Life Guardsman. 
As Frasco raised his whip to his cap in 
the direction of our box, I heard in one of 
the neighbouring boxes a man say: "But 
that horse's owner is dead!" 

"Is that so. Uncle Valentine?" asked Ann- 
Dolly. There were tears in her eyes. "Is that 
true?" 

"Nothing is true until you see it your- 
self," parried my uncle Valentine. And as 
she seemed to be about to cry openly, — 
"Don't you see the horse running?" he 
said. "Don't you know the rule?" But his 
eyes were riveted through his glasses on the 
starting gate. I could see deep furrows of 
anxiety on his bronze brow. In the distance, 
over the crowd's heads, over the book- 
maker's banners, over the tents, we could 
see the dancing horses at the tape, the gay 
colours of the riders moving here and there 
in an intricate pattern, the massed hun- 
dreds of black figures at the start. Near us, 
across the rails, some religious zealots let 
fly little balloons carrying banners remind- 
ing us that doom was waiting. Their band 
broke into a lugubrious hymn, while nasal 
voices took it up. In the silence of the 
crowded downs, breathless for the start, 
the religious demonstration seemed start- 
ingly trivial. The line of horses, formed 
for the gate, broke, and wheeled. My uncle 
snapped his fingers in vexation. 

"Why can't the fool get them away ?" 



Byrne 

Then out of a seeming inextricable maze, 
the line formed suddenly and advanced on 
the tapes. And the heavy silence exploded 
into a low roar like growling thunder. Each 
man shouted: "They're off!" The Derby had 
started. 

It seemed like a river of satin, with iri- 
descent foam, pouring, against all nature, 
uphill. And for one instant you could dis- 
tinguish nothing. You looked to see if your 
horse had got away well, had not been 
kicked or cut into at the start, and as you 
were disentangling them, the banks of gorse 
shut them from your view, and when you 
saw them again they were racing for the 
turn of the hill. The erect figure of the 
jockey caught my eye before his colours 
did. 

"He's lying fifth," I told my uncle Valen- 
tine. 

"He's running well," my uncle remarked 
quietly. 

They swung around the top of the hill, 
appearing above the rails and gorse, like 
something tremendously artificial, like some 
theatrical illusion, as of a boat going across 
the stage. There were three horses grouped 
together, then a black horse — Esterhazy's 
fine colt — then Romany Baw, then after that 
a stretching line of horses. Something came 
out of the pack at the top of the hill, and 
passed the gypsy horse and the fourth. 

"Toison d'Or is going up," Jenico told 
me. 

But the gallant French colt's bolt was 
flown. He fell back, and now one of the 
leaders dropped back. And Romany was 
fourth as they started downhill for Tatten- 
ham Corner. "How slow they go!" I 
thought. 

"What a pace!" said Jenico, his watch in 
his hand. 

At Tattenham Corner the butcher's lovely 



Destiny 

little horse was beaten, and a sort of moan 
came from the rails where the poor people 
stood. Above the religious band's outrageous 
nasal tones, the ring began roaring: "Sir 
James! Sir James has it. Twenty to one 
bar St. James!" 

As they came flying up the stretch I could 
see the favourite going along, like some 
bird flying low, his jockey hunched like an 
ape on his withers. Beside him raced an out- 
sider, a French-bred horse owned by Ka- 
zoutlian, an Armenian banker. Close to his 
heels came the gypsy horse on the inside, 
Frasco sitting as though the horse were 
standing still. Before him raced the favour- 
ite and the rank outsider. 

"It's all over," I said. "He can't get 
through. And he can't pull around. Luck 
of the game!" 

And then the rider on the Armenian's 
horse tried his last effort. He brought his 
whip high in the air. My uncle Valentine 
thundered a great oath. 

"Look, Kerry!" His fingers gripped my 
shoulder. 

I knew, when I saw the French horse 
throw his head up, that he was going to 
swerve at the whip, but I never expected 
Frasco's mad rush. He seemed to jump the 
opening, and land the horse past Sir James. 

"The favourite's beat!" went up the cry 
of dismay. 

Romany Baw, with Frasco forward on his 
neck, passed the winning post first by a 
clear length. 

Then a sort of stunned silence fell on 
the Derby crowd. Nobody knew what 
would happen. If, as the rumour went 
around, the owner was dead, then the sec- 
ond automatically won. All eyes were on the 
horse as the trainer led him into the pad- 
dock, followed by second and third. All 
eyes turned from the horse toward the notice 



Bay 247 

board as the numbers went up: 17, i, 26. 
All folk were waiting for the red objection 
signal. The owner of the second led his 
horse in, the burly Yorkshire peer. An old 
gnarled man, with a face like a walnut, 
Kazoutlian's self, led in the third. 

"I say, Kerry," Jenico called quietly, 
"something's up near the paddock." 

I turned and noticed a milling mob down 
the course on our right. The mounted po- 
licemen set off at a trot toward the commo- 
tion. Then cheering went into the air like 
a peal of bells. 

Down the course came all the gypsies, 
all the gypsies in the world, it seemed to me. 
Big-striding, black men with gold earrings 
and coloured neckerchiefs, and staves in 
their hands. And gypsy women, a-j ingle 
with coins, dancing. Their tambourines 
jangled, as they danced forward in a strange 
East Indian rhythm. There was a loud order 
barked by the police officer, and the men 
stood by to let them pass. And the stolid 
English police began cheering too. It seemed 
to me that even the little trees of the downs 
were cheering, and in an instant I cheered 
too. 

For back of an escort of mounted g\'psies, 
big foreign men with moustaches, saddle- 
less on their shaggy mounts, came a g)'psy 
cart with its cover down, drawn by four 
prancing horses. A wild-looking gypsy man 
was holding the reins. On the cart, for all 
to see, seated in a great armchair, propped 
up by cushions, was Lady Clontarf. Her 
head was laid back on a pillow, and her 
eyes were closed, as if the strain of appear- 
ing had been too much for her. Her little 
maid was crouched at her feet. 

For an instant we saw her, and noticed 
the aged beauty of her face, noticed the 
peace like twilight on it. There was an 
order from a big Roumanian gypsy and the 



248 Donn 

Romany people made a lane. The driver 
stood up on his perch and manoeuvring his 
long snakclike whip in the air, made it 
crack like a musket. The horses broke into 
a gallop, and the gypsy cart v^'ent over the 
turfed course toward Tattenham Corner, 
passed it, and went up the hill and disap- 
peared over the Surrey downs. All the world 
was cheering. 

"Come in here," said my uncle Valentine, 
and he took me into the cool beauty of our 
little church of Saint Columba's-in-Paganry. 
"Now what do you think of that?" And he 
pointed out a brass tablet on the wall. 

"In Memory of Mifanwy, Countess of 
Clontarf and Kincora," I read. Then came 
the dates of her birth and death, "and who 
is buried after the Romany manner, no man 
knows where." And then came the strange 
text, "In death she was not divided." 

"But surely," I objected, "the quotation 
is : 'In death they were not divided.' " 

"It may be," said my uncle Valentine, "or 
it may not be. But as the living of Saint 
Columba's-in-Paganry is in my gift, surely 
to God!" he broke out, "a man can have a 
text the way he wants it in his own Church." 

This was arguable, but something more 
serious caught my eye. 



Byrne 

"See, sir," I said, "the date of her death is 
wrong. She died on the evening of Derby 
Day, June the second. And here it is given 
as June the first." 

"She did not die on the evening of Derby 
Day. She died on the First." 

"Then," I said, "when she rode down the 
course on her gypsy cart," and a little chill 
came over me, "she was — " 

"As a herring, Kerry, as a gutted herring," 
my uncle Valentine said. 

"Then the rule was really infringed, and 
the horse should not have won." 

"Wasn't he the best horse there .f^" 

^'Undoubtedly, sir, but as to the betting." 

"The bookmakers lost less than they 
would have lost on the favourite." 

"But the backers of the favourite." 

"The small backer in the silver ring is 
paid on the first past the post, so they'd 
have lost, anyway. At any rate, they all 
should have lost. They backed their opinion 
as to which was the best horse, and it 
wasn't." 

"But damn it all, sir! and God forgive 
me for swearing in this holy place — there's 
the Derby Rule." 

" 'The letter killeth,' Kerry," quoted my 
uncle gravely, even piously. " 'The letter 
killeth.' '* 



JOHN MASEFIELD 



The Finish 



front RIGHT ROYAL 



This magnificent narrative poem by John Masefield, companion piece 
to Reynard the Fox, tells the story of a race in which a man riding a 
horse that has never won because of a lac\ of courage, dreams that 
now, at last, his horse's day has come, and so bets his whole fortune and 
future on the outcome of the race. Off to a bad start with his horse falling 
over a hurdle, he remounts and trails the field until the very end whe^i 
he overta\es and passes it. The stirring rhythm of the words ending the 
poem has the reader very nearly gasping for breath when the "White Post" 
is finally passed. 

So they rushed for one second, then Sir Lopez shot out: 
Charles thought, "There, he's done me, without any doubt. 
O come now. Right Royal!" And Sir Lopez changed feet 
And his ears went back level; Sir Lopez was beat. 

Right Royal went past him, half an inch, half a head, 
Half a neck, he was leading, for an instant he led; 
Then a hooped black and coral flew up like a shot, 
With a lightning-like effort from little Gavotte. 

The little bright mare, made of nerves and steel springs, 
Shot level beside him, shot ahead as with wings. 
Charles felt his horse quicken, felt the desperate beat 
Of the blood in his body from his knees to his feet. 

Three terrible strides brought him up to the mare, 

Then they swirled to wild shouting through a whirl of blown air; 

Then Gavotte died to nothing; Soyland came once again 

Till his muzzle just reached to the knot on his rein. 



Then a whirl of urged horses thundered up, whipped and blown 
Soyland, Peterkinooks, and Red Ember the roan. 

249 



]ohn Masc field 

For an instant they challenged, then they drooped and were done; 
Then the White Post shot backwards, Right Royal had won. 

Won a half length from Soyland, Red Ember close third; 
Fourth, Peterkinooks; Fifth, Gavotte, harshly spurred; 
Sixth, Sir Lopez, whose rider said "J^st at the straight 
He swerved at the hurdle and twisted a plate." 

Then the numbers went up; then John Harding appeared 
To lead in the Winner while the bookmakers cheered. 
Then the riders weighed-in, and the meeting was over. 
And bright Emmy Crowthorne could go with her lover. 

For the bets on Right Royal which Cothill had made 
The take defaulted, they never were paid; 
The taker went West, whence he sent Charles's bride 
Silver bit-cups and beadwork on antelope hide. 

Charles married his lady, but he rode no more races; 
He lives on the Downland on the blown grassy places, 
Where he and Right Royal can canter for hours 
On the flock bitten turf full of tiny blue flowers. 

There the Roman pitcht camp, there the Saxon kept sheep. 
There he lives out this Living that no man can keep, 
That is manful but a moment before it must pass. 
Like the stars sweeping westward, like the wind on the grass. 



250 



VI 

Horses, Old & Young 
Grave & Gay 



A bad-tempered man will never 
make a good-tempered horse. 



ANNA SEWELL 



CAPTAIN de COUDENHOVE 



The Artillery Horse's Prayer 



from THE FIELD ARTILLERY JOURNAL 



This prayer was given me some years ago by Colonel Harry Disston, 
He did not, at the time, tell me who Captain de Coudenhove was, or how 
he happened to have the prayer, I am glad to include it here as the only 
representation of the horse at war. 



To thee, my Master, I offer my prayer. 

Treat me as a living being, not as a machine. 

Feed me, water and care for me, and when the day's work is 
done, groom me carefully so that my circulation may act well, 
for remember, a good grooming is equivalent to half a feed. Clean 
my legs and feet and keep them in good condition for they are 
the most important parts of my body. 

Pet me sometimes, be always gentle with me so that I may serve 
you the more gladly and learn to love you. 

Do not jerk the reins, do not whip me when I am going up-hill. 

Do not force me out of the regular gait or you will not have 
my strength when you want it. Never strike, beat or kick me 
when I do not understand what you mean, but give me a chance to 
understand you. Watch me, and if I fail to do your bidding, 
see if something is not wrong with my harness or feet. 

Don't draw the straps too tight: give me freedom to move my 
head. Don't make my load too heavy, and Oh! I pray thee, have 
me well shod every month. Examine my teeth when I do not eat: 
I may have some teeth too long or I may have an ulcerated tooth, 
and that, you know, is very painful. Do not tie my head in an 
unnatural position or take away my best defence against die 
flies and mosquitoes by cutting off my tail. 

I cannot, alas, tell you when I am thirsty, so give me pure, 
cold water frequently. Do all you can to protect me from the 

253 



Captain de Cotidenhove 

sun: and throw a cover over me, not when I am working, but when 
I am standing in the cold. 

I ahvays try to do cheerfully the work you require of me: 
and day and night I stand for hours patiently waiting for you. 

In this war, Uke any other soldier, I will do my best without 
hope of any war cross, content to serve my country and you; if 
need be, I will die calm and dignified on the battlefield; there- 
fore, oh! my master, treat me in the kindest way and your God 
will reward you here and hereafter. 

I am not irreverent if I ask this, my prayer, in the name of Him 

who was born in a stable. 



254 



HELEN DORE BOYLSTON (contemporary) 



The Lady of Leisure 

from HARPER'S MAGAZINE (1933 

Here is as delightful and delicate a picture of a horse as one will find 
anywhere. The writer depends not on any unusual circumstances, not 
on any human character, but on the charm of her heroine, and enchants 
us all in so doing. 



Y^W ^wo horses, with rider, came up the 
highway by the pasture, their 
hoofs clopping in cheerful rhythm 
on the hard surface. Molly ran along the 
fence beside them, her head and tail very 
high and her black body shining in the 
sun. If it had not been for the fence she 
could have outrun them easily. But the 
fence was there. Molly watched them until 
they grew small in the distance, then she 
swung around and ambled slowly back to 
the end of the pasture. 

She was very clean. No speck of dust 
lurked beneath the sheen of her coat. Her 
mane and tail were free of burs and tangles. 
Her hoofs had been newly oiled. 

At the margin of the frog pond she 
paused. Her ears pricked forward and she 
wooshed softly through her nose. The water 
was brackish and muddy and covered with 
a green slime. Molly never drank there, pre- 
ferring the spring under the apple trees, 
but now she went unhesitatingly to the 
water and splashed in. When the gray ooze 
reached her knees she turned sidewise to 



the bank and lay down with a grunt. She 
rolled, floundered up, turned, and rolled 
again. When at last she rose, dripping, the 
cool clay lay thickly on her back and sides 
and plastered her legs. A lily pad was 
caught in her tail and her mane was fes- 
tooned with wreaths of green slime. Molly 
shook herself gingerly and clambered up 
the bank. 

A cowpath wandered through a tangle 
of weeds and long grass and straggled 
away under the apple trees, to the barn. 
It was soft under foot and the grasses were 
sweet and juicy. Molly browsed a little here 
and there and snufTed at the clover-scented 
wind. 

The barn windows were open and Molly 
stopped, very casually, beneath one. She 
waited for a moment, and then, hearing the 
swish of a tail inside, laid her ears flat to 
her head and snorted. There was a sound of 
trampling, and Molly wheeled. But when 
the brown head and wondering eyes of 
Governor, the three-year-old gelding, ap- 
peared in the window, Molly was standing 



255 



256 



Helen Dore 



quietly with drooping head and eyes half 
closed. A wisp of green slime dangled 
from one ear. Her back was just within 
reach of Governor's nose. 

He stretched his head out of the window, 
all eagerness, and sniffed at Molly's wet 
flank. Then he sprank back squealing. 
Molly's heels had missed his nose by a scant 
half inch. She lashed out again, her hoofs 
ringing against the side of the barn. There 
was a splintering crash inside, more tram- 
pling, another crash, and a long enraged 
squeal. Molly kicked at the barn once more. 
Governor returned the kick with fury. 

It was Bruce. Molly moved away from 
the window and stared over the pasture gate 
at the overalled figure in the garage door- 
way. The clamor in the barn ceased. Molly's 
eyes shone with honesty. Her ears stood up 
in astonished innocence. Her little forefeet 
were planted close together. She waited 
primly, clay daubed and virtuous. Bruce 
grinned and after a moment went back into 
the garage. 

The wind whispered in the oaks and an 
acorn fell with a sharp thwack on the barn 
roof. Governor was silent. A leaf blew across 
the barnyard and a puff-ball of a kitten 
rushed after it, tail twirking. A sound of 
hammering came from the garage. Molly 
stretched out a soft black nose and fum- 
bled with the wooden button that fastened 
the gate. It did not move easily and it was 
splintery. Molly tried her teeth on it and 
at last it turned. She pushed at the gate, 
but nothing happened. 

The hammering in the garage stopped 
and Bruce appeared suddenly in the door. 
Molly drowsed hastily. Bruce crossed to the 
house, got something from the back porch, 
and returned to the garage. 

After a minute Molly tried the gate again. 



Boylston 

It refused to open. She nosed around the 
latch and presently encountered the cold 
iron of a hook. It was a fairly loose hook. 
Molly worked at it with short lifting drives 
of her nose until it fell, tapping, against 
the gate, which opened a little way of it- 
self, and then caught against the sod. Molly 
scraped through, broke into a gallop, and 
thundered across the lawn to the driveway. 
She clattered before the door of the garage. 

Bruce ran out, grimly silent. 

Molly cavorted in front of him but not 
too near. She plunged and whirled and 
rocked and plunged, her hoofs beating a 
tattoo on the gravel. Her wet mane flapped 
against her neck. Lumps of clay fell from 
her. The lily pad in her tail swung in lively 
circles behind her. With a final superb fling 
of heels into the air she raced down the 
slope to the gorge, jumped lightly across 
the brook, and began the climb up the steep 
wooded hill on the other side. 

Bruce followed, panting. He would try 
to cut her off and head her back. Molly 
kept well ahead of him. She wound in and 
out among the oaks, stopping now and 
again to look back and see what progress 
Bruce was making. He wasn't making 
much. The hill was very steep. 

Molly continued on, up, her tail switch- 
ing vigorously from side to side. Bruce was 
crashing through the underbrush below 
her as she came out on the crest of the ridge. 
She tore off a mouthful of leaves from a 
passing branch and stopped to wait. Bruce 
was nowhere in sight. 

Down the ridge on the other side the 
valley began in green and gold and melted 
away into the plum-colored hills. Their 
outlines wavered in the heat, but the breath 
of the wind on Molly's back was cool and 
fresh. She munched oak leaves in placid 
contentment and watched the cloud sha- 



The Lady 

dows trailing their purple across the floor 
of the valley. On the tiny yellow thread of 
the highway a car glittered for a moment 
and was gone. Its hum came back on the 
wind. A squirrel swore with violence from 
a branch above her head. There was silence 
below. 

Molly moved off the path to the edge of 
the ravine and looked down. The oak leaves 
dropped unnoticed from her mouth. Bruce 
was going back down the hill! 

Molly stared after him, round-eyed. Then 
she lifted a forefoot and stamped once. Her 
nostrils vibrated with the explosion of her 
breath. 

The path curved sharply and dipped 
down into the ravine. Molly stepped down 
cautiously, threw herself back on her 
haunches, forefeet braced, and slid, plowing 
up the matting of leaves and leaving a fur- 
row of black loam behind her. One leap 
and she was across the brook. Her hoofs 
rang on the flagstone steps that led up the 
bank to the side of the garage. Bruce was 
inside. She could hear him moving. On the 
lawn she stopped, ready to run, but Bruce 
did not come out. 

Molly bit off the top of a nearby holly- 
hock, mumbled it and let it drop. She 
moved forward along the side of the garage 
to where, by stretching her neck to the 
uttermost, she could just see the doorsill. 
There was no one there. She stamped. 
Silence. Briskly, with a determined switch 
of the tail, Molly tramped across a flower 
bed and went up to the door. The inside 
of the garage was dark after the bright 
sunlight, and Molly blinked and stretched 
and peered, but she saw nothing but a 
stairway, outlined against a dusty window- 
pane. It was too much. Molly took one more 
step and put her head in at the door. 

The rope dropped without a sound, set- 



of leisure 257 

tling neatly behind her ears. Molly knew 
better than to fight it. She followed Bruce 
across the yard and through the pasture 
gate. She watched while he buttoned the 
gate, hooked it, and bound the hook in 
place with wire. He went away. That was 
that. 

There was nothing to do. The early wind- 
fall apples didn't taste right. The grass 
was dusty. The sun was hot, and the drying 
clay on her back and sides was beginning 
to be itchy. Molly knelt, rolled experiment- 
ally once or twice, got a good swing, and 
rolled completely over. Truimphant, she 
rolled all the way back, and rose in a 
shower of dust and twigs. 

There was nothing left to do but stand. 
Molly stood, growing sleepy. At last a hen 
wandering across the pasture caught her 
eye. She brightened. There were more hens 
scratching around in the grass under the 
willows. Molly's ears went back, her head 
lifted, and her tail went up. She galloped 
down the flock, and it scattered, fluttering 
and squawking. Molly dashed back and 
forth, her teeth snapping, turning back the 
stragglers, and bunching them together. 
She drove them into the corner where the 
fence joined the barn. 

It wasn't a very good place. One hen 
skimmed under the fence and escaped. 
Molly nagged with teeth and heels and 
drove the rest, a compact and jittering little 
group, round to the back of the barn. There 
was no good place there to hold them either. 
She headed them down die wagon road 
toward the orchard in a slirieking proces- 
sion that sowed the ruts with feathers. 
Molly capered behind. 

''Molly! For God sa\er 

Molly veered away from die flock and 
thundered past them, mane and tail stream- 
ing. Under the apple trees she stopped and 



258 



Helen Dore 



swung around to look back, neck arched 
and head high. Bruce was cHmbing slowly 
back over the fence. Molly snorted. 

When he had gone Molly cropped a 
little grass, but languidly. It was too dusty. 
She knocked a fly oft" her foreleg with her 
nose. It returned and buzzed about her. 
Molly stood waiting, listening to it, her 
eyes furious. It lit on her shoulder. Molly 
snapped, and the fly dropped to the ground. 

The shadows were growing long down 
the hillside at the head of the ravine, and 
swarms of gnats jigged about her ears. It 
would soon be time to eat. Molly turned 
suddenly and trotted back to the barn. The 
door was open and the sweet musty smell 
of the hay blew out upon her. She stepped 
across the threshold and went straight to 
the door of the feed room. It was not that 
she expected to get it open, these days, but 
she could always try. She tried. Miracle of 
miracles, it opened! Someone had left off 
the wire which had held it fast for a year, 
against all Molly's attempts. 

The top of the feed box was up! 

Molly's eyes bulged. She took one step 
farther in and buried her nose in the whis- 
pering oats. In the loft overhead the hay 
ticked faintly. A mouse ran along a beam 
and paused to look, bright-eyed and trem- 
bling. From somewhere came the thin 
mewing of new kittens. Governor stamped 
in his stall. Molly ate intensely, lifting her 
head only at rare intervals to munch more 
leisurely. A fly, caught in a spider web by 
the window, droned endlessly. The line 
of oats against the side of the feed box sifted 
lower and lower. 

When it was impossible to crowd in an- 
other oat Molly raised her head and sighed, 
a gusty sigh of repletion. She backed out 
of the feed room a little awkwardly and 
went out into the barnyard and down the 



Boylston 

orchard road. The grasses brushed her knees 
and from force of habit she bit off a mouth- 
ful, but she chewed without swallowing 
and without interest. 

The spring lay crystal clear under the 
trees, the green foliage mirrored in its heart. 
Molly lowered her head and drank for a 
long time, sucking up the water in great 
thirsty gulps. The coolness flowed around 
her nostrils and down her dusty throat. She 
lifted her head and stood for a moment, 
motionless. Then she drank again. 

She felt a little heavy and cold inside 
when she at last stopped drinking, and she 
turned away from the spring with an effort. 
A strange sharp pain was beginning in her 
middle. It darted around, stabbing her, and 
Molly bit at her side. She heard Bruce's 
shout from the window of the feed room, 
but it was too much trouble to dodge when 
he ran down the road, a halter in his hand. 
He seemed agitated. Molly felt the agitation 
in his hands when he slipped the halter 
over her head. 

He led her gently back to the barn, tied 
her by the door, and stood looking at her. 
"Oh, Molly, Molly! YouVe killed yourself!" 
he said. Molly rolled an eye at him. She was 
very uncomfortable. He touched her side 
and she flinched. Bruce went away through 
the barn, running. 

Molly's head hung nearly to her knees. 

Bruce returned presently and paced back 
and forth beside her. He usually moved 
rather slowly, but now he walked with 
quick short steps and he watched her 
sharply. It was irritating, and Molly felt 
uneasy. But the pain in her middle seemed 
to be going away. She hadn't that heavy 
sensation any more either. 

A car roared out in front of the barn 
and then stopped roaring. A long narrow 
man came through the back door of the barn 



The Lady 

with a bag in his hand. Molly stiffened. 
She knew him. He was the one who had 
pried her mouth open once and had rasped 
at her back teeth most unpleasantly. The 
pain in her inside was practically gone now. 

The long man and Bruce were both 
looking at her and their voices rose and fell. 
Molly switched her tail uneasily. The bag 
was on the ground and it had an evil smell. 
The long man went to it and took out a 
bottle. His movements were unhurried as 
he approached Molly and his touch on her 
neck was sure and kind. Molly relaxed a 
little. He spoke to her and his tone was 
light. It had been like that before. Molly 
jerked her head away from his hands but 
they followed her. There was no escape. 
Molly stood, rigid and motionless. 

It took only a few seconds. The stuff 
burned in her throat for a short time, but 
that was all. Bruce untied her and let her go 
free. They watched her as she turned away 
and stood quietly at a little distance from 
them. She was still breathing hard and she 
was prepared to run if they came toward 
her, but they didn't. She rambled across the 
barnyard to a clump of grass and picked 
at it. She would have gone down to the end 
of the pasture, but they couldn't catch her 
now anyway, and she hated to miss any- 
thing. 

They stayed there for a long time, just 
waiting, and not doing anything at all, 
except once, when Molly considered rolling. 
Then they both ran toward her. But when 
she scrambled up they only stared at her, 



of Leisure 259 

their mouths making little round holes in 
their faces. 

The sun went down behind the hill, 
leaving it black against the lemon-yellow 
sky. A smell of wood smoke and damp 
earth drifted down the breeze. Across the 
jfields a whippoorwill called. 

Suddenly Molly flung up her head. She 
wheeled and raced to the end of the pasture, 
circled, and raced back, pounding up to 
Bruce with her ears flattened and her eyes 
rolling viciously. 

The long man sprang for the safety of 
the barn door, but Bruce didn't move. A 
slow grin spread across his face. He held out 
his hand and Molly dropped her nose into 
it. The long man shook his head, laughing, 
picked up his bag, and vanished into the 
darkness. The car roared again and a finger 
of light swept across the willows. 

Molly tossed her head. Very gently she 
reached down and took Bruce's sleeve into 
her mouth. A long-drawn loop of sound 
came up Wolf Creek — a fox hound trying 
his voice — and a rabbit leaped out of a briar 
patch and fled, zig-zagging down the 
orchard road, its white tuft of tail bobbing 
in the starlight. Bruce's other hand crept up 
Molly's cheek, patting and patting in quick 
little movements. 

"Come, Molly." 

Molly drew a deep breath. It had been 
a very dull day. She rubbed her face against 
Bruce's sleeve and then, shoulder to shoul- 
der, they crossed the yard and went into the 
warm darkness of the barn. 



HERBERT RAVENEL SASS (1884- ) 



Northwind 



from THE WAY OF THE WILD 



There have been a number of theories advanced as to how the wild 
horses on the islands off Carolina originated. The supposition of this 
story is as plausible as any. I felt myself fortunate in finding a story 
which not only concerned a special breed but also the American Indian, 
The descriptions are both accurate and beautiful. Indians, li\e all savages, 
have no feelings of pity, so the Raven has no pity at the helplessness of 
the frantic stallion. No wild stallion story seems complete without a 
fight, and the one recounted here is well done. This whole story is vivid; 
but not sentimental as are so many about the untamed horses of America. 



It was in the days when Moytoy of 
Tellequo was High Chief of the 
Cherokee nation that the wild chestnut 
stallion known afterward as Northwind 
left the savannahs of the Choctaw country 
and travelled to the Overhills of the Chero- 
kees. He made this long journey because 
the Choctaw horse-hunters had been press- 
ing him hard. A rumor had run through 
the tribe, started perhaps by some learned 
conjurer or medicine man, that the tall, 
long-maned chestnut stallion who was king 
of the wild horse herds was descended from 
the famous steed which the Prince Soto 
rode when, many years before, he led his 
Spaniards through the Choctaw lands far 
into the Mississippi wilderness and perished 
there. 



This rumor sharpened the eagerness of 
the younger braves, for it was well known 
that Soto's horse had magic in him. That 
spring they hunted the wild stallion more 
persistently than ever; and at last, taking 
two sorrel mares with him, he struck north- 
eastward, seeking safer pastures. 

He did not find them in the Overhills, 
as the Cherokees called the high Smokies 
and the Blue Ridge where they lived and 
hunted. At dawn one May morning, as he 
lay on a bed of fresh sweet-scented grass 
near the middle of a natural pasture known 
as Long Meadow, a warning came to him. 
He raised his head high and sniflfed the 
air, then jumped nimbly to his feet. For a 
half minute, however, he did not rouse the 



260 



The Way 

two mares lying on either side of him: and 
they, if they were aware of his movement, 
were content to await his signal. 

He gave the signal presently, and the 
mares rose, their ears pricked, their nostrils 
quivering. A light breeze blew across the 
meadow from the north. The stallion faced 
south, for his sensitive nose told him that 
no foeman was approaching from the op- 
posite direction. He knew that his ears had 
not deceived him and that the sound which 
he had heard was near at hand. But he did 
not know the exact quarter from which the 
sound had come ; and though his large eyes 
were well adapted to the dim light, no- 
where could he discern that sinister weaving 
movement of the tall, close-growing grass 
which would reveal the stealthy approach 
of bear or puma. So, for some minutes, he 
waited motionless, his head held high, every 
faculty keyed to the utmost. 

Twenty yards away down the wind 
Corane the Raven, young warrior of the 
Cherokees, crouching low in the grass, 
watched the wild stallion eagerly. Himself 
invisible, he could see his quarry more and 
more plainly as the light grew stronger; 
and he knew already that the wits of this 
slim, long-maned chestnut hotrse, which 
had come over the mountains from the 
west, were worthy of his beauty and 
strength. With all his art — and the Raven 
prided himself on his skill as a still-hunter 
— and with all the conditions in his favor, 
he had been baffled. Having located the beds 
of the wild horses, he had left his own 
horse, Monito-Kinibic, at the edge of the 
woods and had crept through the grass as 
furtively as a lynx. But his approach had 
been detected when he was yet five lance- 
lengths distant, and since then the stallion 
had made no false move, had committed 
no error of judgment. 



of the Wild -ifii 

Corane the Raven knew the wild horses 
well. Most of them were small and wiry, 
already approaching the mustang type of 
later years; but in those early days, before 
inbreeding had proceeded very far, an oc- 
casional stallion still revealed unmistakably 
the fine qualities of blooded forebears. From 
his hiding place in the grass the young 
warrior, naked except for a light loincloth 
of deer-hide, studied the great chestnut 
carefully, thoughtfully, marvelling at the 
lithe symmetry of his powerful but beau- 
tifully moulded form, admiring his coolness 
and steadiness in the face of danger. The 
stallion showed no sign of fear. He did not 
fidget or caper nervously. Only his head 
moved slowly back and forth, while with 
all his powers of sight, scent and hearing 
he strove to locate the precise spot where his 
enemy was lurking. 

The Raven smiled in approval; and 
presently he applied a test of another kind. 

With his long spear he pushed the grass 
stems in front of him, causing the tops of 
the tall blades to quiver and wave. The 
movement was slight; yet even in the pale 
morning light the wild horse saw it. He 
watched the spot intently for some 
moments. Then he moved slowly and 
cautiously forward, the mares following in 
his tracks. He moved neither toward the 
danger nor away from it. Instead, he circled 
it, and the Raven realized at once what the 
stallion's purpose was. He intended to get 
down wind from the suspected spot, so that 
his nose could tell him whether an enemy 
hid there, and, if so, what kind of enemy 
it was. 

The young warrior waited, curious to 
see the outcome. Suddenly the stallion's 
head jerked upward. He was well down the 
wind now and a puil of air had filled his 
nostrils with the manscent. A moment he 



262 



Herbert Ravenel Sass 



stood at gaze; and in that moment one of 
the mares caught the tell-tale scent, snorted 
with terror and bolted at full speed. Close 
behind her raced the other mare; while the 
stallion, wheeling gracefully, followed at 
a slower pace, his eyes searching the grassy 
plain ahead. 

The Raven had risen to his feet and stood 
in plain view, but the chestnut stallion 
scarcely glanced at him again. He was no 
longer a menace. Of greater importance 
now were other dangers unknown, in- 
visible, yet possibly imminent. 

The natural meadows of lush grass and 
maiden cane were perilous places for the 
unwary. In them the puma set his am- 
bush; there the black bear often lurked; 
hidden in that dense cover, the Indian 
horse-hunter sometimes waited with their 
snares. The mares, in a frenzy of panic, 
were beyond their protector's control. Their 
nostrils full of the man-smell, they had 
forgotten all other perils. But the stallion 
had not forgotten. Before the mares had 
run fifty yards the thing that he feared 
happened. 

Out of the grass a black bulk heaved 
upward, reared high with huge hairy arms 
outspread, fell forward with a deep grunt- 
ing roar on the haunch of the foremost 
mare. Screaming like a mad thing, the 
mare reeled, staggered and went down. 
In a fraction of a second she was on her 
feet again, but the big mountain black bear, 
hurling himself on her hindquarters, 
crushed them to the ground. 

Corane the Raven, racing forward at the 
sound of the mare's frenzied scream, was 
near enough to see part of what happened. 
He saw the wild stallion rear to his utmost 
height and come down with battering fore- 
feet on the bear's back. He heard the stal- 
lion's loud squeal of fury, the bear's hoarse 



grunt of rage and pain. Next moment the 
mare was up again and running for her 
life, the stallion cantering easily behind 
her. 

When the Raven reached the spot the 
bear had vanished; and the young Indian, 
marvelling at what he had seen, ran toward 
the woods-edge where his swift roan, 
Manito-Kinibic, awaited him. 

In this way began the chase of the chest- 
nut stallion — Northwind, as he was after- 
ward known — that long hunt which Corane 
the Raven made long ago, even before the 
time of Atta-Kulla-Kulla the Wise. It was 
Dunmore the trader who first brought 
down from the Overhills the story of that 
hunt and told it one night in Nick Roun- 
der's tavern in Charles Town. Dunmore 
had it from the Raven himself; and the 
Raven was known among the white traders 
and hunters as a truthful man. But he was 
known also as a man of few words, while 
Dunmore, great hunter and famous Indian 
fighter though he was, had a tongue more 
fluent than a play-actor's. 

So it was probably Dunmore who put 
color into the story, and undoubtedly his 
quick brain, well warmed with rum that 
night in the tavern, filled in many details. 
The tale appealed to him, for he was a lover 
of horses; and this story of the feud be- 
tween Northwind, the wild stallion, and 
Manito-Kinibic, the Raven's roan, con- 
cerned two horses which were paladins of 
their kind. 

For the hunt which began that morning 
in Long Meadow became in large measure 
a contest between these two. It happened 
that the Raven had returned not long before 
from a peace mission to the Choctaws, and 
while in their country he had heard of the 
wonderful wild horse which was said to 



The Way 

have in him the blood of the Prince Soto's 
steed and which had vanished from the 
savannahs after defying all attempts to 
capture him. In the Overhills v^ild horses 
v^ere rare. When the Raven found the 
tracks of three of them near Long Meadow 
about sunset one May day, he thought it 
worth while to sleep that night near the 
meadow's edge and have a look at the 
horses in the morning. 

So at dawn he had tried to stalk them in 
their beds; and the moment he saw the 
wild stallion rise from his sleeping place 
in the grass he knew that the great chestnut 
horse of which the Choctaws had spoken 
stood before him. That morning in Long 
Meadow he knew also that he could not 
rest until he had taken this matchless wild 
horse for his own. 

It would be a long hunt, for the stallion 
would not linger in the Overhills. Small 
bands of wild horses occasionally crossed 
the mountains from the west, and always 
these migrating bands travelled fast, paus- 
ing only to feed. Yet, though the hunt 
might carry him far, Corane the Raven, as 
he ran swiftly across Long Meadow toward 
the woods-edge where he had left Manito- 
Kinibic, had little doubt as to its issue. This 
wild stallion was a great horse, beautiful, 
swift and strong — by far the finest wild 
horse that the Raven had ever seen. But 
there was one other that was his equal in 
all things except beauty; and that other 
was Manito-Kinibic, the Raven's roan. 

There was no chief of the Cherokees, the 
Creeks or the Choctaws who had a horse 
that could match Manito-Kinibic. His like 
had never been known in the Overhills. 
Dunmore the trader had seen him and had 
wondered whence he came; for though the 
Raven had taken him from the Chicka- 
saws, whose country lay west of the moun- 



of the Wild 263 

tains, it was plain that this big-boned burly 
roan was not of the Western or Southern 
wild breed, while his name, which in the 
white man's tongue meant Rattlesnake, had 
to Dunmore's ear a Northern sound. 

Thick-bodied, wide-headed, short-maned, 
heavy-eared, Manito-Kinibic was almost 
grotesquely ugly; yet in his very ugliness 
there was a sinister, almost reptilian fas- 
cination, heightened by the metallic sheen 
of his red-speckled coat, the odd flatness of 
his head and the fixed stony glare of his 
small, deep-set eyes. No warrior of the 
Cherokees except the Raven could ride him. 
Few could even approach him, for his 
temper was as arrogant as that of the royal 
serpent for which he was named. 

There lurked in him, too, a craftiness 
recalling the subtle cunning which the red 
men attributed to the rattlesnake and be- 
cause of which they venerated the king of 
serpents almost as a god; and with this 
craftiness he harbored a savage hatred of 
the wild creatures which the Indians 
hunted, so that on the hunt he was even 
more eager, even more relentless than his 
rider. It was the Raven's boast that Manito- 
Kinibic could follow a trail which would 
baffle many a red hunter; that he could 
scent game at a greater distance than the 
wolf; that his ears were as keen as those 
of the deer; that he was as crafty as the 
fox and as ruthless as the weasel; and that 
he feared no wild beast of the forest, not 
even the puma himself. 

Such was the horse that Corane the 
Raven rode on his long hunt. From the 
beginning of that himt until its end Manito- 
Kinibic seemed to live for one thing only — 
the capture of the wild stallion whose scent 
he snufled for the first time that morning 
in Long Meadow after the wild horse's en- 
counter with the bear. 



264 



Herbert Ravenel Sass 



A few minutes after that encounter, the 
Raven had reached the woods-edge where 
he had left the big roan, had vaulted upon 
his back and, riding as swiftly as was 
prudent through the tall grass and beds 
of maiden cane, had struck the trail of the 
three wild horses near the spot where they 
had passed from the meadow at its lower 
end into the woods. 

The trail was plain to the eye. The scent 
was strong where the wild horses had 
brushed through the rank grass. From that 
moment Manito-Kinibic knew what game 
it was that his rider hunted; and in diat 
moment all the strange smouldering hatred 
of his nature was focused upon the wild 
stallion which, as his nose told him, had 
passed that way with one or two mares. 

Manito-Kinibic leaped forward with long 
bounds, his nostrils dilated, his ears flat- 
tened against his head. Corane the Raven, 
smiling grimly, let him go. It might be 
true, as the Choctaws believed, that the wild 
stallion was sprung from the mighty horse 
of the Prince Soto himself. But surely this 
huge implacable horse that now followed 
on the wild one's trail must have in his 
veins the blood of the great black steed 
which the Evil Spirit bestrode when he 
stood, wrapped in cloud, on the bare sum- 
mit of Younaguska peak and hurled those 
awful arrows of his that flashed like 
lightning. 

Northwind, the chestnut stallion, had 
passed within sight of Younaguska, highest 
of the Balsams, which men in these days 
call Caney Fork Bald; but that sombre 
mountain lay far behind him now, for he 
had crossed both the main ranges of the 
mountain bulwark and had begun to des- 
cend the eastern slope of the second and 



following in general the trend of the val- 
leys and the downward-sloping ridges. The 
injured mare, though her haunch was raw 
and bloody where the bear's claws had 
raked it, kept pace with her companions; 
and the three travelled fast, pausing only 
once or twice to drink at some cold, clear, 
hemlock-shaded stream. 

For the most part their course carried 
them through a virgin forest of oak, chest- 
nut, hickory and other broad-leaved trees, 
clothing the ridges, the slopes and most of 
the valleys. Occasionally the stallion chose 
his own way, though as a rule he followed 
the narrow trails made by the deer; but 
when in the early forenoon he found a 
broader path through the woods, well- 
marked and evidently often used, he turned 
into it unhesitatingly and followed it with- 
out swerving. The wild horse of the south- 
western savannahs recognized this path at 
once. It was one of the highways of the 
buffalo herds, a road trodden deep and hard 
through many centuries by thousands of 
hoofs. 

The buffalo were far less abundant now 
on the eastern side of the mountains. Al- 
though the white men's settlements were 
still confined to a strip along the coast, 
white hunters sometimes penetrated the 
foothills and white traders encouraged the 
taking of pelts. The deer still abounded in 
almost incredible numbers, but the eastern 
buffalo herds were withdrawing gradually 
across the Appalachians. Small droves, how- 
ever, still ranged the eastern foothills and 
kept open the deep-worn paths; and the 
main buffalo roads across the mountain 
barrier, wider than the narrow buffalo ruts 
of the Western plains, were still highways 
for wild creatures of many kinds. It was 



lesser range. From Long Meadow he led one of these main roads that the chestnut 
bis mares southeastward at a steady gait, stallion and his mares were following; a 



The Way 

load which would lead them with many 
windings down from the mountains into 
the hills and through the hills to the broad 
belt of rolling lands beyond which lay the 
swamps and savannahs of the Atlantic 
plain. 

All that forenoon the Raven trailed his 
quarry. Both to the roan stallion and to his 
rider the trail was a plain one; and when 
the tracks of the wild horses turned into 
the buffalo path, the Raven knew that he 
had only to follow that highway through 
the woods. With a guttural word he re- 
strained Manito-Kinibic's savage eagerness. 
So long as the wild horses kept to the 
buffalo road the task of following them 
would be simple. The Raven preferred that 
for the present the chestnut stallion should 
not know that he was pursued. 

Half a bowshot ahead of the young war- 
rior a troop of white-tails crossed the path, 
following a deer trail leading down the 
slope to a laurel-bordered stream. Once, at 
a greater distance, he saw a puma come out 
of the woods into the path, sit for a moment 
on its haunches, then vanish at a bound 
into the forest on the other side. Again and 
again wild turkeys ran into the woods on 
either hand, seldom taking wing; and with 
monotonous regularity ruffed grouse rose a 
few paces in front of him and whirred 
swiftly away. 

About noon he killed a cock grouse in 
the path, pinning the bird to the ground 
with a light cane arrow tipped with bone; 
and he had scarcely remounted when 
around a curve of the path appeared the 
shaggy bulk of a huge buffalo bull. A mo- 
ment the great beast stood motionless, 
blinking in astonishment, his massive head 
hanging low. Then, with surprising nim- 
bleness, he turned and darted around the 
bend of the trail. 



of the Wild 265 

The Raven heard the stamping and 
trampling of many hoofs and gave Manito- 
Kinibic his head. The roan bounded for- 
ward and almost in an instant reached the 
bend of the path. At a word from his rider 
he halted; and the Raven, quivering with 
excitement, gazed with shining eyes upon a 
spectacle which sent the blood leaping 
through his veins — a herd of twenty buffalo 
pouring out of the path, crowding and 
jostling one another as they streamed down 
the mountainside through the woods, fol- 
lowing a deer trail which crossed the buf- 
falo road almost at right angles. Twice the 
young warrior bent his bow and drew the 
shaft to the head; and twice he lowered 
his weapon, unwilling to kill game which 
he must leave to the wolves. 

Afternoon came and still the Raven rode 
on through the teeming mountain forest, 
following the deep-worn highway which 
the migrating herds through unknown 
centuries had carved across the Overhills. 
More keenly than ever now his eyes 
searched the path ahead. The wild stallion 
and his mares had probably grazed abun- 
dantly in Long Meadow before their early 
morning rest and had been interrupted; 
but by this time they should be hungry 
again, for since leaving Long Meadow they 
had not stopped to feed. Wherever the 
Raven saw the forest open a little ahead of 
him so that grass grew under the far-spaced 
trees, he halted and listened carefully. Be- 
fore long in one of these grassy places he 
should find the tliree wild horses grazing, 
and he wished to avoid frightening them. 

The path, which heretofore had wound 
around the mountain shoulders, dipped 
suddenly into a deep gorge-like valley at the 
bottom of which a torrent roared. The 
forest here was close and dark. The wild 
horses would not halt in this valley, for 



266 



Herbert Ravenel Sass 



there was no grass to be had; and for a 
time the Raven relaxed his vigilance, letting 
his eyes stray from the path ahead. 

From a tall hemlock on the mountainside 
a wild gobbler took wing, sailing obliquely 
across the valley, and the Raven saw an 
eagle, which had been perching on a dead 
tulip poplar, launch himself forward in 
swift pursuit. The young brave turned on 
his horse's back, gazing upward over his 
shoulder, eagerly watching the chase. 

Without warning, Manito-Kinibic reared, 
swerved to the right and plunged forward. 
His rider, taken utterly by surprise, lurched 
perilously, yet somehow kept his seat. For 
an instant, as Manito-Kinibic reared again, 
the Raven saw a sinewy naked arm raised 
above a hideous grinning face daubed with 
vermilion and black. Steel-fingered hands 
clutched the Raven's leg; on the other side 
another hand clawed at his thigh. Out from 
the thicket into the path ahead leaped 
three more warriors, feathered and plumed 
with eagle-tails and hawk-wings, striped 
and mottled with the red and black paint 
of war. More dreadful than the hunting 
cry of the puma, the shrill war-whoop of 
the Muskogee split the air. 

But for Manito-Kinibic the Rattlesnake, 
the chase of the chestnut stallion would 
have ended then. But the Muskogee war- 
party which waylaid Corane the Raven in 
the pass, hoping to take him alive for 
slavery or the torture, failed to reckon with 
the temper and strength of the mighty roan. 

In an instant Manito-Kinibic had become 
a rearing, snorting fury, a raging devil of 
battering hoofs and gleaming teeth. The 
Raven saw one Muskogee go down before 
the plunging roan stallion. He saw another 
whose shoulder was red with something 
that was not war paint. He saw the three 
warriors in the path ahead leap for their 



lives into the thicket as Manito-Kinibic 
charged down upon them. Bending low on 
his horse's neck, he heard an arrow speed 
over him and, a half-second later, another 
arrow. Then, remembering that he was the 
son of a war captain, he rose erect, looked 
back, and flourishing the hand which still 
held his bow and spear, hurled at his 
enemies the Cherokee whoop of triumph. 

Thenceforward for a time the Raven 
watched the path behind rather than the 
path ahead. The war parties of the Musko- 
gee were often mounted, and the young 
Cherokee thought it likely that this party 
had horses concealed in the thickets near 
the path. They would probably pursue him, 
but with Manito-Kinibic under him he was 
safe. Yet for a while he gave the sure-footed 
roan his head, racing onward as swiftly 
as the uneven surface of the trail allowed. 
So it happened that he was driven by neces- 
sity into doing the thing which he had 
intended to avoid. 

A mile beyond the scene of the ambush 
the valley widened. Here, encircled by 
forested heights, lay a level, sunrbathed 
meadow, sweet with clover and wild pea 
vine. Northwind and his mares had trav- 
elled far and fast. Urged on by his restless 
eagerness to get out of the dark forbidding 
mountains, perhaps impelled, too, by some 
mysterious premonition of danger, the great 
chestnut horse had permitted no halt for 
food. In this beautiful vivid green oasis in 
the wilderness of woods he halted at last. 

The meadow was dotted with grazing 
deer. Clearly no enemy lurked there. With 
a joyful whinny Northwind turned aside 
from the path and led his consorts to the 
feast. 

A half-hour later, an instant before the 
wariest of the whitetails had caught the 
warning sound, the wild stallion raised his 



The Way 

head suddenly, listened intently for a mo- 
ment, then, with a peremptory summons 
to the mares, trotted slowly with high head 
and tail toward the lower end of the mea- 
dow. Because wild creatures do not ordi- 
narily rush headlong through the forest, he 
miscalculated the speed of the intruder 
whose hoof -beats he had heard. He was still 
near the middle of the meadow, while the 
mares, loath to leave the clover beds, were 
far behind him, when he saw the Raven on 
Manito-Kinibic dash out of the woods. 

The young brave heard the wild stallion's 
snort of surprise, saw him leap forward and 
race for the buffalo path, while the mares 
wheeled and galloped off to the left. In 
long beautiful bounds the stallion skimmed 
over the grass to the meadow's lower end 
where the path reentered the forest. There 
he disappeared amid the trees. 

The damage having been done, the 
Raven let Manito-Kinibic do his best for 
two or three miles. But the wild horse ran 
like the north wind which blows across 
the summit of Unaka Kanoos. It was then 
that the Raven named him, in honor of 
that north wind which is the swiftest and 
keenest of all the winds of the mountains. 
Until his rider checked him, Manito-Kinibic 
ran a good race. But they saw the wild stal- 
lion no more that day. 

Even among the Cherokees, great hun- 
ters and marvelously skilful trackers, it was 
considered a noteworthy thing that Corane 
the Raven and Manito-Kinibic the Rattle- 
snake were able to follow the trail of the 
chestnut stallion all the way from the east- 
ern slope of the Overhills to the Low 
Country of the Atlantic coast, more than 
two hundred miles as the white man 
reckons distance. Certain circumstances 
aided the pursuers. Nearly always North- 



of the Wild 267 

wind kept to the game paths. Until he was 
well out of the mountains he followed the 
buffalo road. For many miles through the 
upper foothills he used the narrow paths 
trodden out by the deer. Always he chose 
those paths which led him south or south- 
east, following the slope of the land. 

When he passed from the foothills into 
the rolling country where the forest was 
more open and where many prairie-mea- 
dows lay embosomed in the woods, the 
Raven's problem was somewhat harder; 
and in the Low Country of the coastal 
plain, so utterly unlike his mountain home, 
there were moments when the young war- 
rior saw defeat staring him in the face. Yet 
it was evident that the wild stallion himself 
was not at home in this land of dense 
cypress swamps and towering pinewoods, 
of vast canebrakes and wide wastes of 
rushes, of dark sluggish rivers winding 
silently through moss-draped mysterious 
forests. 

If this was the land which some deej> 
seated instinct had impelled him to seek, 
it was evidently not what he had expected 
it to be — ^not a land like that which he had 
known westward of the mountains. It was 
rich beyond measure, affording pasturage 
of numerous kinds. But in many respects 
it was strange to him, and his first night 
within its borders taught him that it brisded 
with dangers. 

He rested diat night near the end of a 
long woods-prairie or open savannah close 
to a tall canebrake bordering a great 
swamp. In the late afternoon he had grazed 
in the savannah amid herds of deer and 
flocks of tiall gray cranes. The air was 
melodious with the songs of numberless 
birds. Over him, as he cropped the grass, 
passed many wild turkeys coming in from 
the woods to their roosts in the giant pines 



268 Herbert Ravenel Sass 

of the swamp. Around the margins of a 
marshy pond scores of graceful milk-white 
egrets walked to and fro amid hundreds 
of smaller herons of darker plumage. To 
the stallion it seemed that he had come 
to a land of plenty and of peace where 
no enemies lurked. 

The night revealed his mistake. The 
swamp rang with the cries and roars of 
hunting beasts and widi the long-drawn 
resonant bellowings of great alligators — a 
fearful chorus of the wilderness such as he 
had never heard before. Twice he saw 
round fiery eyes glaring at him out of the 
darkness. Once his nose told him that near 
at hand in die canebrake a puma was pass- 
ing along one of the winding pathways 
through the canes. Sleep was impossible; 
yet, the night being very black, he judged 
it unsafe to move, fearing to run upon an 
invisible enemy. He spent the long hours 
standing, tense and rigid, his senses strained 
to the utmost, expecting each moment to 
feel the fangs or claws of some unknown 
foe. 

How long the chestnut stallion remained 
in the wild swamp region of the Low 
Country cannot be told. Probably not long, 
for while food was abundant, the perils 
were too many. Nor can it be related how 
he avoided those perils and found his way 
at last to the edge of the wide salt marshes 
between the Low Country mainland and 
the barrier islands along the sea. Day after 
day Corane the Raven and Manito-Kinibic 
the Rattlesnake followed him in his wan- 
derings; and day after day the Raven, 
patient with the long patience of his race, 
held fast to the resolution which he had 
formed at the beginning — the resolution not 
to attempt the capture of the wild stallion 
until the time should be fully ripe. 

He had to wait long for that time, but 



in one respect fortune favored the young 
warrior. Except for the Muskogee ambush 
in the mountain pass, he suffered no inter- 
ference at the hands of man and, indeed, 
saw scarcely a human face betv/een the 
Overhills and the coast. Even when he had 
reached the white men's country — where, 
however, die settlements were still small 
and sparse — the wild horse's fear of human 
enemies kept both himself and his pursuers 
out of man's way. The spot where the long 
chase had its ending was as lonely as the 
remotest wilderness. 

To North wind, after his long journey, 
that spot seemed a paradise. To Corane the 
Raven, viewing it cautiously from the cover 
of the woods about noon of a warm cloud- 
less June day, it seemed to combine all the 
conditions essential for his success. A dry 
level meadow carpeted with short thick 
grass and shaped like a broad spearhead lay 
between a converging river and creek which 
came together at the meadow's lower end. 
There, and for some distance along the 
shore, the land sloped sharply to the river, 
forming a little bluff about ten feet in 
height; while beyond the river lay vast 
marshes stretching for miles toward the 
hazy line of woods on the barrier isles. 

The Raven took in these things at a 
glance; noted, too, with satisfaction that 
here and there in the meadow stood clumps 
of some dense, stiff-branched bush of a kind 
unknown in the mountains. Then, well 
pleased, his plan complete to the smallest 
detail, he let his eyes rest again upon that 
feature of the scene which was the most 
important and most gratifying of all. 

Almost in the center of the meadow stood 
Northwind, the wild stallion, alert, ar- 
rogant, confident, a picture of lithe, clean- 
cut beauty and perfectly proportioned 
strength. But he no longer stood alone. Just 



The Way 

beyond him grazed five mares, all of them 
bays and all of them of one size and build. 
The Raven knew at once that they v^ere not 
wild horses and he surmised that they were 
strays from the white men's stock. But it 
mattered little whence they had come. The 
essential fact was that North wind had taken 
them as his own, had become their master 
and protector. 

Two hours before midnight, when the 
moon, almost at the full, swung high above 
the marshes beyond the river and the grassy 
expanse of the meadow was bathed in 
ghostly light, the Raven led Manito-Kinibic 
from his hiding place in the woods to the 
edge of the open. There the young brave 
halted. The big roan, his nostrils tingling 
with a scent which set his blood on fire, 
needed no word of instruction. He knew 
his part and would play it perfectly. Quiver- 
ing with eagerness, yet too well trained to 
give way to the fury that possessed him, 
Manito-Kinibic moved out into the meadow 
at a slow walk, his hoofs making no sound. 

The Raven waited until the roan had 
become a dim uncertain shape in the moon- 
light). Then, crouching low, the Indian 
stole to the nearest bush-clump, thence to 
another isolated thicket, and thence by a 
roundabout course to a third. He was half- 
way down the meadow when he heard the 
wild stallion's challenge and knew that 
Manito-Kinibic's keen nose had led the roan 
straight to his goal. Bending close to the 
ground, sometimes creeping on all fours, 
sometimes crawling like a snake, the Raven 
moved from bush-clump to bush-clump 
toward the sound. 

A fresh breeze blew from the sea across 
the marshes. The wild stallion, resting with 
his mares near the meadow's lower end 
where the creek and river joined, could 



of the Wild 2C/J 

neither smell nor hear an enemy approach- 
ing from the direction of the woods. 
Manito-Kinibic was scarcely fifty paces dis- 
tant when Northwind saw him. 

A moment the wild horse stood at gaze, 
his muscles tense for the long leap which 
would launch him forward in swift flight. 
Then fear passed out of him and fury took 
its place. A glance had shown him what 
the intruder was — a lone stallion, riderless, 
unaccompanied by man, roaming at will 
and evidently seeking the bay mares. Loud 
and shrill rang Northwind's challenge. In- 
stantly he charged his foe. 

Manito-Kinibic the Rattlesnake was a 
veteran of many battles. The fiercest battle 
of his career was the one which he fought 
that night in the moonlit meadow where 
the long chase of the chestnut stallion had 
its end. Northwind, too, had conquered 
many rivals to make good his mastery of 
the wild horse herds; but never before had 
he faced an antagonist as formidable as the 
burly roan. With Manito-Kinibic lay the 
advantage of size and weight ; with the wild 
horse the advantage of quickness and 
agility. In courage neither surpassed the 
other. In cunning each v^^s the other's 
match. 

Almost at once they took each other's 
measure and, despite their fury, fought with 
instinctive skill, each striving to utilize to 
the utmost those powers in which he ex- 
celled. After his first whirlwind charge, 
Northwind did not charge again. He knew 
after that first onset that he must not hurl 
himself recklessly against the roan's weight 
and bulk. This was an enemy too big to be 
overwhelmed ; he must be cut to pieces with 
slashing hoofs and torn to ribbons with 
ripping, raking teeth. Hence the wild stal- 
lion whirled and circled, feinted and reared, 
dashed in and leaped clear again, like a 



270 



Herbert Ravenel Sass 



skilful rapier-man whose opponent wields 
a broadsword — and wields it well. 

For Manito-Kinibic was no blundering 
bruiser whose sole reliance was his strength. 
He, too, fought with cunning and skill, 
manoeuvring with a lightness which belied 
his bulk, parrying and thrusting with an 
adroitness not much inferior to that of his 
opponent. But, apparently realizing the 
advantage which his weight gave him, he 
strove from the first for close quarters. 
Furiously, incessantly he forced the fight- 
ing, seeking to grip and hold his elusive 
enemy, rearing high to crush the wild 
horse with his battering hoofs, plunging 
forward with all his weight to drive his 
mighty shoulder against his foe and hurl 
him to the ground. 

It was a fight too furious to last long. A 
stallion's hoofs and teeth are fearful weap- 
ons. A few minutes more must have brought 
a bloody end to the battle, though no man 
can say what that end would have been. 
Suddenly from a bush-clump a shadow 
darted, sped lightly across the grass, and 
vanished in a tuft of tall weeds. Northwind 
did not see it because it was behind him. 
If Manito-Kinibic saw it he gave no sign. 

The battling stallions wheeled and 
reared, biting and plunging, striking with 
their forefeet, thrusting, parrying, feinting. 
Once more the roan hurled himself for- 
ward, his small eyes gleaming red, his teeth 
bared, his heavy hoofs stabbing the air; and 
once more his slim, long-maned opponent, 
light as a dancer, lithe as a panther, whirled 
aside, escaping destruction by an inch. 

Again, as they fenced for an opening, 
rearing high, snorting and squealing, the 
wild horse's back was turned to the clump 
of weeds; and again the shadow darted 
forward, swiftly, noiselessly, gliding over 
the turf. 



The next moment Corane the Raven 
crouched close behind the chestnut stallion. 
A half-second more, and he had swung 
his rawhide thong with the skill for which 
he was famous. Then, with a shout, he 
leaped for Manito-Kinibic's head. 

Northwind was down. He lay on his side, 
motionless as a dead thing. The rawhide 
thong, weighted at its ends, was wrapped 
around his hind legs, binding them tightly 
together. The greatest miracle was not the 
skill with which the Raven had thrown his 
snare. More wonderful still was the quell- 
ing of Manito-Kinibic's battle-fury, the 
swiftness with which his master brought 
the raging roan under control. Yet this was 
merely the result of teaching, of long pains- 
taking instruction. Corane the Raven, the 
most successful horse-hunter among the 
Cherokees, owed his success partly to the 
peculiar methods which he employed and 
partly to the perfect training of his famous 
roan. 

Manito-Kinibic, his neck and shoulders 
bloody, his flanks heaving, stood quietly, 
gazing down at his fallen foe with eyes in 
which the fire of hatred still glowed; but 
Northwind, his silky sides streaked with 
red, lay inert, inanimate, seeming scarcely 
to breathe. He offered no resistance as the 
Raven with deft fingers slipped a strong 
hobble around the slim forelegs and made 
it fast above each fetlock. There was no 
terror, no fierceness in the wild horse's 
large eyes. Instead they seemed singularly 
calm and soft, as though the brain behind 
them were lulled with a vision of places far 
away and days long ago. 

Yet, if the chestnut stallion, a prisoner 
at last, dreamed of some green, daisy- 
sprinkled forest-prairie beyond the moun- 
tains, the dream passed quickly. Presently 



The Way 

the Raven removed the thong which had 
held Northw^ind's hind legs helpless; and 
instantly the w^ild horse came to life, panic- 
stricken, furious, frantic for his freedom. 

For a moment he thought himself free. 
His hind legs v^ere no longer bound. The 
hobble around his forelegs bound them only 
loosely. With a snort he heaved upward and 
leaped away in mad flight — only to pitch 
headlong to the ground with a force which 
almost drove the breath from his body. Up 
he scrambled once more and down again 
he plunged as his fettered forelegs crumpled 
under him. Five times he rose and five times 
he fell before he seemed to realize his 
helplessness. 

For several minutes, then, he lay utterly 
still. The Raven had remounted Manito- 
Kinibic. The wild horse could not escape; 
yet it was well to be prepared for whatever 
might happen. The ordeal might be over in 
an hour, or, on the other hand, many hours 
might pass before Northwind's spirit was 
broken. 

At last he struggled to his feet. The 
Raven circled him on the roan, watching 
him keenly. The captive's frenzy seemed to 
have passed. He was cooler now, steadier 
on his legs. Sudden anxiety which was al- 
most panic gripped the young Indian. He 
recalled that once he had seen a hobbled 
wild horse travel a distance of half a bow- 
shot in short labored bounds before falling; 
and in a flash he had become aware of a 
danger hitherto unrealized. 

Quickly he slipped from Manito-Kinibic's 
back and approached Northwind from be- 
hind, uncoiling the weighted rawhide 
thong which he had removed from the 
wild stallion's hind legs. He would snare 
those hind legs again and thus make certain 
of his captive. 

By a margin of moments he was too late. 



of the Wild 271 

Northwind wheeled, bounded forward, and 
this time he did not fall. He had learned 
what not one hobbled wild horse in a 
thousand ever discovered — that while a leap 
of normal length would throw him every 
time, he could travel at least a little distance 
at fair speed if his leaps were very short. 

Another bound he made, another and 
another — stiff-legged, labored, heart-break- 
ing — keeping his balance by a miracle. He 
was more than halfway to the river's edge 
when the hobble threw him, and though 
he fell heavily, almost in an instant he was 
on his feet again, bounding onward as 
before. . 

On the very verge of the low bluff the 
Raven, who had remounted as quickly as 
possible, drove Manito-Kinibic against the 
chestnut's flank in a last attempt to turn 
or throw him. Reeling from the blow, 
Northwind staggered on the brink. Then, 
rallying his strength for a supreme effort, 
he plunged sideways down the steep slope, 
and the water closed over him. 

Some say he was drowned. The Raven 
never saw him again, though the moon 
shone brightly on the river. But the water 
is very deep beside that bluff and there the 
ebb tide is very strong and swift. It might 
have borne him quickly beyond the Indian's 
vision; and since the hobble allowed his 
forelegs some freedom of action, he might 
have made shift to swim. 

At any rate, when Dunmore the trader 
told the story of the chesmut stallion that 
night in Nick Rounder's tavern, an old 
sea-faring man, who was present, pricked 
up his ears and asked the trader certain 
questions. Then, with a great show of 
wonder and a string of sailor's oaths, he 
spun a queer yarn. 

One midnight, he said, while his ship 



lyi 



Herbert Ravenel Sass 



lay at anchor in a river-mouth between two 
barrier islands, the lookout sighted a big 
chestnut horse coming down the river with 
the tide. They manned a boat, got a rope 
over the horse's head and towed him to the 
sandy island shore. He seemed almost ex- 
hausted, his neck and shoulders were cut 
and bruised, and how he had come into 
the river was a mystery since his forelegs 
were hobbled. They could not take the 
horse aboard their vessel; so, after cutting 
the hobble, they left him lying on tlie beach, 
apparently more dead *than alive. They 
expected to see his body there in the morn- 
ing, but when they weighed anchor at 
sunrise he was gone. 
Dunmore believed the old man's story; 



but others held that he had Invented the 
tale on the spur of the moment, in the hope 
that the trader would stand him a noggin 
of rum. However that may be, an odd 
legend exists today on the barrier islands 
of the Carolina coast. 

The story runs that the slim wiry ponies 
of those islands, rovers of the beaches and 
marsh flats, have in their veins the blood of 
De Soto's Andalusian horses abandoned 
nearly four centuries ago in the Mississippi 
wilderness six hundred miles away, beyond 
the mountains. 

It seems a fantastic legend; yet the river 
in which Northwind made his last desperate 
bid for freedom passes quickly to the sea 
between two of those barrier isles. 



CHARLES TENNEY JACKSON (1874- ) 



The Horse of Hurricane Reef 



from SHORT STORIES (September, 1922) 

Here is a magnificently dramatic piece of writing, so real that the reader 
finds himself struggling for his life in the flood. The story builds up 
to a tremendous climax not spoiled by a conventional ending. 



K]rN 



■^he mares are for whoever is man 
enough to take them," retorted 
Jean Abadie from the bow of the 
barge which the towing launch was shoving 
into the mud shoal on the bay side of lie 
Dautrive. "Rojas has given them up. The 
white stallion killed his son, Emile, four 
years ago. No man of the camps around 
the bay will land on this reef; he has a 
name, that wild white devil!" 

"You see, M'sieu Lalande, it is not steal- 
ing," added Pierre as he stopped the motor 
and looked at the stranger in the stern seat. 

"It is stealing," grunted Joe Lalande, 
"else why do we come under cover of a 
storm to rope the colts and mares? Well, 
no matter. Once we get them aboard and 
up to the Mississippi plantations, I will 
show you something, you shrimp-seine 
Cajans. Throwing a rope, eh? Over west- 
ward they never yet showed me a horse I 
could not break." 

The two seine-haulers from Sanchez's 
platform looked at him doubtfully. "Over 
westward," to the men of Barataria Bay, 
began at the dim marsh shore and stretched 



to infinity. A native never ventured so far; 
out there anything might be possible. But 
no man had faced the exiled king of Dau- 
trive reef. Pierre muttered again how they 
would get the young mares — they would 
first shoot the white stallion. It was the 
hurricane month; they knew well enough 
that an obliterating sea would come this 
week over the dunes and marshes. Old 
Rojas, living widi his grandchildren, 
orphaned by the white brute's savagery, on 
the far west point of the island, would 
never know what happened to the five 
mares and colts. More than once the ^ales 
off the Gulf had left the shell-beached 
chenaies far up the bay strewn with the 
dead cattle of the people of the reefs. 

The big Lalande laughed as he followed 
through the salt grass to the first low dunes. 
"Shoot him ! You'll shoot no horse with me ! 
You say he's so bad; show him to me! I'll 
rope and load him, too, my friends, or 
he will finish me. If we lift Rojas's animals 
we take 'em all." 

The Cajans laughed in nervous disbelief. 
Lalande, a native, also, who had returned 



27^ 



274 



Charles Tenney ]ac\son 



this season to haul seine in Sanchez's com- 
pany, might have been a great man with 
the pitching broncos he told of, but Rojas's 
great white stallion — well, this boaster 
would see! The brute would allow no seine- 
crew to land on He Dautrive; they told of 
his charging upon the fishing skiffs clear 
out to the surf line. Sanchez, the boss, had 
shot him once as he fled to his lugger, 
leaving the bleeding stallion to rend and 
trample an abandoned seine. 

Gratidpere Rojas, in his camp across the 
shoal depression that cut through the reef, 
had never tried to reclaim the wild mares 
and the colts of the white stud's breed. The 
generations of them lived on the coarse reef 
grass and the rain pools; an oysterman 
had no use for horses, anyhow. His son, 
Emile, had tried this foolish experiment 
of raising horses on the reef, and given his 
life under the stallion's hoofs. Grandpere 
had shrugged and let the breed go wild; 
yet, as Lalande muttered when Jean and 
Pierre proposed to use his skill in lifting 
the younger animals, the horses were his 
to the scrawniest colt. But Lalande had 
come. He would show these shrimpers; 
and even if they only roped and dragged 
the least unruly to the barge, Lalande could 
break them and Pierre sell them to the 
plantations. Yet it was horse stealing. La- 
lande would not gloss that over, but some- 
thing else had drawn him here — the stories 
the islanders told of the white stallion's 
savagery. 

"Old Rojas's son, I will be the avenger," 
he grunted, sullenly, and came on the day 
Pierre had chosen for the secret raid. 

Abadie had stopped in the sandy trail 
broken through the mangroves to the top 
of the sand ridge. ''Bon Dieur he whis- 
pered, pointing. "His track, Lalande! Big 



as a bucket! Eh, bienl I'd rather face a 
hurricane than this white tiger!" 

Lalande had stepped out in the open 
sand patch. From here the dunes fell away 
to the Gulf beach. Already the sea was 
rising. Between Dautrive and the outer bar 
curious, oily currents were twisting in un- 
wonted directions, and beyond them the 
surf broke in white, serried teeth gleaming 
against the black southeast. The sky was 
ribboned in black lines streaming northerly; 
the wind came in fitful smashes against the 
mangrove thickets and then seemed sucked 
up to howl in the writhing clouds. 

"There'll have to be quick work," mut- 
tered Pierre. "I tell you this is bad, this sea. 
We waited too long, M'sieu Lalande. We 
better be back across the bay, and try for 
the colts another time." 

Lalande's gray eyes narrowed surlily. He 
straightened his powerful figure above the 
wind-slanting bushes. The two shrimpers 
had seemed to skulk in their protection. 
Jean peered down the spray-driven shore- 
line. 

"If we can work one of the yearlings back 
to the bayside, get him into the mud and 
tall grass, M'sieu Lalande could use his 
rope." 

But Lalande had gone down the other 
way. He was out in the open. They howled 
at him. That was no way to do it! They 
must stalk the colts. Nothing could be done 
if the leader of the wild band saw them — 
unless they killed him first. He would 
charge a man on sight, he would wreck 
a boat in the shoals. 

Lalande was laughing, whirling his lariat 
over the mangroves. "I see the mares, Jean! 
They are crossing the ridge back of us. 
Getting out of the wind. The big white 
devil, there he is, th.V^ 



The Horse of 

The two other raiders had crept back 
through the brush. It was disconcerting to 
find the animals crossing their trail behind. 
"If he smells a man he will never let up on 
us, Lalande," muttered Jean. "Kill him, 
then!" 

The white leader had crossed the trail 
of the raiders. He turned, broke through 
the brush, and gained the ridge forty yards 
from them. Lalande could see him now 
against the black skyline very plainly. A 
tremendous brute towering above the others, 
his shaggy mane flowing backward in the 
wind, his muzzle outstretched, his neck 
tensed until the powerful muscles bulged 
the satin skin. He was suspicious; he stood 
there a challenging figure to the storm, 
but his eyes were roving watchfully into 
the thickets as a tiger scenting prey. 

Lalande glanced back. His comrades had 
slunk below the mangroves. They were 
brave, hardy men of the hurricane coast, 
but the evil name of the sea horse of He 
Dautrive seemed to hold them nerveless. 
The horse was coming on along the top 
of the ridge slowly crashing through the 
brush with alert glances right and left. 
His pink nostrils quivered, his iron-gray 
tail raised and swept in the wind puffs. 

"They will shoot," muttered Lalande. "If 
he trails them the cowards will shoot." And 
he stepped more in the open, and then 
shouted, "Come, thieves, let the colts go! 
I will need you on the throw-line to check 
and choke this brute!" Breast-high in the 
windswept thickets he was laughing and 
coiling his rope. This was a foe for a strong 
man who boasted! 

The great horse suddenly upreared with 
a neigh that was like the roar of a lion. 
No man had so much as ever put finger on 
him; he had beaten the brains from one, 
broken the leg of another, and smashed 



Hurricane Reef 275 

two seine skiffs in the shallows for invaders. 
He had been the lord of the reef. Now 
he reared again and again as he plunged 
through the mangroves watching for the 
fugitives as a cat would a mouse under 
a flimsy cover of straw. 

His satiny flanks were toward Lalande; 
apparently he had not yet discovered the 
man behind him in this hunt for the others. 
And then, out of pure panic as the white 
stallion broke near him, Jean Abadie fired. 
Lalande cursed and sprang down the slope 
of dunes after them. He knew he would 
need their help when he roped this horse; 
it was no starveling cayuse of the Texas 
range. But he saw now that the two is- 
landers were skulking for the boat in the 
last fringe of the mangroves. They would 
never make it; out in the open the white 
stallion would crush them both ere they 
covered half the marsh grass, unless, in- 
deed, they killed him. 

The brute saw them now; he swerved in 
a tremendous rush below the man on the 
higher sand. Lalande was whirling his 
rope, and when he heard the hiss of it 
through the air he laughed, for he knew 
the throw was true. 

*'Eh, bien, devil! You and me!" He went 
down sprawling, seeking a root of the 
tough mangroves to snub the line. He 
caught one, then it was jerked out; and he 
went trundling and rolling over and over 
through the sands, hanging to the lariat. 
He might as well have roped a torpedo. The 
horse was in the open now, rearing and 
bucking, but with his savage eyes still on 
the fugitives. They were floundering 
through the water. Jean was jerking the 
mooring-lines from the barge, and Pierre 
poling the launch back from the swamp 
grass. The stallion was surging on with the 
line cutting deep in his neck, but they 



Tfi 



Charles Tenney ]achjon 



could not see this iii the welter of spray 
he threw in his charge. 

Joe Lalande was on his back in the high 
grass, bruised and dizzy from his ride on 
the throw-rope. It was lying out taut 
through the grass; and for a time the man 
did not stir. The stallion was plunging 
somewhere out there, still implacable with 
fury to get at the shrimpers. Then Lalande 
heard the first throb of the motor. They 
were getting away, leaving him, then ? They 
must think him killed — a good end for a 
braggart who would rather fight the stud 
than steal the mares! 

He lay in the grass listening, without 
even resentment. The wide reach of the 
bay northward was flecked with white 
surges rising between those curious oily 
bulges of water, the first stir of the creeping 
tides which come upon the Gulf shores be- 
fore the hurricane winds. Lalande remem- 
bered enough of his boyhood among the 
island folk to know that. Pierre was right: 
they had waited too long for this week of 
storm to raid Rojas's wild horses. 

He crept around on the jerking line. 
Above the grass billows he saw the brute. 
He was whirling madly in the shallows 
fighting this strange, choking clutch on 
his neck. Then he charged back up the 
dunes, and Lalande barely had time to lie 
out on the line ere he was dragged again. 
But when the stallion plunged into the 
thickets, no human strength could hold. 
He felt his fingers breaking in the tangle 
of rope and roots, his face ground into the 
sand and pounded by showers of sand 
from the brute's hoofs. 

Lalande staggered to his feet presently, 
cleared his eyes, and followed a crashing 
trail over the sand ridge. Northward he 
saw the launch rocking its way across the 
pass with whip-like streamers of wind 



hitting the water beyond. Everywhere the 
coast folk would be debating whether to 
quit their platform camps and take to the 
luggers or trust to the oaks of the chenaies 
and their moorings. The hurricane month, 
and a sea coming up past Cuba ! He Derniere 
had vanished under the waves; La Ca- 
minada gone with six hundred souls; there 
were traditions of the coast, but the natives 
knew what a hurricane tide meant on the 
low, loose sand islands that fringed the 
Louisiana swamps. 

Lalande paused on the highest ridge. 
There was that sullen glister of the sea, 
cut through with patches of white, and the 
green-black horizon gaping to east and 
west and blotting out with gray squalls. 
The great wind had not come yet beyond 
these first squadrons. The big man shrugged 
as he regarded it. The hurricane tide was 
shoving frothy fingers out over the shoals. 
Across the sandy stretch westward he could 
just see the shack camp of Grandpere Rojas 
on the highest ridge of Dautrive. A few 
ragged oaks showed white against the sky. 
The old man ought to be leaving with his 
orphaned grandchildren, taking his stout 
oyster lugger and making for the solid land 
fourteen miles north across the bay. 

"It is no place for little ones," muttered 
Lalande in the Cajan patois. "These people 
never will leave quick enough before the 
storms. I can see the old man's lugger still 
riding behind the point. He is a fool, old 
Rojas, afraid to put foot on this end of 
the reef because of the white stud, but stub- 
born against the sea which comes like a 
million white horses." 

He went warily on the crushed trail. 
That throw-rope would foul somewhere in 
the mangroves; that stallion would choke 
himself to a stupor, for not all the strength 
in the world can avail against lungs bursting 



The Horse of 

for air. Then he saw the mares. They were 
huddled in a hollow of the dunes, the colts 
about them as if confused, uncertain, their 
shaggy coats rufHed in the wind. That 
wind was moaning now, high and far ; not 
so bad here on the reef, but striking in 
slants on the sea as if the sky had opened 
to let an arrow loose. A hundred miles 
away as yet, that Gulf hurricane wind, but 
mounting; sixty, eighty, a hundred miles 
an hour — a hundred and twenty-five in the 
bursts that presently drove the sand dunes 
into smoke. 

The rim of wet sand beyond the dry, hum- 
mocky space was covering with sheets of 
black water racing from the surf line 
breaking on the shoals. 

And here Lalande saw what he had 
sought. There was the white mound in 
the ripples. With a cry he dashed for it. 
The horse was down. He had not thought 
it would come so soon. But the end of the 
trailing rope had fouled a great driftheap, 
and the brute had kept on charging and 
fighting until he choked and fell in the 
first wash of the sea. The slip-noose was 
bound to cut him down if he kept on hurl- 
ing his weight against it, Lalande knew. 

He wished he had seen the last mag- 
nificent fight against it on the sands; but 
now he walked quickly around the fallen 
brute, and knelt to touch his distended, 
quivering nostrils. The eyes were shut but 
bulging under a film. The great sides were 
heaving, a rumbling groan found escape 
somehow; it was as if the mighty heart was 
breaking with a last throb against this 
mysterious power choking its strength 
away. 

"Eh, soldier!" whispered Lalande, and 
felt high on the horse's neck. 

A sudden apprehension took him. Per- 
haps the thong had killed the renegade? He 



Hurricane Reef 277 

did not mean that; he was filled with a 
great exultant joy in this savage. He had 
stalked and subdued him alone! He stood 
above this outstretched, trembling body in 
the first sea ripples, laughing. 

"Come, boy! The fight's not done yet! 
Not the end yet." He twisted his fingers 
into the taut rope, forced on the dragging 
driftwood, and eased the tension bit by bit. 
The rope was buried in the white skin; he 
worked hurriedly, fearing it was too late. 

"Come, come; this will not do — " he was 
whispering into the stallion's tense ear, 
fighting at the rope. Then came a fierce, 
convulsive blow, an explosive sigh, a strug- 
gle, and the stallion lay quiet again. He 
was breathing in great, resurging sighs. His 
filmed eyes opened slowly. Lalande kept 
on patting his muzzle while he hitched the 
noose into a knot that would hold but not 
choke again. He did not know why he did 
this, only it seemed fair. He was looking 
close into the brute's eyes which were be- 
ginning to glow with sense again; and to 
withdraw the choking hitch seemed only 
justice. 

Lalande stood up and looked down at 
the white stallion. The water was roaring 
out there now. The skyline was blown white 
as feathers. The mangroves were slanting; 
and he suddenly realized that the wind was 
hard as a plank against his cheek. Not 
bursting, but steadily lying against the land. 
There was no rain, yet the air was full of 
water streaming in white lines through a 
growing darkness. 

"Get up!" he shouted. "The sea is com- 
ing. This is no place to be! Comrade, on 
your feet!" 

And the great horse did so. First plung- 
ing up, but with his haunches squatted in 
the water as he looked slowly about. Then 
to all fours and standing with his tail 



278 



Charles Tenney ]ac\son 



whipped about on his heaving flanks. He 
seemed watching that wall of blown water 
from the Gulf. Watching steadily, un- 
daimted. The sands under the racing froth 
seemed trembling; one could hardly see 
the mangrove dunes not a hundred yards 
away. 

Lalande swiftly turned his eyes from the 
ridge at a sound. It had seemed a shriek 
above the odier tumult. Then he leaped, 
and the wind appeared to lift him above 
the shaking earth. 

For the great stud was on him. Upreared 
above him, a shaggy hoof coming not an 
inch's breadth from his skull. 

Just a glimpse of those red, savage eyes; 
and the impact of those huge feet almost 
upon his own. Then Lalande ran. The 
hurricane wind flung him onward, but he 
could hear the rush of the white stallion. 
The entangled rope checked the charge 
only enough to allow the man to hurl him- 
self into the first mangroves, crawl under 
them in a whirlwind of rising sands, and 
keep on crawling. When he stopped he 
knew the horse was crashing in the thickets 
hunting him. He saw him as a wraith 
against the sky, plunging his head low to 
ferret out his enemy, blowing explosively 
and hurling the tough mangrove clumps 
aside. 

Lalande kept on his stealthy crawl. He 
lay, finally, in a water-riven dusk under 
the lee of the dunes, listening. "Dieu!" he 
panted. "I said, a soldier! The hurricane 
could not stop that hate of men!" 

For half an hour he did not move. The 
brute had lost his trail. And when Lalande 
crawled to the top of the dunes he could 
not stand. All over the weather side the sea 
had risen. It was white. White, that was 
all he could say. And the wind ? It did not 
seem a wind, merely a crushing of one's 



skull and lungs. When he tried to turn away 
it threw him headlong, but he got to his 
feet on the northerly, lee side of the sand 
ridge and fought on. 

The sand was dissolving under his feet, 
and now he saw the water of the bay 
streaming by him. The inner marshes were 
gone; the hurricane tide was on, and sixty 
miles inland it would rush to batter on the 
cypress forests and the back levees of the 
plantation lands. Lelande had no illusions 
about He Dautrive — he had been a lad on 
this coast — ^but he kept on, for the highest 
ridge was at the western point. Across the 
sand shoal, beyond this point, was still 
higher land, a clay fragment in which grew 
a few stout oaks. By these Old Rojas's camp 
had stood. It did not stand there now, 
thought Lalande. Nothing built by man on 
the reef would stand. Grandpere and the 
children of the man whom the white stal- 
lion had killed must certainly have taken 
to the lugger — escaped before the hurricane 
tide rushed upon the flimsy shack. Surely, 
yes. Rojas was no fool! 

Lalande kept on, clinging to the thickets 
when the worst clutch of the wind was on 
him. The roaring of it all was so steady 
that actually he seemed in a great silence; 
as if a new element had enveloped him, 
a normal thing, this shock and unceasing 
tenseness of feeling and of sound. Through 
it he strode steadily himself, a strong man 
with neither fear nor curiosity — a mere dull 
plunge on to the last foothold of that 
reef which was churning to gruel behind 
his steps. He could not miss the point; there 
was no other spot to reach, and the hurri- 
cane was guide as well as captor. 

And his mind was upon the lord of 
Dautrive Island. "He will go. Perhaps he 
is gone now. And the mares and colts, all 
off the reef by now." And a grim satis- 



The Horse of 

faction came that the white stud had turned 
on him at the last. It was fine to think of. 
The savage had not cringed. "I do not want 
anything that can be stolen," he murmured, 
and spat the sea spray from his sore lips. 
"His mares and colts, he fights for them — 
that devil!" 

And he began shouting profane, fond 
challenges and adulations to his conqueror 
somewhere in this white chaos of a night. 
A whipping wisp of scud was that charging 
shape above the torn thickets; any single 
shriek of the storm his trumpeted challenge 
in return. Lalande boasted to his soul that 
he was seeking his foe; if it was the last 
stroke of his hand he wished it raised to 
taunt the white, oncoming devil. 

Even the storm glimmer had faded when 
he felt the water shoaling from his armpits 
to his waist. This was the west point, the 
highest; and here, with hands locked to 
the stoutest of the mangroves, he would 
have to let the sea boil over him as long as a 
strong man could — then go. 

On the western high point at last, and 
nothing to see, nothing to feel but the sub- 
merged bushes and the earth dissolving so 
that he had to keep his feet moving to avoid 
each becoming the center of a whirlpool. 

"It is a storm," Lalande grunted. "Two 
white devils on this reef." He remembered 
seeing spaces of mirrored calm, peaceful 
coves over which they told him orange trees 
had bloomed in cottage yards of the reef 
dwellers. The sea had devoured the islands 
in a night, dug the hole, and lain down in 
it like a fed tiger. Lalande, crowded closer 
to the stouter thickets, put out his hand in 
the dark. He touched a wet, warm surface, 
heaving slightly. 

The skin of a brute. He smoothed the 
hair in the rushing water, felt along. A 
wall of steely flesh broadside to the tidal 



Hurricane Reef 279 

wave. Lalande softly slipped his hand over 
the huge round of the flank. The water was 
swirling about them both — to the man's 
armpits now. Lalande knew. They were on 
the highest point, but ahead lay the shoal 
pass. The sea was eating away this point; 
what was left was sinking, flicked off into 
the meeting currents around Dautrive and 
swept inland. The island would be silt on 
some cane planter's back fields forty miles 
up the Mississippi delta within the week. 

But for the last of his domain the lord 
of Dautrive was fighting with his last foot- 
hold. The white devil of the sea was doing 
what man could not do. Lalande laughed 
in the blackness. The stallion could not 
feel his soft touch in all that beating welter 
jof sand and debris churning around him. He 
rested his arm across the unseen back — the 
brute would think it was a driftwood 
branch. The man stepped forward. There 
was no other foothold now, it seemed. He 
reached his hand to the shoulder, up to feel 
the stiff, wet mane. He laughed and patted 
the bulged muscles. 

"We go, you and I," he grumbled. The 
mangroves were slatted out on the tiderush,- 
tearing loose, reeling past them. "Eh, 
friend.? The last—" 

And then he knew the horse had whirled, 
upreared in the blackness with a scream of 
fury. Lalande sprang to the left, into deep, 
moiling water. 

He felt the plunge of his foe just missing 
him once more. But another body struck 
him and then was whirled off in the meet- 
ing tides. He collided with a colt in the 
dark; and now he guessed that the white 
stallion's breed had been gathered on the 
refuge shielded to the last by his huge bulk 
against the inexorable seas. 

They wxre gone now. There w^as no more 
foothold on Dautrive either for the exiles 



28o 



Charles Tenney ]ac\son 



or the man who had come to subdue them. 
Lalande knew he must not go with the 
tidal wave. It was death anywhere out 
there. The water would rush fifty miles 
inland over the battered reefs. So he fought 
^x)werfully back to get a hand-hold on the 
mangrove thickets through a whirlpool of 
dissolving sand. 

But the man could not breast those surges 
through the dark; he felt himself driven 
farther back in a tangle of foam and debris, 
and suddenly came a whip-like tightening 
about his legs. He was dragged under and 
out across the current until he fought down 
to grasp diis thing that had him. 

It was his throw-rope, the new and heavy 
line that he had brought to conquer the 
white stud that the island men feared. 
Lalande plunged up and along it. The rope 
was tight and surging athwart the drift. 
When he got his head above water he 
knew he was clear of the disintegrating 
sand point, overwhelmed by the rollers in 
the pass and stung by the spray, but mov- 
ing. 

An unseen guide, a mighty power was 
drawing aslant the inshore tide. Lalande 
hauled along until he felt the rhythmic beat 
of the stallion's stroke; along until he 
touch his flank. When he could put his 
hand on his long mane Lalande laughed. 
He hung there, and felt the brute plunge 
higher at this contact. Once, twice, and 
then the stud settled to his fight. 

The lord of Dautrive could not shake 
him ofl nor rend him with teeth or hoof. 
He was being ridden through the black- 
ness and the sea. 

Lalande began shouting. He could not re- 
sist that impulse of defiance, the great 
horse had been merciless to him on the 
island, so now he howled at him whenever 



he could keep the salt water from his 
teeth. 

''Eh, hie?i! Big fellow, you see I am here! 
If you go, I go! Lalande is with you — devil! 
Fight! Fight on; a man is on your back at 
last. A last ride, too, white devil!" 

For he had no hope of anything except 
to be battered to a pulp by the driftlogs 
and wreckage in the pass or drowned over 
the flooded marshes. But the stallion would 
not give to the northward tide, always he 
kept fighting to windward and westerly. 
When he plunged on these tacks Lalande 
swung out straight over his back, but 
clinging lightly and calling his taunting 
courage to the brute. 

"The west ridge," muttered the rider. 
"He knows that — the oaks and the clay 
soil. If anything hangs together in this sea 
it will be that." 

So he clung in the dark. Nothing but the 
incessant battles of the horse's broadside 
in the hurricane tide kept that feeling in 
Lalande's heart that the swimmer was try- 
ing to cross th^ pass to Rojas's oak grove. 
The white devil was blind in the white sea, 
but he remembered that. Lalande could feel 
the leg strokes steady and true even when 
the waves lifted or buried them, or when 
they were half drowned in the whipped 
foam among patches of reef wreckage. The 
man was fighting at this debris to keep it 
from the stallion's neck when he felt some- 
thing else streaming along his flanks. It 
appeared to be submerged bushes or thick, 
long grass twisting about beneath them. 
And there was a changed note to the hurri- 
cane's tumult. 

Lalande swung up on the stallion's back, 
listening. The swells of the pass were slower 
here, huge and strangling, but not with the 
fierce rush they had battled. The horse 



The Horse oj 

was swimming more to seaward, almost 
head on now, and once he arose as if his 
forefeet had struck the earth. 

"He has found the marsh," muttered La- 
lande. "Night of wonders; nothing else!" 

Still that powerful, steady stroke under 
the man's clinging limbs. The brute was 
seeking whatever land might be above the 
water. Then Lalande began to think, as 
again he felt the forefeet touch bottom. 

"Then we iight again, eh, tiger? Shake 
me off and come at me ! Make the oaks and 
we'll see!" 

The horse plunged past a torn oak 
stump which smashed him in the side. He 
was in water to his withers, but Lalande 
knew he was climbing. He got a foothold, 
leaned against the tide rushing through the 
oak grove, and kept on. Against the man 
and horse there crushed another trunk, de- 
nuded of leaves, swinging by its roots, stag- 
gering them with its blows. The sea was 
over this also, Lalande knew. If it came 
higher there was no hope here. 

Then the stallion stopped. He stood belly 
deep in the lee of another oak trunk which 
Lalande could feel in the utter dark. And 
the man sat silent astride the white king 
of Dautrive who had lost his domain and 
his subjects. He moved his legs across the 
heaving flanks — a sort of stealthy challenge. 
He wanted the white stud to know that he, 
Joe Lalande, was there astride him. He 
laughed and leaned to pat the unseen arch 
of the neck. 

And then again came that furious, up- 
rearing plunge of the great brute. His head 
came about in a side blow, his teeth tearing 
at Lalande's face as the rider swerved out 
under this twisting, maddened attack. He 
heard that trumpet cry again of the wild 
horse seeking him as he dragged himself 
about the oak tree in the water. He stood 



Hurricane Reef 281 

clutching the rojx:, trying to make out the 
brute's form. 

Then he knew that the swells riding 
through the twisted oaks were slowed; the 
yelling of the winds more fitful, higher; 
and a sort of a check came to the clutch on 
his body against the tree. Lalande seemed to 
stand in a frothy eddy as if the sea had 
stopped running and was foaming to an 
apex about him. And he knew what it 
meant, tjie moment that always comes in 
the Gulf hurricanes. The wind was dying 
off and changing. The sea could do no more. 
It had piled its flood as far inland and as 
high as even its strength could hold. Its 
whirling center was now over the coast, 
the wind whipping fitfully, now southwest, 
westerly, northward, and beginning to rise 
again. But there came one moment when 
it was almost a calm, silence except for that 
roaring in the sky. 

''La revanche!' muttered the man. "Now 
comes the worst — the rush of the tide back 
to sea. The good God help them all, these 
Cajans who had not found refuge up the 
bay. La revanche — that is when they die!" 

He felt about his oak trunk, wondering 
if it were still rooted firmly. The white stal- 
lion must be just about the torn branches, 
for Lalande still had the trailing line. And 
then came something that numbed him 
with uncanny fear. A voice out in the dark, 
a child's cry among the oaks. 

"La revanche! Grand pere, it is coming! 
Get the lines the other way. Grandpere — '* 

Lalande went plunging toward tlie spot. 
''Norn de Dieul It is not possible.- Rojasl" 
He shouted, and stumbled among wreck- 
age of trees and timbers around his waist. 
"Rojas, you are in the grove .^" 

A dim light glowed behind a blanket. He 
saw a boy had snatched this moment of the 
falling wind to try the lantern. When La- 



282 



Charles Tenney Jackson 



lande waded to the spot an old man straight- 
ened up on the other side of a sunken raft. 
Upon it, under the blankets, were lashed the 
forms of Rojas's children, the orphans of 
Emile, who had once sought to tame the 
white horse of He Dautrive. Old Rojas held 
the lantern close to his white beard. He 
seemed as frightened as was the small boy 
by the stranger's coming. 

Old Rojas had been trying to spike a 
cross-piece to his shattered raft, fjis lugger 
had been smashed in the first reach of the 
hurricane, and he had torn up the planks of 
his camp floor to build this refuge anchored 
to the biggest oaks of the grove. They 
knew what to do, these Cajans of the reefs, 
when they were caught by the hurricane 
tide. Cut the mast from the lugger and drift 
inland, seize an anchorage before the 
dreaded revanche took them seaward; or if 
not that, hang to one's oak stumps! 

Lalande did not waste the precious mo- 
ments with a single question. 

"A brave fight, old man. I see you made 
a brave fight! Give me your raft-lines. The 
other way around now, and to the stoutest 
trees. This sea, it is like a mad tiger when 
it has to go back defeated ! Come." He took 
the mooring-line and plunged off in the 
waist-deep froth. 

"Day of wonders!" mumbled old Rojas. 
"A man on the reef — living! A big man, 
strong after the hurricane ! It is impossible." 
He went on hammering his raft as it surged 
and plunged by his shoulders, ordering the 
youngster to make himself fast once more 
in the life-ropes which held them all to the 
shaking planks. There was no whimper 
from the four children. They raised big 
dark eyes staring from Grandpere to the 
strange man who was battling back in 
the first seaward rush of the waters to make 
them fast against la revanche. The wind 



was smiting again. It appeared to fall out 
of the blackness to the north, blast after 
blast, rising swifter, smiting the piled-up 
waters, hurling them over the reef islands 
with thrice the speed they had come in. 

The dim lantern went out. The fugitives 
tied themselves in again. If the worn lines 
held and the raft kept together they might 
live. "Name of Names!" grumbled old 
Rojas. "A man coming to us out of the sea ? 
He said he would make fast for us. If not, 
my children — well, we must trust him." 

Lalande had struggled off into the new 
rush of the wind with the raft-lines. They 
were frayed and ragged. He made them fast 
to his own new throw-rope. He would get 
this rope off the stallion somehow, and 
make it fast to the big oak. If not — ^he 
shrugged, well, then, nothing! Every wreck 
of a lugger, plank of a camp, driftlog, tree, 
that was loose would be miles in the open 
Gulf to-morrow to eddy endlessly in la 
revanche. 

The old man's mooring-lines would not 
reach the big oak. Lalande had thought 
that, combined, they might last the night 
out, but the sea and wind were whipping 
fast on him in the dark. He had to plunge 
out shoulder deep to the tree, feeling of his 
line. 

"The white devil is there and quiet," he 
grumbled. "If he would let me slip the rope 
from his shoulders and tie to the tree!" He 
breasted the brimming tides over the sub- 
merged isle past the oak, his hand cautiously 
out to the dark. "Devil!" he called softly. 
"This is for Emile Rojas's young ones. The 
rope, devil! We've fought, you and I, but 
now let me have it.'* 

The line was tight past the oak stump. 
The weight of the raft was already coming 
strongly on it as the tide began to seethe 
through the shattered grove. Lalande could 



The Horse of 

hardly keep his feet, or his eyes open against 
the bitter spray. Then he was off his feet; 
he was hanging to the Hne, fighting out on 
it, calUng to his foe, reaching for him. The 
brute must be swimming now, for the foot- 
ing had gone from under them both. 

Lalande felt a plunging on the line. It 
was too late now to hope to get the rope 
to the oak. The fighting horse was on it, 
and it began to give slowly past the man's 
hands. La revanche was bearing them on, 
the raft, the man, and the white devil who 
was its sole anchor now. Lalande clung 
with one arm to the oak and drew in on 
the line. The dead weight of the raft had 
its way. The bucking, plunging brute, now 
touching the ground, now surging in the 
tide, was being drawn to him. Lalande 
began to call again. He had a great sense 
of pity for the stud. There were things that 
could not be withstood even by his lion 
heart; yet even the sea might not conquer 
except for this choking drag of the raft 
that held Rojas's grandchildren. 

Lalande touched the stallion's muzzle 
now, coming on fighting with the obstinate 
ferocity of a white shark. He crouched in 
the crotch of the oak and held out his arms 
to the stallion's neck. When finally the 
brute crashed upon the sunken oak, Lalande 
reached his fingers to the cleft where the 
throw-rope cut into his neck. He dragged on 
the line, vainly trying to ease that tension. 
Once he thought of his knife; he might 
cut that choking grip from the white stud's 
throat. Then Lalande lay back in the crotch 
above the plunging hoofs and eased the 
great head above his own shoulder. Drag- 
ging on the line with all his power he kept 
up his whispering as the hurricane tide 
rushed under them, swinging the oak on its 
roots, twisting it seaward, and sucking the 



Hurricane Reef 283 

earth away in whirls where Rojas's house 
had stood. 

"I tell you we arc still here, you and I," 
called Lalande after a while. "You and I, 
devil! You and I — smashed up together, 
my face against your own! Eh, bicnl Be 
quiet, Emilc Rojas may be watching his 
children, and you in this storm ! Remember 
that, white devil, you have returned for 
them!" He laughed and shouted in the 
dark, his arm about the neck of the horse, 
working his fingers under the rope, trying 
to take some of the strain upon his own 
flesh and bone. And presently he grum- 
bled, "and remember, also, I am not a thief. 
Not a thief, eh.?^" 

They clung that way five hours, until 
the crest of la revanche was passed. The 
sun even got through the huge rifts of black 
clouds streaming south by the time old 
Rojas stirred about from his creaking raft 
in the scrub oaks. Everywhere a brown, 
dirty, sullen sea setting out, flecked with 
drift and wreckage; and of all He Dautrive 
nothing showed but these few battered, 
branchless trees. 

The stout old man waded waist-deep 
from his raft where now Emile's young 
ones sat up stiff and drowsy from the sea's 
night-long flailing. He followed his moor- 
ing-line out to where it sogged under water 
by the big oak. The eldest boy had stood 
up looking after him. 

"GrandpheT screamed the lad suddenly. 
"Look! The white horse has come! By the 
tree, with the man!" 

Old Rojas w^aded and struggled there, too 
astounded to speak. The sight was a queer 
one, indeed. The white horse was drawn 
against the oak-crotch, pinned in there, in 
fact; and the rope from his neck also 
crushed the strange man against his shoul- 
der. Joe Lalande appeared to be crucified 



284 



diaries Tenney ]ac\son 



against the satin coat of the stalUon. But 
he Hfted his free arm faintly when the old 
man floundered near them. 

''M'sieu?" gasped Rojas. "You here?" 
He had to touch Lalande's drenched body 
ere he would believe that the man lived. 
Then he fell to loosening the slacked rope 
so that Lalande lurched down from die 
horse's neck into the water where he could 
hardly stand but clung to the tree trunk 
watching the animal. The rope had cut 
through Lalande's arm and shoulder until 
it made a long red-scarred mark from neck 
to elbow. He could not speak for a time 
from his salt-swollen lips. 

"Yes, \ am here," he whispered at last, 
and staggered weakly. 

"Name of God, the white horse!" cried 
the old man. He put his hand out to touch 
the smooth side, but as if fearing him even 
now. Lalande was trying to discover 
whether cr not the heart of the white stal- 



lion still beat; and then he turned away, 
his eyes closing wearily. He seemed to be 
shaken by a sob, a grief that the islander 
could not comprehend. 

"What's the matter, M'sieu? We are safe; 
the boats will find us. Le bon Dieu! that was 
a storm ! I have never seen a greater on this 
reef!" 

Then he looked curiously at the still 
form of his old enemy. ''Eh, bienl It took a 
white sea to kill this white devil, my 
friend!" 

"It was not the sea," grumbled Lalande. 
"The touch of a rope on his neck, M'sieu. I 
saw his heart break last night, but it was 
for the children of Emile. A rope and the 
touch of my hand upon his neck, they were 
not to be endured, M'sieu." Then Lalande 
turned away, as if speaking to the lord of 
Dautrive against the tree: "At least you must 
know this, white devil, the hand on you was 
not the hand of a thief." 



WILL JAMES (1892-1942) 



First Money 



from THE DRIFTING COWBOY 



The American cowboy is an important figure in the history of our 
country. He rides for wor\ and he rides for pleasure. His mount is a 
product of his environment and of the purpose for which he is trained 
and used. No writer can compare with Will James in his ability to portray 
the cowboy and his horse, for Will ]ames in his portraits draws himself 
and his own life. The vigor of his language, the lac\ of umtecessary 
folderols, the pithy humor of understatement combined with exaggerated 
analogies present the cowboy and his horse, not only alive but alive 
and \ic\ing, or rather buc\ing, I chose the following excerpt from The 
Drifting Cowboy because it is Will James at his best, showing us a part 
of American life which may not always be with us, in its present strength, 
honesty, and simplicity. 



t was natural that we was f eehng pretty 
good when we walked in the Rodeo 
headquarters that evening and hear 
the reports. We got our "daily money" 
and then we holds our breaths while we 
listen who all so far had qualified for the 
finals. There was only three and / was one 
of 'em, 

Tom near went through hisself when 

he heard my name was on that list and a 

grin spread on his face that sure disguised 

it. 

"Good boy, Bill," he hollers at the same 



time gives me a slap on that back that give 
me to understand he meant all what he 
said. 

The eight or ten riders left what hadn't 
competed for the finals and due to ride the 
next day was drawing their horses and I 
edged in to draw my "final" horse, I closed 
my eyes and near prayed as I reaches in 
the hat, gets one envelope and steps out 
where Tom and me can read it together. 

We pulls the paper out of the little en- 
velope like it was going to be either real 
bad news or else information that we'd 



285 



286 



Will 



inherited a million, and hesitating we un- 
folds it.— "Slippery Elm" is all that little 
piece of paper said, but that was enough 
and meant a plenty. It meant that to- 
morrow I was to ride a horse by that name 
and that nine chances out of ten it was up 
to that horse whetlier I'd win first, second, 
or third money or nothing. 

"We'd seen that horse bucked out the 
second day. He was a big black and re- 
minded me some of Angel Face, back there 
on the range. His mane was roached and 
from what we'd seen of him he wasn't near 
as good a bucking horse as our old Angel 
Face, he wasn't as honest and we remem- 
bered that he throwed himself a purpose 
and near killed a good cowboy on that 
second day. What's more we learn that he 
can't be depended on to buck everytime he's 
rode, sometimes he just stampedes and it 
was told that one time he run through two 
railings and halfways up the grandstand 
where he broke through the steps and near 
broke his neck. 

Putting all that together and thinking it 
over, me and Tom was looking mighty 
solemn. Of course, chances was that he 
might buck and buck good but the biggest 
part of them chances was that he'd just 
stampede and crowhop and then fall, and 
we knowed if it happened the imported 
judges would take advantage of that and 
instead of giving me another horse they'd 
grin and just put a line across my name. 

Tom ain't saying nothing, but I can see 
he's doing a heap of thinking instead, and 
watching him I can't help but grin a little 
and remark that everything may turn out 
alright. "Can't tell about that horse, Tom," 
I says, "he might buck like hell." 

"Yes, he might and he might not/' says 
Tom, looking gloomy, "and I sure hate to 
see you take a chance on a scrub like that 



Jatnes 

horse after you getting as far as the finals. If 
you'd a drawed a good one like that Rag- 
time horse for instance, I don't mean the 
one I rode and got disqualified on, I mean 
the one they cheated me out of, well, if 
you'd got a horse like that you'd have a 
chance for your money, but who do you 
suppose has drawed that horse .f^" he asks. 

"I don't know," I says, wondering. 

"That pet cowboy of Colter's got him — 
and do you think he could of drawed that 
horse on the square .f^ Not by a damn sight! 
That cowboy is a good rider and being he 
is Colter's drawcard same as some of his 
horses he advertises and claims can't be 
rode. Colter is naturally going to see that 
that cowboy wins first. It's a safe bet so far 
cause when he drawed Ragtime he drawed 
the best bucking horse in the outfit." 

"Now I'll tell you. Bill," says Tom, all 
het up on the subject, "it's not the prize 
money nor the honors we're after so much, 
if they can outride us and do it on the 
square we'd be glad to shake hands with 
'em and congratulate, but they're trying to 
put something over on us and on all the 
riders of this part of the country. Other 
outfits like Colter's done the same thing 
last two years and got away with the money 
when there was boys from here that could 
of outrode 'em two to one, and it looks 
like the same thing is going to be done this 
year, but if you had a good horse, Bill, we'd 
sure make them circus hands look up to a 
cowboy." 

It's after supper when Tom, still looking 
mighty sour, tells me he's going to the 
stable to get his horse and go visiting out 
of town a ways. I see his mind is still on 
the subject as he's saddling, and giving the 
latigo a jerk remarks that he can lose a 
square deal and laugh about it, "but I'll be 
daggone," he says, "if it don't hurt to get 



The Drifting Cowboy 



287 



cheated out of what's yours, have it done 
right under your nose and not have no say 
acoming." 

The next day was the last day, the big 
day, the grounds was sizzHng hot and 
the dust that was stirred up stayed in the 
air looking for a cooler atmosphere. It was 
past noon and Tom hadn't showed up yet. 
I was beginning to wonder of the where- 
abouts of that cowboy and started looking 
for him. I was still at it when the parade 
drifted in and the Grand Entree was over, 
every kid that could borrow a horse was 
in it, some wore red silk shirts and they 
sure thought they was cowboys far as the 
clothes was concerned. 

The riders what still had to ride for the 
finals went hard at it and I was busy watch- 
ing and judging for myself how many of 
them would make them finals. I hears 
when it's over that only two had qualified 
and them two was of Colter's outfit, that 
made six of us who are still to ride for 
the grand prize, four of Colter's men and 
two of us outsiders and by that I figgers that 
Colter is sure making it a cinch of \eeping 
the money in the family, 

"All you bulldoggers on the track," 
hollers the Rodeo boss, and knowing that 
Tom is in on that event I takes another 
look for him, but I can't see hair nor hide 
of that son-of-a-gun nowheres, so I was 
getting real worried. 

My name is called and I rides up to the 
shute. My steer is let out and for the time 
being I forgets everything but what I'd rode 
up there for. I done good time, the best 
time of that day so far, and I sure did wish 
that old Tom was there and seen it, cause 
I know it'd tickled him. 

A half dozen or so other bulldoggers are 
called on to take their chance and then 
Tom's name comes, but he's still among the 



missing and I sec no way but offer to 
substitute for him. I had a mighry hard 
time to get the judges to agree to that, but 
with Pete on my side and me atalking my 
head off, they finally decide to let me take 
his place. 

I glances towards the shutes and notice 
a steer just my size already there and wait- 
ing to come out, and I also notices that 
they're trying to drive him back and put 
another steer in the place of him, a great 
big short-horned Durham. I rides up there 
right now and begins to object, remarking 
that I'd take on any steer as they come but 
at the same time I wasn't letting any skunk 
stack the cards on me by going to the special 
trouble of picking me the hardest steer they 
can find. I object so strong that they finally 
let me have the first steer. 

I was mad and when that steer come out 
I figgered there was something to work my 
hard feelings out on, I made a reach for 
them long horns that I wouldn't of made 
if I'd been normal, the critter kept me up 
for a good airing, but when my boot heels 
finally connected with the sod the program 
wasn't long in ending. I stopped him good 
so there wouldn't be no danger of being 
disqualified and imagining that I was bull- 
dogging a Rodeo boss or a judge instead of 
a steer, it wasn't long before I had him 
down. 

"Old critter," I says to the steer as I lets 
him up, "you play square which is more 
than I can say for some folks." 

I shakes the dust off myself, locates my 
hat, and being I was through on bulldog- 
ging I struts out round and toward the 
saddling shutes trying to get a peek at that 
long lean pardner of mine — a vision of his 
expression as he was leaving the night be- 
fore came to me and I'm beginning to won- 
der if he didn't try to even scores with the 



288 



Will 



Colter outfit. "But daggone it," I thinks, 
"he should of let me tag along." 

"You'll soon be riding now, Bill," says 
one of the local boys breaking in on my 
thoughts, "and if you don't bring home 
the bacon with first money you better keep 
on riding and never let me see your homely 
phizog again." 

"Bet your life," I says, "and that goes for 
two judges too." 

Comes the time when they're introducing 
Colter's pet cowboy to the crowd in the 
grandstand and telling all about his riding 
abilities on the worst horses, etc., etc. A 
few bows in answer to the cheers and that 
same hombre rides to die shutes graceful 
and prepares to get ready. 

The Ragtime horse (the one Tom drawed 
and didn't get) came out like a real bucker, 
he wiped up the earth pretty and Colter's 
top hand was a setting up there as easy as 
though he was using shock absorbers. None 
of the hard hitting jumps seemed to faze 
him and his long lean legs was a reefing 
that pony from the root of his tail to the 
tips of his ears and a keeping time with 
motions that wasn't at all easy to even see. 

I felt kind of dubious as I watched the 
proceedings. If I only had a horse like that 
I thought, for as it was I didn't see no 
chance and things was made worse when 
I hear one of the riders next to me re- 
mark: "You know. Bill, we got to hand it 
to that feller, he may be with Colter's out- 
fit and all that, but he sure can ridel'* 

A couple other boys came out on their 
ponies and they done fine but it was plain to 
see who was up for first money. I didn't put 
much heart to the job when I gets near the 
shutes to straddle that roach maned scrub 
I'd drawed, but I figgers to do the best I 
can, there was no use quitting now and 
maybe after all that horse might buck 



James 

pretty good, good enough to get me into 
second or third money but dammit, I didn't 
want second or third money. I wanted first 
or nothing and it was my intentions to 
ride for that. 

The judges, all excepting Pete, didn't 
seem interested when it was announced that 
I was next to come out and I reckoned 
they'd already figured me out of it as they 
knowed I'd drawed Slippery Elm. 

"Judges," hollers a voice that sounds 
mighty familiar, "Watch this cowboy ride, 
he's after first money." 

The shute gate was about to be opened, 
but I had to turn and see who'd just spoke 
— and there, a few feet back stood Tom, 
a glance of him kept me wondering or 
asking where he'd been, his features was 
kinda set, and I finds myself listening 
mighty close as he looks at me and says — 
sort of low: "Careful of the first jump. Bill, 
and ride like you would if old Angel Face 
was under you." 

I had no time to talk back and that got 
me to setting pretty close, but I had to 
grin at the thought of the scrub I was set- 
ting on being anything like the good 
bucker old Angel Face could be, but I was 
going to play safe anyway and get ready 
to ride. If this horse bucked good, all the 
better — then, the shute gate flies open. 

That horse came out like the combina- 
tion of a ton of dynamite and a lighted 
match, I lost the grin I'd been packing, I 
kinda felt the cantle crack as that pony 
took me up to I don't know where and I 
was flying instead of riding. 

Instinct, or maybe past experience warned 
me that somehow mighty soon we was go- 
ing to come down again and natural like 
I prepares for it. A human can think fast 
sometimes, and you can tell that I did by 
the fact that all I've described so far of that 



The Drifting 

pony^s movements was clone in about the 
length of time it took you to read a couple 
of these words. That roach mane horse 
was sure surprising. 

When that horse hit the ground I felt 
as though Saint Peter and all the guards 
of the Pearly Gates who I'd been to see just 
a second before, had put their foot down on 
me and was trying to push me through 
the earth to the hot place. The saddle horn 
was tickling me under the chin and one of 
my feet touched the ground, my other one 
was alongside the horse's jaw. 

I hear a snorting beller that sounds away 
off and I gets a hazy glimpse of the roman- 
nosed lantern-jawed head that was making 
it — I'd recognized the whole of it in hell 
and instead of Slippery Elm, old Angel 
Face was under me. 

Right then and there the tune changed, 
the spirits I'd lost came back along with 
memories of first money. A full grown war- 
whoop was heard. Angel Face answers 
with a beller and all the world was bright 
once more. 

The judges had no chance to direct me 
when to scratch forward and back, I was 
doing that aplenty and they was busy turn- 
ing their ponies and just keeping track of 
me. I'd look over my shoulder at 'em and 
laugh in their face at the same time place 
one of my feet between the pony's ears 
or reach back and put the III (hundred 
and eleven) spur mark on the back of the 
cantle of the saddle. 

All through the performance old faith- 
ful Angel Face kept up a standard of that 
first jump I tried to describe. He was wicked 
but true and it was a miracle that his feet 
always touched the ground instead of his 
body. There was none of that high rearing 
show stuff with that old boy, only just 



Cowboy 289 

plain honest to god bucking that only a 
horse of his kind could put out — one in a 
thousand of his kind. 

I got to loving that horse right then. He 
was carrying me, kinda rough of course, 
but straight to my ambitions, and even 
though my feet was in the motion of scratch- 
ing and covering a lot of territory on his 
hide my spurs didn't touch him nor leave a 
mark on him nowhercs, he was my friend 
in need. 

There's cheers from the grandstand, 
cheers from the cowboys as far as I can 
see in my wild ride everybody is up and 
ahollering, everybody but the Colter crowd. 
The shot is fired that marks the end of 
my ride and Tom is right there to pick 
Angel Face's head up out of the dust, that 
old pony hated to quit and tries to buck 
even after he's snubbed. 

"He's some horse," Tom says real serious, 
"and Bill you're some rider." 

Late that night finds me and Tom lead- 
ing Slippery Elm and headed for the 
grounds, we was going to steal back Slip- 
pery Elm's double. Angel Face. 

"Too bad," I remarks, "that his mane 
had to be roached to get him to look like 
this scrub we're leading. The boss'll have 
seventeen fits when he sees that." 

Tom didn't seem worried. "What I'd like 
to know," he says, "is how come I was 
handed the championship bulldogging. I 
wasn't even there the last day." 

"I substituted for you, and even went and 
broke my own record doing, it but," I goes 
on before Tom can speak, "if you hadn't 
brought in Angel Face I'd never got first 
money. If the Colter outfit hadn't switched 
horses on us we w^ouldn't of switched 
horses on them, so there you are, Tom. 
Turn about is fair play and that goes all 
round." 



CH.\RLES DICKENS (1812-1870) 

How Mr. Pickwick undertook to drive 
and Mr. Winkle to ride 

from THE PICKWICK PAPERS 



The plight in which Mr. Winkle finds himself in the ensuing tale is 
not unlike that in which many a novice finds himself to this day. I 
have heard people say that horses detect fear by smell — personally, I 
dont thin\ they need smell to detect it; most certainly they \now the 
inexperienced rider from the moment he lays hands on the reins pre- 
paratory to riding, whether he is afraid or not, and invariably ta\e 
advantage of him, This was true at the time the following tale was 
written; it is true now, and will be true as long as there are horses 
to ride and beginners to ride them. Dichens does not often write 
extensively about horses, which is a little to be wondered at when one 
considers how largely they figured in the life of his day. 




^ ow, about Manor Farm," said 
Mr. Pickwick. "How shall we 
^ ^ go?" 

"We had better consult the waiter, per- 
haps," said Mr. Tupman, and the waiter 
was summoned accordingly. 

"Dingley Dell, gentlemen — fifteen miles, 
gentlemen — cross road — post-chaise, sir.^^" 

"Post-chaise won't hold more than two," 
said Mr. Pickwick. 

"True, sir — beg your pardon sir. — ^Very 
nice four-wheeled chaise, sir — seat for two 
behind — one in front for the gentleman 



that drives — oh! beg your pardon, sir — 
that'll only hold three." 

"What's to be done.?" said Mr. Snod- 
grass. 

"Perhaps one of the gentlemen would like 
to ride, sir.^^" suggested the waiter, looking 
towards Mr. Winkle; "very good saddle 
horses, sir — any of Mr. Wardle's men com- 
ing to Rochester bring 'em back, sir." 

"The very thing," said Mr. Pickwick. 
"Winkle, will you go on horseback .r^" 

Mr. Winkle did entertain considerable 
misgivings in the very lowest recesses of 



290 



The Pic\wic\ Papers 



his own heart, relative to his equestrian 
skill ; but, as he would not have them even 
suspected on any account, he at once re- 
plied with great hardihood, "Certainly. I 
should enjoy it, of all things." 

Mr. Winkle had rushed upon his fate; 
there was no resource. "Let them be at the 
door by eleven," said Mr. Pickwick. 

"Very well, sir," replied the waiter. 

The waiter retired; the breakfast con- 
cluded; and the travellers ascended to their 
respective bed-rooms, to prepare a change 
of clothing, to take with them on their 
approaching expedition. 

Mr. Pickwick had made his preliminary 
arrangements, and was looking over the 
coffee-room blinds at the passengers in the 
street, when the waiter entered, and an- 
nounced that the chaise was ready — an an- 
nouncement which the vehicle itself con- 
firmed, by forthwith appearing before the 
coffee-room blinds aforesaid. 

It was a curious little green box on four 
wheels, with a low place like a wine-bin 
for two behind, and an elevated perch for 
one in front, drawn by an immense brown 
horse, displaying great symmetry of bone. 
An hostler stood near, holding by the bridle 
another immense horse — apparently a near 
relative of the animal in the chaise — ready 
saddled for Mr. Winkle. 

"Bless my soul!" said Mr. Pickwick, as 
they stood upon the pavement while the 
coats were being put in. "Bless my soul! 
who's to drive? I never thought of that." 

"Oh! you, of course," said Mr. Tupman. 

"Of course," said Mr. Snodgrass. 

"I!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. 

"Not the slightest fear, sir," interposed 
the hostler. "Warrant him quiet, sir; a 
hinf ant in arms might drive him." 

"He don't shy, does he?" inquired Mr. 
Pickwick. 



291 

"Shy, sir? — He wouldn't shy if he was to 
meet a vaggin-load of monkeys with their 
tails burnt off." 

The last recommendation was indis- 
putable. Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass 
got into the bin; Mr. Pickwick ascended 
to his perch, and deposited his feet on a 
floor-clothed shelf, erected beneath it for 
that purpose. 

"Now, shiny Villiam," said the hostler 
to the deputy hostler, "give the gen'l'm'n the 
ribbins." "Shiny Villiam" — so called, prob- 
ably, from his sleek hair and oily counte- 
nance — placed the reins in Mr. Pickwick's 
left hand; and the upper hostler thrust a 
whip into his right. 

"Wo — o!" cried Mr. Pickwick, as the tall 
quadruped evinced a decided inclination to 
back into the coffee-room window. 

"Wo — o!" echoed Mr. Tupman and Mr. 
Snodgrass, from the bin. 

"Only his playfulness, genTm'n," said 
the head hostler encouragingly; "jist kitch 
hold on him, Villiam." The deputy re- 
strained the animal's impetuosity, and the 
principal ran to assist Mr. Winkle in mount- 
ing. 

"T'other side, sir, if you please." 

"Blowed if the gen'l'm'n worn't a gettin' 
up on the wrong side," w^hispered a grin- 
ning post-boy to the inexpressibly gratified 
waiter. 

Mr. Winkle, dius instructed, climbed into 
his saddle, with about as much difficulty as 
he would have experienced in getting up 
the side of a first-rate man-of-war. 

*'A11 right?" inquired Mr. Pickwick, with 
an inward presentiment that it was all 
wrong. 

"All right," replied Mr. Winkle faindy. 

"Let 'em go," cried the hostler,— "Hold 
him in, sir," and away went the chaise, and 
the saddle-horse, with Mr. Pickwick on the 



292 Charles 

box of one, and Mr. Winkle on the back 
of the other, to the deHght and gratification 
of the whole inn yard. 

*'What makes him go sideways?" said 
Mr. Snodgrass in the bin, to Mr. Winkle 
in the saddle. 

"I can't imagine," replied Mr. Winkle. 
His horse was drifting up the street in the 
most mysterious manner — side first, with 
his head towards one side of the way, and 
his tail towards the other. 

Mr. Pickwick had no leisure to observe 
either this or any other particular, the whole 
of his faculties being concentrated in the 
management of the animal attached to the 
chaise, who displayed various peculiarities, 
highly interesting to a bystander, but by no 
means equally amusing to any one seated 
behind him. Besides constantly jerking his 
head up, in a very unpleasant and uncom- 
fortable manner, and tugging at the reins to 
an extent which rendered it a matter of 
great difl&culty for Mr. Pickwick to hold 
them, he had a singular propensity for dart- 
ing suddenly every now and then to the 
side of the road, then stopping short, and 
then rushing forward for some minutes, at 
a speed which it was wholly impossible to 
control. 

"What can he mean by this?" said Mr. 
Snodgrass, when the horse had executed 
this manoeuvre for the twentieth time. 

"I don't know," replied Mr. Tupman; "it 
loo\s very like shying, don't it?" Mr. Snod- 
grass was about to reply, when he was inter- 
rupted by a shout from Mr. Pickwick. 

"Woo!" said that gentleman; "I have 
dropped my whip." 

"Winkle," said Mr. Snodgrass, as the 
equestrian came trotting up on the tall 
horse, with his hat over his ears, and shaking 
all over, as if he would shake to pieces, with 
the violence of the exercise, "pick up the 



Dickens 

whip, there's a good fellow." Mr. Winkle 
pulled at the bridle of the tall horse till 
he was black in the face; and having at 
length succeeded in stopping him, dis- 
mounted, handed the whip to Mr. Pick- 
wick, and grasping the reins, prepared to 
remount. 

Now whether the tall horse, in the natu- 
ral playfulness of his disposition, was de- 
sirous of having a little innocent recreation 
with Mr. Winkle, or whether it occurred 
to him that he could perform the journey 
as much to his own satisfaction without a 
rider as with one, are points upon which, 
of course, we can arrive at no definite and 
distinct conclusion. By whatever motives 
the animal was actuated, certain it is that 
Mr. Winkle had no sooner touched the 
reins, than he slipped them over his head, 
and darted backwards to their full length. 

"Poor fellow," said Mr. Winkle, sooth- 
ingly, — "poor fellow — good old horse." The 
"poor fellow" was proof against flattery: 
the more Mr. Winkle tried to get nearer 
him, the more he sidled away; and, notwith- 
standing all kinds of coaxing and wheed- 
ling, there were Mr. Winkle and the horse 
going round and round each other for ten 
minutes, at the end of which time each 
was at precisely the same distance from the 
other as when they first commenced — an 
unsatisfactory sort of thing under any cir- 
cumstances, but particularly so in a lonely 
road, where no assistance can be procured. 

"What am I to do ?" shouted Mr. Winkle, 
after the dodging had been prolonged for 
a considerable time. "What am I to do? I 
can't get on him." 

"You had better lead him till we come 
to a turnpike," replied Mr. Pickwick from 
the chaise. 

"But he won't come!" roared Mr. Winkle. 
"Do come, and hold him." 



The Pickwick^ Papers 



293 



Mr. Pickwick was the very personation 
of kindness and humanity: he threw the 
reins on the horse's back, and having des- 
cended from his seat, carefully drew the 
chaise into the hedge, lest anything should 
come along the road, and stepped back to 
the assistance of his distressed companion, 
leaving Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass in 
the vehicle. 

The horse no sooner beheld Mr. Pick- 
wick advancing towards him with the 
chaise whip in his hand, than he exchanged 
the rotary motion in which he had pre- 
viously indulged, for a retrograde move- 
ment of so very determined a character, 
that it at once drew Mr. Winkle, who was 
still at the end of the bridle, at a rather 
quicker rate than fast walking, in the direc- 
tion from which they had just come. Mr. 
Pickwick ran to his assistance, but the faster 
Mr. Pickwick ran forward, the faster the 
horse ran backward. There was a great 
scraping of feet, and kicking up of the dust; 
and at last Mr. Winkle, his arms being 
nearly pulled out of their sockets, fairly 
let go his hold. The horse paused, stared, 
shook his head, turned round, and quietly 
trotted home to Rochester, leaving Mr. 
Winkle and Mr. Pickwick gazing on each 
other with countenances of blank dismay. 
A rattling noise at a little distance attracted 
their attention. They looked up. 

"Bless my soul!" exclaimed the agonised 
Mr. Pickwick, "there's the other horse run- 
ning away!" 

It was but too true. The animal was start- 
led by the noise, and the reins were on his 
back. The result may be guessed. He tore 
off with the four-wheeled chaise behind 
him, and Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass 
in the four-wheeled chaise. The heat was a 
short one, Mr. Tupman threw himself into 



the hedge. Mr. Snodgrass followed his ex- 
ample, the horse dashed the four-wheeled 
chaise against a wooden bridge, separated 
the wheels from the body, and the bin 
from the perch: and finally stood stock still 
to gaze upon the ruin he had made. 

The first care of the two unspilt friends 
was to extricate their unfortunate com- 
panions from their bed of quickset— a 
process which gave them the unspeakable 
satisfaction of discovering that they had 
sustained no injury, beyond sundry rents 
in their garments, and various lacerations 
from the brambles. The next thing to be 
done was, to unharness the horse. This 
complicated process having been effected, 
the party walked slowly forward, leading 
the horse among them, and abandoning the 
chaise to its fate. 

An hour's walking brought the travelers 
to a little roadside public-house, with two 
elm trees, a horse trough, and a signpost 
in front; one or two deformed hay-ricks 
behind, a kitchen garden at the side, and 
rotten sheds and mouldering out-houses 
jumbled in strange confusion all about it. 
A red-headed man was working in the 
garden; and to him Mr. Pickwick called 
lustily— "Hallo there!" 

The red-headed man raised his body, 
shaded his eyes with his hand, and stared, 
long and coolly, at Mr. Pickwick and his 
companions. 

"Hallo there!" repeated Mr. Pickwick. 

"Hallo!" was the red-headed man's reply. 

"How far is it to Dingley Dell.^" 

"Better er seven mile." 

"Is it a good road.f^" 

"No t'ant." Having uttered this brief 
reply, and apparently satisfied himself with 
another scrutiny, the red-headed man re- 
sumed his work. 



294 Charles 

"Wc want to put this horse up here," said 
Mr. Pickwick; "I suppose we can, can't 
wc?" 

"Want to put that ere horse up, do ee?" 
repeated the red-headed man, leaning on 
his spade. 

"Of course," repHed Mr. Pickwick, who 
had by this time advanced, horse in hand, 
to the garden rails. 

"Missus" — roared the man with the red 
head, emerging from the garden, and look- 
ing very hard at the horse — "Missus!" 

A tall bony woman — straight all the way 
down — in a coarse blue pelisse, with the 
waist an inch or two below her arm-pits, 
responded to the call. 

"Can we put this horse up here, my good 
woman?" said Mr. Tupman, advancing, 
and speaking in his most seductive tones. 
The woman looked very hard at the whole 
party; and the red-headed man whispered 
something in her ear. 

"No," replied the woman, after a little 
consideration, "I'm afeered on it." 

"Afraid!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, 
"what's the woman afraid of?" 

"It got us in trouble last time," said the 
woman, turning into the house: "I woant 
have nothin' to say to 'un." 

"Most extraordinary thing I ever met 
with in my life," said the astonished Mr. 
Pickwick. 

"I — I — really believe," whispered Mr. 
Winkle, as his friends gathered round him, 
"that they think we have come by this 
horse in some dishonest manner." 

"What!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, in a 
storm of indignation. 2vlr. Winkle modestly 
repeated his suggestion. 

"Hallo, you fellow!" said the angry Mr. 
Pickwick, "do you think we stole this 
horse?" 

"I'm sure ye did," replied the red-headed 



Dickens 

man, with a grin which agitated his 
countenance from one auricular organ to 
the other. Saying which, he turned into the 
house, and banged the door after him. 

"It's like a dream," ejaculated Mr. Pick- 
wick, "a hideous dream. The idea of a man's 
walking about, all day, with a dreadful 
horse that he can't get rid of!" The de- 
pressed Pickwickians turned moodily away, 
with the tall quadruped, for which they all 
felt the most unmitigated disgust, following 
slowly at their heels. 

It was late in the afternoon when the 
four friends and their four-footed com- 
panion turned into the lane leading to 
Manor Farm; and even when they were so 
near their place of destination, the pleasure 
they would otherwise have experienced was 
materially damped as they reflected on the 
singularity of their appearance, and the 
absurdity of their situation. Torn clothes, 
lacerated faces, dusty shoes, exhausted looks, 
and, above all, the horse. Oh, how Mr. Pick- 
wick cursed that horse: he had eyed the 
noble animal from time to time with looks 
expressive of hatred and revenge; more than 
once he had calculated the probable amount 
of the expense he would incur by cutting 
his throat; and now the temptation to 
destroy him, or to cast him loose upon the 
world, rushed upon his mind with tenfold 
force. He was roused from a meditation on 
these dire imaginings, by the sudden ap- 
pearance of two figures at a turn of the 
lane. It was Mr. Wardle, and his faithful 
attendant, the fat boy. 

"Why, where have you been?" said the 
hospitable old gentleman; "I've been wait- 
ing for you all day. Well, you do look tired. 
What! Scratches! Not hurt, I hope — eh? 
Well, I am glad to hear that — very. So 
you've been spilt, eh? Never mind. Com- 
mon accident in these parts. Joe — he's asleep 



The PicJ{wick^ Papers 



395 



again! — Joe, take that horse from the 
gentleman, and lead it into the stable.*' 

The fat boy sauntered heavily behind 
them with the animal; and the old gentle- 
man, condoling with his guests in homely 
phrase on so much of the day's adventures 
as they thought proper to communicate, led 
the way to the kitchen. 

"We'll have you put to rights here," said 
the old gentleman, "and then I'll introduce 
you to the people in the parlour. Emma, 
bring out the cherry brandy; now, Jane, 
a needle and thread here ; towels and water, 
Mary. Come, girls, bustle about." 

Three or four buxom girls speedily dis- 
persed in search of the different articles in 
requisition, while a couple of large-headed, 
circular-visaged males rose from their seats 
in the chimney-corner (for although it was 
a May evening, their attachment to the 
wood fire appeared as cordial as if it were 
Christmas), and dived into some obscure 
recesses, from which they speedily produced 
a bottle of blacking, and some half-dozen 
brushes. 

"Bustle!" said the old gentleman again, 
but the admonition was quite unnecessary, 
for one of the girls poured out the cherry 
brandy, and another brought in the towels, 
and one of the men suddenly seizing Mr. 
Pickwick by the leg, at imminent hazard 
of throwing him off his balance, brushed 
away at his boot, till his corns were red-hot; 
while the other shampoo'd Mr. Winkle 
with a heavy clothes-brush, indulging, 
during the operation, in that hissing sound 



which hostlers are wont to produce when 
engaged in rubbing down a horse. 

Mr. Snodgrass, having concluded his 
ablutions, took a survey of the rrxjm, while 
standing with his back to the fire, sipping 
his cherry brandy with heartfelt satisfaction. 
He describes it as a large apartment, with 
a red brick floor and a capacious chimney; 
the ceiling garnished with hams, sides of 
bacon, and ropes of onions. The walls were 
decorated with several hunting-whips, two 
or three bridles, a saddle and an old rusty 
blunderbuss, with an inscription below it, 
intimating that it was "Loaded" — as it had 
been, on the same authority, for half a 
century at least. An old eight-day clock, 
of solemn and sedate demeanour, ticked 
gravely in one corner; and a silver watch, 
of equal antiquity, dangled from one of 
the many hooks which ornamented the 
dresser. 

"Ready .^" said the old gentleman in- 
quiringly, when his guests had been 
washed, mended, brushed, and brandied. 

"Quite," replied Mr. Pickwick. 

"Come along, then," and the party having 
traversed several dark passages, and being 
joined by Mr. Tupman, who had lingered 
behind to snatch a kiss from Emma, for 
which he had been duly rewarded with 
sundry pushings and scratchings, arrived at 
the parlour door. 

"Welcome," said their hospitable host, 
throwing it open and stepping for\vard to 
announce them, "Welcome, gentlemen, to 
Manor Farm." 



WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY (1811-1863) 



Mr. Eglantine's Singular Animal 



from THE RAVENSWING 



Thac\eray was the first, and as far as I \now, the last to use a horse 
as the means of playi?2g a practical jo\e. One is also interested to note 
that four miles an hour in a carriage is considered a ''rapid pace" 



"^ glantine's usual morning costume 
^ was a blue stain satin neckcloth 
. ^ embroidered with butterflies and 



ornamented with a brandy-ball brooch, a 
light shawl waistcoat, and a rhubarb- 
coloured coat of the sort which, I believe, 
are called Taglionis, and which have no 
waist-buttons, and made a pretence, as it 
were, to have no waists, but are in reality 
adopted by the fat in order to give them a 
waist. Nothing easier for an obese man than 
to have a waist; he has but to pinch his 
middle part a little, and the very fat on 
either side pushed violently forward ma\es 
a waist as it were, and our worthy per- 
fumer's figure was that of a bolster cut 
almost in two with a string. 

Walker presently saw him at his shop- 
door grinning in this costume, twiddling 
his ringlets with his dumpy greasy fingers, 
glittering with oil and rings, and looking 
so exceedingly contented and happy that 
the estate-agent felt assured some very 



satisfactory conspiracy had been planned 
between the tailor and him. How was Mr. 
Walker to learn what the scheme was? 
Alas! the poor fellow's vanity and delight 
were such, that he could not keep silent 
as to the cause of his satisfaction; and rather 
than not mention it at all, in the fulness 
of his heart he would have told his secret 
to Mr. Mossrose himself. 

"When I get my coat," thought the Bond 
Street Alnaschar, "I'll hire of Snaffle that 
easy-going cream-coloured oss that he 
bought from Astley's, and I'll canter 
through the Park, and won't I pass through 
Little Bunker's Buildings, that's all? I'll 
wear my grey trousers with the velvet stripe 
down the side, and get my spurs lacquered 
up, and a French polish to my boot; and if 
I don't do for the Captain, and the tailor 
too, my name's not Archibald. And I know 
what I'll do: I'll hire the small clarence, 
and invite the Crumps to dinner at the *Gar 
and Starter'" (this was his facetious way 



296 



The Ravenswing 



^j7 



of calling the "Star and Garter''), "and I'll 
ride by them all the way to Richmond. It's 
rather a long ride, but with Snaffle's soft 
saddle I can do it pretty easy, I dare say.'* 
And so the honest fellow built castles upon 
castles in the air; and the last most beau- 
tiful vision of all was Miss Crump "in white 
satting, with a horange-flower in her 'air," 
putting him in possession of "her lovely 
'and before the haltar of St. George's, 
'Anover Square." As for Woolsey, Eglan- 
tine determined that he should have the 
best wig his art could produce; for he had 
not the least fear of his rival. 

These points then being arranged to the 
poor fellow's satisfaction, what does he do 
but send out for half-a-quire of pink note- 
paper, and in a filagree envelope despatch 
a note of invitation to the ladies at the 
"Bootjack:"— 

'Bower of Bloom, Bond Street, 
^Thursday. 

*Mr. Archibald Eglantine presents his com- 
pliments to Mrs. and Miss Crump, and requests 
the honour and pleasure of their company at the 
"Star and Garter" at Richmond to an early dinner 
on Sunday next. 

7/ agreeable, Mr. Eglantine's carriage will be 
at your door at three o'clock, and I propose to 
accompany them on horseback, if agreeable 
likewise.' 

This note was sealed with yellow wax, 
and sent to its destination; and of course 
Mr. Eglantine went himself for the answer 
in the evening: and of course he told the 
ladies to look out for a certain new coat he 
was going to sport on Sunday; and of 
course Mr. Walker happens to call the next 
day with spare tickets for Mrs. Crump and 
her daughter, when the whole secret was 
laid bare to him — how the ladies were going 
to Richmond on Sunday in Mr. Snaffle's 
clarence, and how Mr. Eglantine was to 
ride by their side. 



Mr. Walker did not keep horses of his 
own; fjis magnificent friends at the 
"Regent" had plenty in their stables, and 
some of these were at livery at the estab- 
lishment of the Captain's old "college'* 
companion, Mr. Snaffle. It was easy, there- 
fore, for the Captain to renew his acquaint- 
ance with that individual. So, hanging on 
the arm of my Lord Vauxhall, Captain 
Walker next day made his appearance at 
Snaffle's livery stables, and looked at the 
various horses there for sale or at bait, and 
soon managed, by putting some facetious 
questions to Mr. Snaffle regarding the "Kid- 
ney Club," &c., to place himself on a 
friendly footing with that gentleman, and 
to learn from him what horse Mr. Eglan- 
tine was to ride on Sunday. 

The monster Walker had fully deter- 
mined in his mind that Eglantine should 
fall off that horse in the course of his 
Sunday's ride. 

"That sing'lar hanimal," said Mr. Snaffle, 
pointing to the old horse, "is the celebrated 
Hemperor that was the wonder of Hastley's 
some years back, and was parted with by 
Mr. Ducrow honlv because his feelin's 
wouldn't allow him to keep him no longer 
after the death of the first Mrs. D., who 
invariably rode him. I bought him, thinking 
that p'raps ladies and Cockney bucks might 
like to ride him (for his haction is wonder- 
ful, and he canters like a harm-chair) ; but 
he's not safe on any day except Sundays. 

"And why's that.'^" asked Captain Wal- 
ker. "Why is he safer on Sundays than 
other days.f^" 

"Because there's no music in the streets 
on Sundays. The first gent that rode him 
found himself dancing a quadrille in Hup- 
per Brook Street to an 'urdy-gurdy that 
was playing "Cherry Ripe," such is the 
natur of the hanimal. And if you reklect 



298 



William Makepeace Thac\eray 



the play of the "Battle of Hoysterlitz," In 
which Mrs. D. hacted "the female hussar," 
you may remember how she and tlie horse 
died in the third act to the toon of "God 
preserve the Emperor," from which this 
horse took his name. Only play that toon 
to him, and he rears hisself up, beats the 
hair in time with his forelegs, and then 
sinks gently to die ground as though he 
were carried off by a cannonball. He served 
a lady hopposite Hapsley 'Ouse so one day, 
and since then Fve never let him out to a 
friend except on Sunday, when, in course, 
diere's no danger. Heglantine is a friend 
of mine, and of course I wouldn't put the 
poor fellow on a hanimal I couldn't trust." 

After a little more conversation, my lord 
and his friend quitted Mr. Snaffle's, and as 
they walked away towards the "Regent," 
his Lordship might be heard shrieking with 
laughter, crying, "Capital, by jingo! ex- 
thlent! Dwive down in the dwag! Take 
Lungly. Worth a thousand pound, by 
Jove!" and similar ejaculations, indicative 
of exceeding delight. 

On Saturday morning, at ten o'clock to 
a moment, Mr. Woolsey called at Mr. 
Eglantine's with a yellow handkerchief 
under his arm. It contained the best and 
handsomest body-coat that ever gentleman 
put on. It fitted Eglantine to a nicety — it 
did not pinch him in the least, and yet it 
was of so exquisite a cut that the perfumer 
found, as he gazed delighted in the glass, 
that he looked like a manly portly high- 
bred gentleman — a lieutenant-colonel in 
the army at the very least. 

"You're a full man. Eglantine," said the 
tailor, delighted, too, with his own work; 
"but that can't be helped. You look more 
like Hercules than Falstaff now, sir; and 
if a coat can make a gentleman, a gentle- 
man you are. Let me recommend you to 



sink the blue cravat, and take the stripes 
off your trousers. Dress quiet, sir; draw it 
mild. Plain waistcoat, dark trousers, black 
neckcloth, black hat, and if there's a better- 
dressed man in Europe to-morrow, I'm a 
Dutchman." 

"Thank you, Woolsey — thank you, my 
dear sir," said the charmed perfumer. "And 
now I'll just trouble you to try on this here." 

The wig had been made with equal skill; 
it was not in the florid style which Mr. 
Eglantine loved in his own person, but, 
as the perfumer said, a simple straight- 
forward head of hair. 

"It seems as if it had grown there all 
your life, Mr. Woolsey; nobody would tell 
that it was not your nat'ral colour" (Mr. 
Woolsey blushed) — "it makes you look ten 
year younger; and as for that scarecrow 
yonder, you'll never, I think, want to wear 
that again." 

Woolsey looked in the glass, and was 
delighted too. The two rivals shook hands 
and straightway became friends, and in the 
overflowing of his heart the perfumer men- 
tioned to the tailor the party which he had 
arranged for the next day, and offered him 
a seat in the carriage and at the dinner at 
the "Star and Garter." "Would you like to 
ride.f^" said Eglantine, with rather a con- 
sequential air. "Snaffle will mount you, and 
we can go one on each side of the ladies, 
if you like." 

But Woolsey humbly said he was not a 
riding man, and gladly consented to take a 
place in the clarence carriage, provided he 
was allowed to bear half the expenses of 
the entertainment. This proposal was 
agreed to by Mr. Eglantine, and the two 
gentlemen parted, to meet once more at 
the "Kidneys" that night, when everybody 
was edified by the friendly tone adopted 
between them. Mr. Snaffle, at the club meet- 



The Ravenswing 



ing, maSe the very same proposal to Mr. 
Woolsey that the perfumer had made; and 
stated that as Eglantine was going to ride 
Hemperor, Woolsey, at least, ought to 
mount too. But he was met by the same 
modest refusal on the tailor's part, who 
stated .that he had never mounted a horse 
yet, and preferred greatly the use of a 
coach. 

Eglantine's character as a "swell" rose 
greatly with the club that evening. 

Two o'clock on Sunday came: the two 
beaux arrived punctually at the door to 
receive the two smiling ladies. 

"Bless us, Mr. Eglantine!" said Miss 
Crump, quite struck by him, "I never saw 
you look so handsome in your life." He 
could have flung his arms around her neck 
at the compliment. "And law, ma ! what has 
happened to Mr. Woolsey } doesn't he look 
ten years younger than yesterday ?" Mamma 
assented, and Woolsey bowed gallantly, 
and the two gentlemen exchanged a nod 
of hearty friendship. 

The day was delightful. Eglantine 
pranced along magnificently on his can- 
tering arm-chair, with his hat on one ear, 
his left hand on his side, and his head flung 
over his shoulder, and throwing under- 
glances at Morgiana whenever the "Em- 
peror" was in advance of the clarence. The 
"Emperor" pricked up his ears a little un- 
easily passing the Ebenezer chapel in 
Richmond, where the congregation were 
singing a hymn, but beyond this no ac- 
cident, occurred; nor was Mr. Eglantine in 
the least stiff or fatigued by the time the 
party reached Richmond, where he arrived 
time enough to give his steed into the 
charge of an ostler, and to present his elbow 
to the ladies as they alighted from the 
clarence carriage. 

What this jovial party ate for dinner at 



299 

the "Star and Garter" need not here be 
set down. If they did not drink champagne 
I am very much mistaken. They were as 
merry as any four people in Christendom; 
and between the bev/ildering attentions of 
the perfumer, and the manly courtesy of 
the tailor, Morgiana very likely forgot the 
gallant Captain, or, at least, was very happy 
in his absence. 

At eight o'clock they began to drive 
homewards. ''Won't you come into the 
carriage .f^" said Morgiana to Eglantine, with 
one of her tenderest looks; "Dick can ride 
the horse." But Archibald was too great a 
lover of equestrian exercise. "I'm afraid to 
trust anybody on this horse," said he with 
a knowing look; and so he pranced away 
by the side of the little carriage. The moon 
was brilliant, and, with the aid of the gas- 
lamps, illuminated the whole face of the 
country in a way inexpressibly lovely. 

Presently, in the distance, the sweet and 
plaintive notes of a bugle were heard, and 
the performer, with great delicacy, executed 
a religious air. "Music, too! heavenly!" said 
Morgiana, throwing up her eyes to the stars. 
The music came nearer and nearer, and the 
delight of the company was only more in- 
tense. The fly was going at about four miles 
an hour, and the "Emperor" began canter- 
ing to time at the same rapid pace. 

"This must be some gallantry of yours, 
Mr. Woolsey," said the romantic Morgiana, 
turning upon that gentleman. "Mr. Eglan- 
tine treated us to the dinner, and you have 
provided us with the music." 

Now Woolsey had been a little, a very 
little, dissatisfied during the course of the 
evening's entertainment, by fancying that 
Eglantine, a much more voluble person 
than himself, had obtained rather an undue 
share of the ladies' favour; and as he him- 
self paid half of the expenses, he felt very 



300 

much vexed to thmk that the perfumer 
should take all the credit of the business to 
himself. So when Miss Crump asked if he 
had provided the music, he foolishly made 
an evasive reply to her query, and rather 
wished her to imagine that he had per- 
formed that piece of gallantry. "If it pleases 
you, Miss Morgiana," said this artful 
Schneider, "what more need any man ask ? 
wouldn't I have all Drury Lane orchestra 
to please your" 

The bugle had by this time arrived quite 
close to the clarence carriage, and if Morgi- 
ana had looked round she might have seen 
whence the music came. Behind her came 
slowly a drag, or private stage-coach, with 
four horses. Two grooms with cockades and 
folded arms were behind; and driving on 
the box, a little gentleman, with a blue 
bird's-eye neckcloth, and a white coat. A 
bugleman was by his side, who performed 
the melodies which so delighted Miss 
Crump. He played very gently and sweetly, 
and "God save the King" trembled so softly 
out of the brazen orifice of his bugle, that 
the Crumps, the tailor, and Eglantine him- 
self, who was riding close by the carriage^ 
were quite charmed and subdued. 

"Thank you, dear Mr. Woolsey," said 
the grateful Morgiana; which made Eglan- 
tine stare, and Woolsey was just saying, 
"Really, upon my word, Fve nothing to do 
with it," when the man on the drag-box 
said to the bugleman, "Now!" 

The bugleman began the tune of — 

'Heaven preserve our Emperor Fra-an-cis. 
Rum tum-ti-tum-ti-titty-ti.' 

At the sound, the Emperor reared himself 
(with a roar from Mr. Eglantine) — reared 
and beat the air with his fore-paws. Eglan- 
tine flung his arms round the beast's neck; 
still he kept beating time with his fore- 



William Makepeace Thackeray 



paws. Mrs. Crump screamed: Mr. Woolsey, 
Dick, the clarence coachman. Lord Vaux- 
hall (for it was he), and his Lordship's 
two grooms, burst into a shout of laughter; 
Morgiana cries "Mercy! mercy!" Eglantine 
yells "Stop!"— "Wo!"— "Oh!" and a thou- 
sand ejaculations of hideous terror; until, 
at last, down drops the "Emperor" stone 
dead in the middle of the road, as if carried 
off by a cannon-ball. 

Fancy the situation, ye callous souls who 
laugh at the misery of humanity, fancy 
the situation of poor Eglantine under the 
"Emperor!" He had fallen very easy, the 
animal lay perfectly quiet, and the perfumer 
was to all intents and purposes as dead as 
the animal. He had not fainted, but he 
was immovable with terror; he lay in a 
puddle, and thought it was his own blood 
gushing from him; and he would have lain 
there until Monday morning, if my Lord's 
grooms, descending, had not dragged him 
by the coat-collar from under the beast, who 
still lay quiet. 

"Play ^Charming Judy Callaghan,' will 
ye.f^" says Mr. Snaffle's man, the fly-driver; 
on which the bugler performed that lively 
air, and up started the horse, and the 
grooms, who were rubbing Mr. Eglantine 
down against a lamp-post, invited him to 
remount. 

But his heart was too broken for that. 
The ladies gladly made room for him in 
the clarence. Dick mounted "Emperor" and 
rode homewards. The drag, too, drove 
away, playing "Oh dear, what can the 
matter be?" and with a scowl of furious 
hate, Mr. Eglantine sat and regarded his 
rival. His pantaloons were split, and his 
coat torn up the back. 

"Are you hurt much, dear Mr. Archi- 
bald.'^" said Morgiana, with unaffected 
compassion, 



The Ravenswing 



"N-not much," said the poor fellow, 
ready to burst into tears. 

"Oh, Mr. Woolscy," added the good- 
natured girl, "how could you play such a 
trick?" 

"Upon my word," Woolsey began, in- 
tending to plead innocence; but the ludi- 
crousness of the situation was once more 
too much for him, and he burst out into a 
roar of laughter. 



301 

"You! you cowardly beast!" howled out 
Eglantine, now driven to fury — ''you laugh 
at me, you miserable cretur! Take that, sir!" 
and he fell upon him with all his might, 
and well-nigh throttled the tailor, and pum- 
melling his eyes, his nose, his ears, with in- 
conceivable rapidity, wrenched, finally, his 
wig off his head, and flung it into the road. 

Morgiana saw that Woolsey had red 
hair. . . . 



FELIX SALTEN (1869- ) 

Concerning the Lnperial Spanish 
Riding School in Vienna 



fr&m FLORIAN 



The Imperial Spanish Riding School in Vienna existed for over two 
hundred years for the sole purpose of breeding and training their 
beautiful Leppizan horses and i72 developing that type of riding \nown 
as ''Haute Ecole!' Whether one believes that Haute Ecole is the acme of 
fine horsemanship, or whether one is of the school of thought that it 
is so artificial as to be completely useless, does not change the fact that 
the interpretation of the will of the rider by the horse {and his desire to 
comply instantly with that will) approaches the uncanny. The "High 
School" rider and his mount were as near one as it is possible for man 
and beast to be. They did not perform for glory or gain as does the 
Arabian on his war mare, the polo player, or the jockey; horse and man 
devoted their entire lives to perfecting what they considered a fine art for 
the sheer love of that art. 

The Spanish School disappeared with the death of Franz Joseph at 
the beginning of World War I. It was revived for a short time, but I fear 
it has now succumbed again. A few of the horses, or their descendants, 
are still to be seen doing the simplest of the Haute Ecole movements in 
circuses and vaudeville acts, but when the trainers who learned from the 
great Ritmeisters are gone it is questionable whether there will be any 
to take their places. 



"To the degree that an Asil — highborn 
horse — possesses thy heart will she respond 
to thee. She will humble thy enemies and 
honor thy friends. Willingly she will carry 
thee upon her hac\, but she will consent to 
no humiliation. She is at once aware whether 
she carrieth a friend or an enemy of God. 



The mare that lives by Divine orders as a 

mute and obedient companion of man, has 

an insight into the mind of her master whom 

she may even prefer to her own kind!' — 

Mnahi. 

Drinkers of the Wind by Carl 

Raswan. 



302 



A 



brief "Good morning** from the 
Emperor was accompanied by 
a circular movement of his hand. 
The moment he sat down, a door in the 
opposite wall was thrown wide, and four 
horsemen rode into the arena. In a straight 
line they swept toward the Court Box and 
stopped at an appropriate distance. Simul- 
taneously they doffed their two-cornered 
hats and swung them until their arms were 
horizonal. Then they wheeled and to the 
strains of the Gypsy Baron began their 
quadrille. 

The circle and capers cut by the four 
horses were precisely alike, and gave the 
effect of music in the flowing rhythm of 
their execution. The regularity of the horses' 
strides, and the horsemanship of the four 
riders aroused the spectators to a gay pitch, 
no one could have said why; it was sheer 
rapture evoked by the beautiful, blooded 
animals and their artistry. 

§ § § 

The quadrille was over, the horsemen 
had made their exit. The wooden door 
remained wide open. 

Next seven mounted stallions entered and 
filed in front of the Court Box. Seven 
bicornes were removed from seven heads, 
swung to a horizonal position, and replaced. 

Florian stood in the center. To his right 
stood three older stallions, thoroughly 
trained, and to his left three equally tested 
ones. He resembled a fiery youth among 
men. In a row of white steeds he stood 
out as the only pure white one. His snowy 
skin, unmarred by a single speck, called 
up memories of cloudless sunny days, of 



Nature's gracious gifts. His liquid dark 
eyes, from whose depths his very soul shone 
forth, sparkled with inner fire and energy 
and health. Ennsbauer sat in the saddle like 
a carved image. With his brown frock-coat, 
his chiseled, reddish brown features and his 
fixed mien, he seemed to have been poured 
in metal. 

The Emperor had just remarked, "Enns- 
bauer uses no stirrups or spurs," when the 
sextet began to play. 

The horses walked alongside the grayish- 
white wainscoting. Their tails were braided 
with gold, with gold also their waving 
manes. Pair by pair they were led through 
the steps of the High School; approached 
from the far side toward the middle, and 
went into their syncopated, cadenced stride. 

The Emperor had no eyes for any but 
Florian. Him he watched, deeply engrossed. 
His connoisseur's eye tested the animal, 
tested the rider, and could find no flaw that 
might belie the unstinted praise he had 
heard showered on them. His right hand 
played with his mustache, slowly, not with 
the impatient flick that spelled disappoint- 
ment over something. 

Ennsbauer felt the Emperor's glance like a 
physical touch. He stiffened. He could 
hope for no advancement. Nor did he need 
fear a fall. Now — in the saddle, under him 
this unexcelled stallion whose breathing he 
could feel between his legs and whose 
readiness and willingness to obey he could 
sense like some organic outpouring — now 
doubt and pessimism vanished. The calm, 
collected, resolute animal gave him calm- 
ness, collectedness, and resolution. 

At last he rode for the applause of the 



303 



304 Felix 

Emperor, of Franz Joseph himself, and by 
Imperial accolade for enduring fame. Now 
it was his turn 

Away from the wall he guided Florian, 
into the center of the ring. An invisible 
sign, and Florian, as if waiting for it, fell 
into the Spanish step. 

Gracefully and solemnly, he lifted his 
legs as though one with the rhythm of the 
music. He gave the impression of carrying 
his rider collectedly and slowly by his own 
free will and for his own enjoyment. 
Jealous of space, he placed one hoof directly 
in front of the other. 

The old Archduke Rainer could not con- 
tain himself: "Never have I seen a horse 
pia-ffe like that!" 

Ennsbauer wanted to lead Florian out of 
the Spanish walk, to grant him a moment's 
respite before the next tour. But Florian 
insisted on prolonging it and Ennsbauer 
submitted. 

Florian strode as those horses strode who, 
centuries ago, triumphantly and conscious 
of their triumphant occasion, bore Caesars 
and conquerors into vanquished cities or in 
homecoming processions. The rigid curved 
neck, such as the ancient sculptors modeled; 
the heavy short body that seemed to rock 
on the springs of his legs, the interplay of 
muscle and joint, together constituted a 
stately performance, one that amazed the 
more as it gradually compelled the recogni- 
tion of its rising out of the will to perfect 
performance. Every single movement of 
Florian's revealed nobility, grace, signifi- 
cance and distinction all in one; and in 
each of his poses he was the ideal model for 
a sculptor, the composite of all the eques- 
trian statues of history. 

The music continued and Florian, chin 
pressed against chest, deliberately bowed 
his head to the left, to the right. 



Sahen 

"Do you remember," Elizabeth whis- 
pered to her husband, "what our boy once 
said about Florian.? He sings — only one 
does not hear it." 

Ennsbauer also was thinking of the words 
of little Leopold von Neustift as he led 
Florian from the Spanish step directly into 
the volte. The delight with which Florian 
took the change, the effortless ease with 
which he glided into the short, sharply 
cadenced gallop, encouraged Ennsbauer to 
try the most precise and exacting form of 
the volte, the redoppe, and to follow that 
with the pirouette. 

As though he intended to stamp a circle 
into the tanbark of the floor, Florian pivoted 
with his hindlegs fixed to the same place, 
giving the breath-taking impression of a 
horse in full gallop that could not bolt 
loose from the spot, nailed to the ground 
by a sorcerer or by inner compulsion. 

And when, right afterward, with but 
a short gallop around, Florian rose into the 
pesade, his two forelegs high in the air 
and hindlegs bent low, and accomplished 
this difficult feat of balance twice, three 
times, as if it were child's play, he needed 
no more spurring on. Ennsbauer simply let 
him be, as he began to courbette, stifHy 
erect. His forelegs did not beat the air, now, 
but hung limply side by side, folded at the 
knee. Thus he carried his rider, hopped 
forward five times without stretching his 
hindlegs. In the eyes of the spectators 
Florian's execution of the courbette did not 
impress by its bravura, or by the conquest of 
body heaviness by careful dressure and re- 
hearsal, but rather as an exuberant means 
of getting rid of a superabundance of con- 
trolled gigantic energy. 

Another short canter around the ring was 
shortened by Florian's own impatience 
when he voluntarily fell into the Spanish 



step. He enjoyed the music, rocked with its 
rhythm. These men and women and their 
rank were as nothing to him. Still, the 
presence of onlookers fired him from the 
very outset. He wanted to please, he had a 
sharp longing for applause, for admiration ; 
his ambition, goaded on by the music, threw 
him into a state of intoxication; youth and 
fettle raced through his veins like a stream 
overflowing on a steep grade. Nothing was 
difficult any longer. With his rider and with 
all these human beings around him, he cele- 
brated a feast. He did not feel the ground 
under his feet, the light burden on his back. 
Gliding, dancing with the melody, he could 
have flown had the gay strains asked for it. 

On Florian's back as he hopped on his 
hindlegs once, twice, Ennsbauer sat stunned, 
amazed. 

Following two successive croupades, a 



Florian 305 

tremendous feat, Florian went into the 
Spanish step still again. Tense and at the 
same time visibly exuberant, proud and 
amused, his joyously shining eyes made 
light of his exertions. From the ballotade 
he thrust himself into the capriole, rose 
high in the air from the standing position, 
forelegs and hindlegs horizontal. He soared 
above ground, his head high in jubilation. 
Conquering ! 

Frenetic applause burst out all over the 
hall, like many fans opening and shutting, 
like the rustle of stiff paper being torn. 

Surrounded by the six other stallions 
Florian stepped before the Court Box, and 
while the riders swung their hats in unison, 
he bowed his proud head just once, con- 
scious, it seemed, of the fact that the ovation 
was for him and giving gracious thanks in 
return, 



STEPHEN CRANE (1871-190C) 



Horses— One Dash 



from THE OPEN BOAT 



Stephen Crane may not have been a very prolific writer, hut one remem- 
bers everything that he has written, I was glad to find a story about 
Mexico by so fine an author, and one which dealt not with outlaw 
horses, but with a swift ride to escape danger. 



'""Richardson pulled up his horse and 

~^^ looked back over the trail, where 
JJL ^^ the crimson serape of his servant 
flamed amid the dusk of the mesquit. The 
hills in the v^est were carved into peaks, and 
were painted the most profound blue. Above 
them, the sky was of that marvellous tone 
of green — like still sun-shot water — ^which 
people denounce in pictures. 

Jose was muflSed deep in his blankets, and 
his great toppling sombrero was drawn low 
over his brow. Hs shadowed his master 
along the dimming trail in the fashion of an 
assassin. A cold wind of the impending 
night swept over the wilderness of mesquit. 

*'Man," said Richardson, in lame Mexi- 
can, as the servant drew near, "I want eat! 
I want sleep! Understand no? Quickly! Un- 
derstand ?" 

"Si, sefior," said Jose, nodding. He 
stretched one arm out of his blanket, and 



pointed a yellow finger into the gloom. 
"Over there, small village! Si, senor." 

They rode forward again. Once the Amer- 
ican's horse shied and breathed quiveringly 
at something which he saw or imagined in 
the darkness, and the rider drew a steady, 
patient rein and leaned over to speak ten- 
derly, as if he were addressing a frightened 
woman. The sky had faded to white over 
the mountains, and the plain was a vast, 
pointless ocean of black. 

Suddenly some low houses appeared 
squatting amid the bushes. The horsemen 
rode into a hollow until the houses rose 
against the sombre sundown sky, and then 
up a small hillock, causing these habita- 
tions to sink like boats in the sea of shadow. 

A beam of red firelight fell across the 
trail. Richardson sat sleepily on his horse 
while the servant quarrelled with some- 
body — a mere voice in the gloom — over 
the price of bed and board. The houses about 



306 



The Open Boat 



him were for the most part Uke tombs in 
their whiteness and silence, but there were 
scudding black figures that seemed inter- 
ested in his arrival. 

Jose came at last to the horses' heads, 
and the American slid stiffly from his seat. 
He muttered a greeting as with his spurred 
feet he clicked into the adobe house that 
confronted him. The brown, stolid face of 
a woman shone in the light of the fire. He 
seated himself on the earthen floor, and 
blinked drowsily at the blaze. He was aware 
that the woman was clinking earthenware, 
and hieing here and everywhere in the 
manoeuvres of the housewife. From a dark 
corner of the room there came the sound 
of two or three snores twining together. 

The woman handed him a bowl of tor- 
tillas. She was a submissive creature, timid 
and large-eyed. She gazed at his enormous 
silver spurs, his large and impressive re- 
volver, with the interest and admiration of 
the highly privileged cat of the adage. When 
he ate, she seemed transfixed off there in 
the gloom, her white teeth shining. 

Jose entered, staggering under two Mexi- 
can saddles large enough for building-sites. 
Richardson decided to smoke a cigarette, 
and then changed his mind. It would be 
much finer to go to sleep. His blanket hung 
over his left shoulder, furled into a long 
pipe of cloth, according to a Mexican fash- 
ion. By doffing his sombrero, unfastening 
his spurs and his revolver-belt, he made 
himself ready for the slow, blissful twist 
into the blanket. Like a cautious man, he lay 
close to the wall, and all his property was 
very near his hand. 

The mesquit brush burned long. Jose 
threw two gigantic wings of shadow as he 
flapped his blanket about him — first across 
his chest under his arms, and then around 
his neck and across his chest again, this 



time over his arms, with the end tossed on 
his right shoulder. A Mexican thus snugly 
enveloped can nevertheless free his fighting 
arm in a beautifully brisk way, merely 
shrugging his shoulder as he grabs for the 
weapon at his belt. They always wear their 
serapes in this manner. 

The firelight smothered the rays which, 
streaming from a moon as large as a drum- 
head, were struggling at the open door. 
Richardson heard from the plain the fine, 
rhythmical trample of the hoofs of hurried 
horses. He went to sleep wondering who 
rode so fast and so late. And in the deep 
silence the pale rays of the moon must have 
prevailed against the red spears of the fire 
until the room was slowly flooded to its 
middle with a rectangle of silver light. 

Richardson was awakened by the sound 
of a guitar. It was badly played — in this 
land of Mexico, from which the romance 
of the instrument ascends to us like a per- 
fume. The guitar was groaning and whin- 
ing like a badgered soul. A noise of scuffling 
feet accompanied the music. Sometimes 
laughter arose, and often the voices of men 
saying bitter things to each other; but al- 
ways the guitar cried on, the treble sound- 
ing as if someone were beating iron, and 
the bass humming like bees. 

"Damn it! they're having a dance," mut- 
tered Richardson, fretfully. He heard two 
men quarrelling in short, sharp words like 
pistol-shots; they were calling each other 
worse names than common people know in 
other countries. 

He wondered why the noise was so loud. 
Raising his head from his saddle-pillow, 
he saw, with the help of the valiant moon- 
beams, a blanket hanging flat against the 
v/all at the farther end of the room. Being 
of the opinion diat it concealed a door, and 
remembering that Mexican drink made men 



3o8 Stephen 

very drunk, he pulled his revolver closer to 
him and prepared for sudden disaster. 

Richardson was dreaming of his far and 
beloved North. 

"Well, I would kill him, then!" 

"No, you must not!" 

"Yes, I will kill him! Listen! I will ask 
this American beast for his beautiful pistol 
and spin's and money and saddle, and if he 
will not give them — you will see!" 

"But these Americans — they are a strange 
people. Look out, senor." 

Then twenty voices took part in the dis- 
cussion. They rose in quivering shrillness, 
as from men badly drunk. 

Richardson felt the skin draw tight 
around his mouth, and his knee-joints 
turned to bread. He slowly came to a sitting 
posture, glaring at the motionless blanket 
at the far end of the room. This stiff and 
mechanical movement, accomplished en- 
tirely by the muscles of the wrist, must have 
looked like the rising of a corpse in the wan 
moonlight, which gave everything a hue of 
the grave. 

My friend, take my advice, and never be 
executed by a hangman who doesn't talk 
the English language. It, or anything that 
resembles it, is the most difficult of deaths. 
The tumultuous emotions of Richardson's 
terror destroyed that slow and careful proc- 
ess of thought by means of which he under- 
stood Mexican. Then he used his instinctive 
comprehension of the first and universal 
language, which is tone. Still, it is disheart- 
ening not to be able to understand the de- 
tails of threats against the blood of your 
body. 

Suddenly the clamor of voices ceased. 
There was a silence — a silence of decision. 
The blanket was flung aside, and the red 
light of a torch flared into the room. It was 
held high by a fat, round-faced Mexican, 



Crane 

whose little snake-like moustache was as 
black as his eyes, and whose eyes were black 
as jet. He was insane with the wild rage of a 
man whose liquor is dully burning at his 
brain. Five or six of his fellows crowded 
after him. The guitar, which had been 
thrummed doggedly during the time of the 
high words, now suddenly stopped. 

They contemplated each other. Richard- 
son sat very straight and still, his right 
hand lost in the folds of his blanket. The 
Mexicans jostled in the light of the torch, 
their eyes blinking and glittering. 

The fat one posed in the manner of a 
grandee. Presently his hand dropped to his 
belt, and from his lips there spun an epithet 
— a hideous word which often foreshadows 
knife-blows, a word peculiarly of Mexico, 
where people have to dig deep to find an 
insult that has not lost its savor. 

The American did not move. He was star- 
ing at the fat Mexican with a strange fixed- 
ness of gaze, not fearful, not dauntless, not 
anything that could be interpreted; he sim- 
ply stared. 

The fat Mexican must have been discon- 
certed, for he continued to pose as a grandee 
with more and more sublimity, until it 
would have been easy for him to fall over 
backward. His companions were swaying in 
a very drunken manner. They still blinked 
their beady eyes at Richardson. Ah, well, 
sirs, here was a mystery. At the approach 
of their menacing company, why did not 
this American cry out and turn pale, or run, 
or pray them mercy } The animal merely sat 
still, and stared, and waited for them to 
begin. Well, evidently he was a great 
fighter; or perhaps he was an idiot. Indeed, 
this was an embarrassing situation, for who 
was going forward to discover whether he 
was a great fighter or an idiot .f^ 

To Richardson, whose nerves were tin- 



The Open Boat 



309 



gling and twitching like live wires, and 
whose heart jolted inside him, this pause 
was a long horror; and for these men who 
could so frighten him there began to swell 
in him a fierce hatred — a hatred that made 
him long to be capable of fighting all of 
them, a hatred that made him capable of 
fighting all of them. A .44-caliber revolver 
can make a hole large enough for little 
boys to shoot marbles through, and there 
was a certain fat Mexican, with a mous- 
tache like a snake, who came extremely 
near to have eaten his last tamale merely 
because he frightened a man too much. 

Jose had slept the first part of the night 
in his fashion, his body hunched into a 
heap, his legs crooked, his head touching 
his knees. Shadows had obscured him from 
the sight of the invaders. At this point he 
arose, and began to prowl quakingly over 
toward Richardson, as if he meant to hide 
behind him. 

Of a sudden the fat Mexican gave a howl 
of glee. Jose had come within the torch's 
circle of light. With roars of singular fe- 
rocity the whole group of Mexicans pounced 
on the American's servant. 

He shrank shuddering away from them, 
beseeching by every device of word and 
gesture. They pushed him this way and 
that. They beat him with their fists. They 
stung him with their curses. As he grovelled 
on his knees, the fat Mexican took him by 
the throat and said: "I'm going to kill you!" 
And continually they turned their eyes to 
see if they were to succeed in causing the 
initial demonstration by the American. 

Richardson looked on impassively. Under 
the blanket, however, his fingers were 
clenched as rigidly as iron upon the handle 
of his revolver. 

Here suddenly two brilliant clashing 
chords from the guitar were heard, and a 



woman's voice, full of laughter and confi- 
dence, cried from without: "Hello! hello! 
Where are you.'^'* 

The lurching company of Mexicans in- 
stantly paused and Irxjked at the ground. 
One said, as he stood with his legs wide 
apart in order to balance himself: "It is the 
girls! They have come!" He screamed in 
answer to the question of the woman: 
"Here!" And without waiting he started 
on a pilgrimage toward the blanket-covered 
door. One could now hear a number of 
female voices giggling and chattering. 

Two other Mexicans said: "Yes, it is the 
girls! Yes!" They also started quietly away. 
Even the fat Mexican's ferocity seemed to 
be affected. He looked uncertainly at the 
still immovable American. Two of his 
friends grasped him gaily. "Come, the girls 
are here! Come!" He cast another glower at 
Richardson. "But this — " he began. Laugh- 
ing, his comrades hustled him toward the 
door. On its threshold, and holding back 
the blanket with one hand, he turned his 
yellow face with a last challenging glare 
toward the American. Jose, bewailing his 
state in little sobs of utter despair and woe, 
crept to Richardson and huddled near his 
knee. Then the cries of the Mexicans meet- 
ing the girls were heard, and the guitar 
burst out in joyous humming. 

The moon clouded, and but a faint square 
of light fell through the open main door 
of the house. The coals of the fire were 
silent save for occasional sputters. Richard- 
son did not change his position. He re- 
mained staring at the blanket which hid 
the strategic door in the far end. At his 
knees Jose was arguing, in a low, aggrieved 
tone, with the saints. Without, tlie Mexicans 
laughed and danced, and — it would appear 
from the sound — drank more. 

In the stillness and night Richardson sat 



310 Stephen 

wondering if some serpent-like Mexican 
was sliding toward him in the darkness, 
and if the first thing he knew of it would 
be the deadly sting of the knife. "Sssh," he 
whispered to Jose. He drew his revolver 
from under the blanket and held it on his 
leg. 

The blanket over the door fascinated him. 
It was a vague form, black and unmoving. 
Through the opening it shielded was to 
come, probably, menace, death. Sometimes 
he thought he saw it move. 

As grim white sheets, the black and silver 
of coffins, all the panoply of death, afTect us 
because of that which they hide, so this 
blanket, dangling before a hole in an adobe 
wall, was to Richardson a horrible emblem, 
and a horrible thing in itself. In his present 
mood Richardson could not have been 
brought to touch it with his finger. 

The celebrating Mexicans occasionally 
howled in song. The guitarist played with 
speed and enthusiasm. 

Richardson longed to run. But in this 
threatening gloom, his terror convinced him 
that a move on his part would be a signal 
for the pounce of death. Jose, crouching 
abjectly, occasionally mumbled. Slowly and 
ponderous as stars the minutes went. 

Suddenly Richardson thrilled and started. 
His breath, for a moment, left him. In sleep 
his nerveless fingers had allowed his re- 
volver to fall and clang upon the hard floor. 
He grabbed it up hastily, and his glance 
swept apprehensively over the room. 

A chill blue light of dawn was in the 
place. Every outline was slowly growing; 
detail was following detail. The dread 
blanket did not move. The riotous com- 
pany had gone or become silent. 

Richardson felt in his blood the effect of 
this cold dawn. The candor of breaking day 



Crane 

brought his nerve. He touched Jose. 
"Come," he said. His servant lifted his 
lined, yellow face and comprehended. Rich- 
ardson buckled on his spurs and strode up; 
Jose obediently lifted the two great saddles. 
Richardson held two bridles and a blanket 
on his left arm; in his right hand he held 
his revolver. They sneaked toward the door. 

The man who said that spurs jingled was 
insane. Spurs have a mellow clash — clash — 
clash. Walking in spurs — notably Mexican 
spurs — you remind yourself vaguely of a 
telegraphic lineman. Richardson was inex- 
pressibly shocked when he came to walk. 
He sounded to himself like a pair of cym- 
bals. He would have known of this if he 
had reflected; but then he was escaping, not 
reflecting. He made a gesture of despair, and 
from under the two saddles Jose tried to 
make one of hopeless horror. Richardson 
stooped, and with shaking fingers unfas- 
tened the spurs. Taking them in his left 
hand, he picked up his revolver, and they 
slunk on toward the door. 

On the threshold Richardson looked 
back. In a corner he saw, watching him 
with large eyes, the Indian man and woman 
who had been his hosts. Throughout the 
night they had made no sign, and now they 
neither spoke nor moved. Yet Richardson 
thought he detected meek satisfaction at his 
departure. 

The street was still and deserted. In the 
eastern sky there was a lemon-colored patch. 

Jose had picketed the horses at the side 
of the house. As the two men came around 
the corner, Richardson's animal set up a 
whinny of welcome. The little horse had 
evidently heard them coming. He stood 
facing them, his ears cocked forward, his 
eyes bright with welcome. 

Richardson made a frantic gesture, but 
the horse, in his happiness at the appear- 



The Open Boat 



3" 



ance of his friends, whinnied with enthusi- 
asm. 

The American felt at this time that he 
could have strangled his well-beloved steed. 
Upon the threshold of safety he was being 
betrayed by his horse, his friend. He felt the 
same hate for the horse that he would have 
felt for a dragon. And yet, as he glanced 
wildly about him, he could see nothing 
stirring in the street, nor at the doors of 
the tomb-like houses. 

Jose had his own saddle girth and both 
bridles buckled in a moment. He curled 
the picket-ropes with a few sweeps of his 
arm. The fingers of Richardson, however, 
were shaking so that he could hardly buckle 
the girth. His hands were in invisible mit- 
tens. He was wondering, calculating, hoping 
about his horse. He knew the little animal's 
willingness and courage under all circum- 
stances up to this time, but then — here it 
was different. Who could tell if some 
wretched instance of equine perversity was 
not about to develop? Maybe the little fel- 
low would not feel like smoking over the 
plain at express speed this morning, and so 
he would rebel and kick and be wicked. 
Maybe he would be without feeling of 
interest, and run listlessly. All men who 
have had to hurry in the saddle know what 
it is to be on a horse who does not under- 
stand the dramatic situation. Riding a lame 
sheep is bliss to it. Richardson, fumbling 
furiously at the girth, thought of these 
things. 

Presently he had it fastened. He swung 
into the saddle, and as he did so his horse 
made a mad jump forward. The spurs of 
Jose scratched and tore the flanks of his 
great black animal, and side by side the two 
horses raced down the village street. The 
American heard his horse breathe a quiver- 
ing sigh of excitement. 



Those four feet skimmed. Tliey were as 
light as fairy puff-balls. Tiic houses of the 
village glided past in a moment, and the 
great, clear, silent plain appeared like a pale 
blue sea of mist and wet bushes. Above the 
mountains the colors of the sunlight were 
like the first tones, the opening chords, of 
the mighty hymn of the morning. 

The American looked down at his horse. 
He felt in his heart the first thrill of con- 
fidence. The little animal, unurged and 
quite tranquil, moving his ears this way and 
that way with an air of interest in the scen- 
ery, was nevertheless bounding into the eye 
of the breaking day with the speed of a 
frightened antelope. Richardson, looking 
down, saw the long, fine reach of forelimb 
as steady as steel machinery. As the ground 
reeled past, the long dried grasses hissed, 
and cactus-plants were dull blurs. A wind 
whirled the horse's mane over his rider's 
bridle hand. 

Jose's profile was lined against the pale 
sky. It was as that of a man who swims 
alone in an ocean. His eyes glinted like 
metal fastened on some unknown point 
ahead of him, some mystic place of safety. 
Occasionally his mouth puckered in a little 
unheard cry; and his legs, bent back, worked 
spasmodically as his spurred heels sliced 
the flanks of his charger. 

Richardson consulted the gloom in the 
west for signs of a hard-riding, yelling caval- 
cade. He knew that, whereas his friends the 
enemy had not attacked him when he had 
sat still and with apparent calmness con- 
fronted them, they would certainly take 
furiously after him now that he had run 
from them — now that he had confessed to 
them that he was the weaker. Their valor 
would grow like weeds in the spring, and 
upon discovering his escape they would ride 
forth dauntless warriors. 



312 



Stephen 

Sometimes he was sure he saw them. 
Sometimes he was sure he heard them. Con- 
tinually looking backward over his shoul- 
der, he studied the purple expanses where 
the night was marching away. Jose rolled 
and shuddered in his saddle, persistently 
disturbing the stride of the black horse, 
fretting and worrying him until the white 
foam flew and the great shoulders shone 
like satin from the sweat. 

At last Richardson drew his horse care- 
fully down to a walk. Jose wished to rush 
insanely on, but the American spoke to him 
sternly. As the tv70 paced forward side by 
side, Richardson's little horse thrust over his 
soft nose and inquired into the black's con- 
dition. 

Riding with Jose was like riding with a 
corpse. His face resembled a cast in lead. 
Sometimes he swung forward and almost 
pitched from his seat. Richardson was too 
frightened himself to do anything but hate 
this man for his fear. Finally he issued a 
mandate which nearly caused Jose's eyes to 
slide out of his head and fall to the ground 
like two silver coins. 

"Ride behind me — about fifty paces." 

"Senor — " stuttered the servant. 

"Go!" cried the American, furiously. He 
glared at the other and laid his hand on his 
revolver. Jose looked at his master wildly. 
He made a piteous gesture. Then slowly 
he fell back, watching the hard face of the 
American for a sign of mercy. 

Richardson had resolved in his rage that 
at any rate he was going to use the eyes and 
ears of extreme fear to detect the approach 
of danger; and so he established his servant 
as a sort of outpost. 

As they proceeded he was obliged to 
watch sharply to see that the servant did not 
slink forward and join him. When Jose 
made beseeching circles in the air with his 



Crane 

arm he replied by menacingly gripping his 
revolver. 

Jose had a revolver, too; nevertheless it 
was very clear in his mind that the revolver 
was distinctly an American weapon. He 
had been educated in the Rio Grande coun- 
try. 

Richardson lost the trail once. He was 
recalled to it by the loud sobs of his serv- 
ant. 

Then at last Jose came clattering forward, 
gesticulating and wailing. The little horse 
sprang to the shoulder of the black. They 
were off. 

Richardson, again looking backward, 
could see a slanting flare of dust on the 
whitening plain. He thought that he could 
detect small moving figures in it. 

Jose's moans and cries amounted to a uni- 
versity course in theology. They broke con- 
tinually from his quivering lips. His spurs 
were as motors. They forced the black horse 
over the plain in great headlong leaps. 

But under Richardson there was a Httle 
insignificant rat-colored beast who was run- 
ning apparently with almost as much effort 
as it requires for a bronze statue to stand 
still. As a matter of truth, the ground 
seemed merely something to be touched 
from time to time with hoofs that were as 
light as blown leaves. Occasionally Richard- 
son lay back and pulled stoutly at his bridle 
to keep from abandoning his servant. 

Jose harried at his horse's mouth, flopped 
around in the saddle, and made his two 
heels beat like flails. The black ran like a 
horse in despair. 

Crimson scrapes in the distance resemble 
drops of blood on the great cloth of plain. 

Richardson began to dream of all pos- 
sible chances. Although quite a humane 
man, he did not once think of his servant. 
Jose being a Mexican, it was natural that 



The Open Boat 



313 



he should be killed in Mexico; but for him- 
self, a New Yorker — 

He remembered all the tales of such races 
for life, and he thought them badly writ- 
ten. 

The great black horse v/as growing in- 
different. The jabs of Jose's spurs no longer 
caused him to bound forward in wild leaps 
of pain. Jose had at last succeeded in 
teaching him that spurring was to be ex- 
pected, speed or no speed, and now he took 
the pain of it dully and stolidly, as an animal 
who finds that doing his best gains him no 
respite. 

Jose was turned into a raving maniac. He 
bellowed and screamed, working his arms 
and his heels like one in a fit. He resembled 
a man on a sinking ship, who appeals to the 
ship. Richardson, too, cried madly to the 
black horse. 

The spirit of the horse responded to 
these calls, and, quivering and breathing 
heavily, he made a great effort, a sort of 
final rush, not for himself apparently, but 
because he understood that his life's sacri- 
fice, perhaps, had been invoked by these two 
men who cried to him in the universal 
tongue. Richardson had no sense of appre- 
ciation at this time — he was too frightened 
— but often now he remembers a certain 
black horse. 

From the rear could be heard a yelling, 
and once a shot was fired — in the air, evi- 
dently. Richardson moaned as he looked 
back. He kept his hand on his revolver. He 
tried to imagine the brief tumult of his cap- 
ture — the flurry of dust from the hoofs of 
horses pulled suddenly to their haunches, 
the shrill biting curses of the men, die ring 
of the shots, his own last contortion. He 
wondered, too, if he could not somehow 
manage to pelt that fat Mexican, just to cure 
his abominable egotism. 



It was Jose, the terror-stricken, who at last 
discovered safety. Suddenly he gave a howl 
of deliglit, and astonished his horse into a 
new burst of speed. They were on a little 
ridge at the time, and the American at the 
top of it saw his servant gallop down the 
slope and into the arms, so to speak, of a 
small column of horsemen in gray and sil- 
ver clothes. In the dim light of the early 
morning they were as vague as shadows, but 
Richardson knew them at once for a detach- 
ment of rurales, that crack cavalry corps of 
the Mexican army which polices the plain 
so zealously, being of themselves the law 
and the arm of it — a fierce and swift-moving 
body that knows little of prevention, but 
much of vengeance. They drew up sud- 
denly, and the rows of great silver-trimmed 
sombreros bobbed in surprise. 

Richardson saw Jose throw himself from 
his horse and begin to jabber at the leader 
of the party. When he arrived he found 
that his servant had already outlined the 
entire situation, and was then engaged in 
describing him, Richardson, as an American 
sefior of vast wealth, who was the friend of 
almost every governmental potentate within 
two hundred miles. This seemed to pro- 
foundly impress the officer. He bowed 
gravely to Richardson and smiled signifi- 
cantly at his men, who unslung their car- 
bines. 

The little ridge hid the pursuers from 
view, but the rapid thud of their horses' feet 
could be heard. Occasionally they yelled and 
called to each odier. 

Then at last they swept over the brow of 
the hill, a wild mob of almost Rixs drunken 
horsemen. When they discerned the pale- 
uniformed rurales they were sailing down 
the slope at top speed. 

If tobo^crans half-wav down a hill should 
suddenly make up tlieir minds to turn 



314 Stephen 

around and go back, there would be an 
effect somewhat hke that now produced 
by the drunken horsemen. Richardson saw 
the rurales serenely swing their carbines 
forward, and, peculiar-minded person that 
he was, felt his heart leap into his throat at 
the prospective volley. But the officer rode 
forward alone. 

It appeared that the man who owned the 
best horse in diis astonished company was 
the fat Mexican with the snaky moustache, 
and, in consequence, this gentleman was 
quite a distance in the van. He tried to pull 
up, wheel his horse, and scuttle back over 
the hill as some of his companions had done, 
but the ofiBcer called to him in a voice harsh 
with rage. 

*' !" howled the officer. "This seiior is 

my friend, the friend of my friends. Do you 

dare pursue him, ? ! ! ! 

!" These lines represent terrible names. 



all different, used by the officer. 

The fat Mexican simply grovelled on his 
horse's neck. His face was green; it could 
be seen that he expected death. 

The officer stormed with magnificent in- 
tensity: " ! ! !" 



Crane 

Finally he sprang from his saddle and, 
running to the fat Mexican's side, yelled: 
"Go!" and kicked the horse in the belly 
with all his might. The animal gave a 
mighty leap into the air, and the fat Mexi- 
can, with one wretched glance at the con- 
templative rurales, aimed his steed for the 
top of the ridge. Richardson again gulped 
in expectation of a volley, for, it is said, 
this is one of the favorite methods of the 
rurales for disposing of objectionable people. 
The fat, green Mexican also evidently 
thought that he was to be killed while on 
the run, from the miserable look he cast at 
the troops. Nevertheless, he was allowed to 
vanish in a cloud of yellow dust at the ridge- 
top. 

Jose was exultant, defiant, and, oh! bris- 
tling with courage. The black horse was 
drooping sadly, his nose to the ground. 
Richardson's little animal, with his ears bent 
forward, was staring at the horses of the 
rurales as if in an intense study. Richardson 
longed for speech, but he could only bend 
forward and pat the shining, silken shoul- 
ders. The little horse turned his head and 
looked back gravely. 



ANONYMOUS 



Poor Old Horse 



from COME HITHER 



I found this poem in Walter de la Mares Come Hither. No date is 
given, and the author is long since forgotten, but the sentiment and 
simplicity have \ept the verses alive. 



My clothing was once of the linsey woolsey 
fine, 

My tail it grew at length, my coat did like- 
wise shine; 

But now I'm growing old; my beauty does 
decay. 

My master frowns upon me; one day I 
heard him say, 

Foor old horse: poor old horse. 

Once I was kept in the stable snug and warm. 
To keep my tender limbs from any cold or 

harm; 
But now, in open fields, I am forced for to go, 
In all sorts of weather, let it be hail, rain, 

freeze, or snow. 

Foor old horse: poor old horse. 

Once I was fed on the very best corn and hay 
That ever grew in yon fields, or in yon 

meadows gay; 
But now there's no such doing can I find 

at all, 



I'm glad to pick the green sprouts that grow 
behind yon wall. 

Foor old horse: poor old horse. 

"You are old, you are cold, you are deaf, dull, 
dumb and slow. 

You are not fit for anything, or in my team 
to draw. 

You have eaten all my hay, you have spoiled 
all my straw. 

So hang him, whip, stick him, to the hunts- 
man let him go. 

Foor old horse: poor old horse. 

My hide unto the tanners then I would freely 
give. 

My body to the hound dogs, I would rather 
die than live, 

Likewise my poor old bones that have carried 
you many a mile, 

Over hedges, ditches, brooks, bridges, like- 
wise gates and stiles. 

Foor old horse: poor old horse. 



315 



JAMES STEVENS (1892- ) 



Horses 



from THE AMERICAN MERCURY (April, 1926) 



The beauty and the peace in this writing is soul-satisfying. The picture 
of the little boy overcoming his fear of the supposedly terrifying team 
is so convi7ici7ig that one almost climbs up into the driver's seat along 
with him to help tmth the reins. The whole tale is delightful from 
beginning to end, and completely di'Qerent from any other that 1 have 
ever read. 




I 

s a boy in a prairie town I early 
learned to revere the work horse. 
To me, as to all boys, a dog was 
a slave, but a horse was a hero. And the men 
who handled him were heroes, too. On 
summer Saturday mornings I would lie in 
the grass under a maple tree, drowse in the 
heavy prairie heat, and watch the town- 
going farmers pass. The surrey and buggy 
teams never touched my fancy; I could see 
such light, lively horses any day in the town 
streets and in the livery barn. And the 
rough-haired, scrawny, hungry-eyed teams 
of the shiftless Soap Crickers were beneath 
notice, of course. But let me catch sight of a 
team of work horses such as Mister Barrick 
drove; and then how I would lift my head, 
prop my chin on my fists, look with wide 
eyes, and feel the glow of a waking dream ! 
The road, with a cloddy ridge in the cen- 
ter and a wheel-marked path on each side, 



ran straight down a small hill and twisted 
sharply into the green trees of Elm Hollow. 
From these trees sounded the lusty rumble 
of a lumber-wagon and the jingle of harness. 
Suddenly the massive heads of two gray 
horses emerged from the greenery. There 
was a flash of polished brass from the 
studded ornamental tabs of leather that 
flapped over their wide foreheads, and a 
shine from the small colored rings which 
were strapped in their headstalls. Their big 
hoofs struck the wagon tracks forcefully as 
they tramped soberly on. A red neck-yoke 
hung from heavy breast-straps, and it swung 
now to the right, now to the left, as the 
front wheels rolled into chuck holes and 
jerked the tongue. At each swing there was 
a sharp tug at the stout oak hames of the 
horses, but they tramped on unwaveringly. 
Their bodies came into full view. Short, 
thick necks, and waving curly manes. Im- 
mensely wide shoulders and deep chests, 



316 



Horses 



317 



the dappled gray hair rippling over moving 
bands and rolls of muscle, the thick leather 
traces tight over the w^ide shoulders and fat 
sides. What broad, inviting backs under the 
brass-studded leather of the backhands! It 
looked as if you could spread out a bed on 
one of their backs and go to sleep there. 
The breeching slipped from broad hip to 
broad hip and tightened and loosened over 
round, thick buttocks. The gray tails, 
brushed glossy and clean by Mister Barrick, 
sv^ung out in sv^eeping waves at the pestifer- 
ous summer flies. 

The v^heels of the rumbling w^agon were 
yellow; the wagon box was green, with 
strips and curlicues of red for decoration. 
The spring seat slanted to the right under 
the weight of Mister Barrick. He himself 
was a regular work-horse of a man. A straw 
hat shaded his eyes, a brown beard curled 
over his cheeks and chin, and between 
suspenders and sleeve-holders muscles 
bulged the cloth of his hickory shirt. He 
rode with a straight back, and he drove 
with tight lines. Mister Barrick was as proud 
of himself as he was of his clean wagon 
and fat, glossy work-horses. 

How great and strong Bob and Jake ap- 
peared as they plodded into the shade of 
my maple tree ! They were the strongest and 
most dangerous horses in the whole coun- 
try, but Mister Barrick could do anything 
with them. I knew, for he often let me ride 
with him on the days when he hauled milk 
to the cheese factory. "Whoa-ah!" he would 
say, and the big gray horses would stop 
dead still as soon as he said it. And they 
certainly didn't dare to make a move while 
I was climbing up and up, just about twenty- 
five feet, to the spring seat. And then, when 
Mister Barrick clucked and said, "Giddap!" 
those horses stepped ahead before the word 
was out of his mouth. 



There couldn't be anything more exciting 
than to ride with Mister Barrick to the 
cheese factory. You were so high in the air 
that if you were to fall off it would certainly 
break every bone in your body. And Bob 
and Jake were so dangerous and strong 
that if they were to run away — and they 
were ready to break and go at the least ex- 
cuse, Mister Barrick said — they would sim- 
ply smash everything behind them to 
smithereens. 

"I have to be on the watch every second," 
Mister Barrick would say. **Thcy ain't ay- 
nother man around who could hold 'em." 

And I'd feel his muscle and notice how 
big his hands looked around the lines ; and 
I'd stare at the broad backs and broader 
hips of the horses as they tramped soberly 
on; and I'd get to feeling that I was no 
bigger than a fly, and that Bob and Jake 
were the greatest horses in the world, and 
that Mister Barrick was the greatest of he- 
roes to handle them as he did. I played horse 
a lot; and whenever I did I was always 
Mister Barrick driving Bob and Jake to the 
cheese factory. 

On Saturday Mister Barrick hauled noth- 
ing but produce to sell at the stores. He 
never asked me to ride with him then. But 
he spoke to me as he drove into the shade 
of my maple tree. He looked down soberly 
from the great height of the wagon seat, 
and his voice boomed through his brown 
curly beard: 

"Mornin', bub. How air yuh? Still a 
Democrat, I s'pose." 

Mister Barrick and I acrreed on almost 
everything but politics. 

*'Good mornin'. Mister Barrick." I said. 
"I'm fine as silk and I'm still a Democrat. 
And how are you and Bob and Jake.^^" 

"Perty well, thanky. And Bob and Jake 
is wild and dangerous as ever they was. Ef I 



31 8 ]ai77cs 

didn't watch 'em like a hawk they'd leave 
nothin' of me but a grease spot!" 

The last words were spoken loudly over 
his shoulder. I only watched and dreamed 
then, while Mister Barrick and his big, fat 
horses turned a corner and moved out of 
sight. It made my heart pound whenever 
Jake threw his big head down, snorted 
against his knees and chomped the bit. 
Wasn't he a savage, though! And Bob was 
about as bad. What a brave, strong man 
Mister Barrick was! I'd dream I was away 
up there in his place, watching Bob and 
Jake with the eye of a hawk; and didn't I 
hold them down, though, when they tried 
to break and run ... I 

"Just to think of you driving that terrible 
big team!" exclaimed Inez Hartley, the 
banker's beautiful daughter. "I'd never im- 
agined you could do anything so wonder- 
ful!" 

"Fear not. It is nothing," I replied calmly. 
"Robert and Jacob know their master." 

"But I fear to go riding with you through 
the wood," said the banker's beautiful 
daughter. "Are there not redskins lurking 
in the wood.f^" 

"Fear not," I replied sternly. "Robert and 
Jacob will bear us safely through all perils. 
I will have you fly with me, Inez — " 

"Preacher's stuck on Inez! Haw! Haw! 
Haw! Preacher's stuck on Inez!" 

Robert and Jacob and the banker's beau- 
tiful daughter vanished at the sound of Stub 
Crumley's voice. With a vile grin on his 
wretched freckled face, he leered down at 
me as I rolled over in the grass. 

"Talkin' to hisself about Inez Hartley! 
Haw! Haw! Haw!" 

He stepped closer ; and I grabbed his bare 
leg; and after we had wrassled around in 
the grass for ten minutes we were having so 
much fun that we both forgot about Robert 



Stevens 

and Jacob and the banker's beautiful daugh- 
ter. At dinner time we made it up to go to 
the town square together to spend the long, 
lazy afternoon. 

II 

In the center of the town square was a 
small park. It was fenced by chains bolted 
to stout posts. Every summer Saturday after- 
noon the park was circled by farmers' teams, 
which were hitched to the chains. Many of 
us town boys would gather in the park after 
Saturday dinner; and our first activity, 
as a rule, was to look over the teams and 
argue about the horses. Some of the boys 
were familiar with horses and were brave 
enough to pet the most sleepy-eyed ones. 
Sometimes we would climb into wagons and 
pretend that we were stage-coaching it 
through the Far West. But we never got to 
play in Mister Barrick's wagon on Saturday 
afternoons. He always put Bob and Jake 
in the livery barn. 

All of the farmers who took good care 
of their horses did the same; and the poorer 
farmers who left their teams at the park 
always gathered at the livery barn to chew 
the rag for a spell before they started for 
home. The town boys always came around 
when the crowd began to gather. There 
were always interesting stories, gossip and 
political arguments to be heard; and usually 
there was a lot of instructive horse talk. I 
seldom missed a Saturday afternoon at the 
livery barn, for Mister Barrick was a friend 
of mine, and he was always the leader in 
the arguments about horses. But he was 
never too interested or excited to stop his 
talk for a second, grin down through his 
brown curly beard at me, and say, "How air 
yuh, bub.?" 

Stub Crumley didn't have anything to say 
about Inez Hartley then. He would only 



look at me with humble envy for being so 
famihar with Mister Barrick, who was Hs- 
tened to by everybody in the Hvery barn as 
he proved to a man who drove Morgans 
how superior Percherons were to Morgans, 
and to Clydes, Belgians and French Coaches 
as well. 

His argument was particularly warm this 
afternoon, because Humbert, the famous 
thousand-dollar Percheron stallion, was due 
at the livery barn. Humbert had been adver- 
tised like an opera-house show; big cards 
showing a fine picture of him had been 
tacked up at the livery barn and the feed 
store two weeks before. The description was 
high-sounding poetry, but the town boys 
made out from it that Humbert was a for- 
eigner, a genuine French horse. We talked a 
great deal about Humbert; he had been 
brought clear across the ocean, and he was 
worth such a pile of money ! And he looked 
so tremendously big and so awfully wild 
and dangerous in his picture that I asked 
Mister Barrick if, taking it all around and 
by and large, he wasn't more of a horse 
than Bob and Jake. 

"Shucks, no," said Mister Barrick sol- 
emnly. "Shucks, no. Bob and Jake are 
work-horses. And Humbert never done a 
tap of work in his life. How can you ask if 
he is a better horse .f^" 

"What's Humbert good for then. Mister 
Barrick, if he ain't strong and dangerous 
like Bob and Jake are?" I asked. "Why do 
they brag him up so much then ?" 

"He's the best Perch'on stallion in the 
county, that's why," said Mister Barrick. 

Being just an eight-year-old town boy, 
Perch'on stallion meant nothing to me ; but 
the words sounded fine, and I thought 
Humbert must be something wonderful. 

And now Humbert was being driven into 
the livery barn. He was wonderful; any- 



Horses 319 

body could sec that. Humbert was every 



bit as big as Bob or Jake, and he looked a 
lot more dangerous and strong. How the 
muscles rolled under his glossy dappled 
gray hair! What a thick neck he had, and 
how he did curvet it as he tossed his head, 
snorted and cavorted around! Humbert 
wouldn't stand still, hut kept up a kind of 
heavy dance. There was the wickedest flash 
in his eye, as he rolled his gaze toward the 
crowd, snorting all the time. 

"I hear he killed a man in Dcs Moines," 
said the Morgan man to Mister Barrick. 
"That's why they brought him down here." 

"I don't believe it," declared Mister Bar- 
rick. "Perch'ons is the gentlest horses alive, 
even the studs." 

I laughed to myself, for I knew that 
Mister Barrick was only codding the Mor- 
gan man. Mister Barrick had told me too 
many times how dangerous Bob and Jake 
were for me to swallow any talk about Per- 
cherons being so gentle as all that. 

Still, I was considerably puzzled; for if 
Humbert was so strong, why was he 
hitched to a cart that I could have pulled 
myself ? Mister Barrick's wagon was a thou- 
sand times heavier. And that fat, red-faced 
man who was driving Humbert looked like 
he didn't have any muscle at all and had 
never done a lick of work in his life. Hum- 
bert couldn't be so dangerous if this man 
handled him. I'd never thought actually 
that I could handle Bob and Jake; but if 
this little fat man could handle Humbert, 
I expected I could, too. He couldn't be so 
much — 

Just then Humbert commenced to faunch 
around, snorting and shaking his head, and 
stamping so hard on the floor that he shook 
the whole barn ; and then he let out a neigh 
that was a regular ripper; and even Mister 
Barrick backed away with the other farm- 



320 James 

crs. But the little fat man just took hold 
of Humbert's bit and talked low to him. 
In no time at all the stallion was quieted 
down. 

"He's a whisperer," said the Morgan 
man. "Best horse-handler in the county." 

Then Humbert was unhitched and the 
little fat man led him down between the 
rows of dark stalls. Humbert neighed again 
in his wild way as he was led along. The 
livery man chased us boys from the barn. 

"You young uns skedaddle!" he said 
sharply. 

"I guess they're goin' to have a horse 
fight, maybe," I said, as we walked reluc- 
tantly away. 

Bill Huff, a ten-year-old boy who had 
lived on a farm, began to laugh like a fool, 
and he waggled his finger under my nose. 

"Preacher thinks they's goin' to be a 
horse fight!" he jeered. "Jest lis'en! Preacher 
thinks they's goin' to be a horse fight!" 

Some of the older boys began to laugh 
and jeer, too, or I'd have shown Bill Huff 
how smart he was right then and there. But 
I wasn't fool enough to try to show a whole 
gang how smart they were; so I got Stub 
Crumley, and we went home and played 
catch in an alley until supper time. But 
every once in a while I'd wonder about 
Humbert. He was a mystery to me, and he 
stayed so for a long time. 



Ill 



It wasn't so long, however, until I got on 
more familiar terms with Bob and Jake. 
My folks planned a three-day visit to the 
county seat. I was to stay with a neighbor 
until they returned. I didn't like the idea, 
and I told Mister Barrick so one morning 
when I rode with him to the cheese fac- 
tory. 



Stevens 

"Why don't you come out and stay with 
me and maw.^^" said Mister Barrick. "We'd 
take keer of you, and I 'low you'd be a lot 
of help, too." 

That idea certainly excited me; and when 
I got home I bawled until it was agreed that 
I should have my way. Two days later I 
was riding behind Bob and Jake as they 
tramped over a road that twisted and 
turned and led up and down through fields 
of timothy, clover and corn, past orchards, 
pastures and ponds. Mister Barrick didn't 
say much, except to answer my questions; 
and after about an hour I got tired of ask- 
ing questions, and just looked around at the 
country and dreamed. 

The sky was a hazy blue, the sun seemed 
to just pour its light down, and the air was 
still, thick and hot. It was easy to drowse. 
The green blades of the young corn were 
quiet, and the heads of timothy on long 
slender stems were quiet, too. When we 
passed an orchard I could hear all kinds of 
buzzy sounds in the deep grass among the 
trees. I could hear every plomp of the 
horses' feet in the dusty road. Each wheel 
had a rumble of its own as it bumped along. 
Sweat stains spread over the backs of Bob 
and Jake, where the backhands and breech- 
ing pressed. A sharp smell came up from 
them. 

I got to looking as far out and away as I 
could. Over yonder some red cattle were 
lying in the shade of elm trees on the bank 
of a pond. The water of the pond looked 
cool and the green grass of the pasture was 
like a smooth carpet — I'd like to wade 
through that grass barefooted, I thought, 
and then go swimming in the pond with 
Stub Crumley: it was so blamed hot and 
drowsy. Beyond the pond was the biggest 
cornfield I had ever seen. It ran away and 
away, out into the hazy sky. A man was 



*v<iinsr^ 





^.; 'i 




Horses 

cultivating the young corn. His team 
plodded and plodded on until there was 
only one small speck and two larger ones 
where the green of the field and the blue 
of the sky melted together in a haze. 

I looked out at the specks and tried to 
fancy some fine things about them; and 
then it did seem as though I was in a corn- 
field myself. But I wasn't on a cultivator; 
I was on a cart, and I was driving Humbert, 
who seemed to have become the best- 
natured horse alive, for he would turn his 
head, wink his bright eye, and smile in the 
friendliest way every once in a while as I 
drove him on toward the far haze. The cart 
rolled on very smoothly, and Humbert 
looked friendlier every time he smiled back 
at me; and I knew that we were going on 
and on through the corn until we reached 
the Chariton River; and there I'd find Inez 
Hartley, the banker's beautiful daughter; 
and wouldn't she be proud and surprised to 
see me driving Humbert, and wouldn't we 
have the happiest time . . . ! 

"Wake up, young un. We're 'most home." 

I blinked at the sound of Mister Bar- 
rick's voice. I felt that my head was resting 
on something hard and yet alive — and then 
I discovered that I'd been asleep and was 
lying against Mister Barrick's strong left 
arm. He looked down very kindly as I 
straightened myself and yawned. 

"I pert' nigh went to sleep myself," said 
Mister Barrick. "It's that hot. And ef I had 
I bet Bob and Jake wouldn't of left more'n 
two grease spots of us!" 

He stopped the team then, for he had 
reached his gate. Mister Barrick stepped 
down to the wheel and jumped to the 
ground. I was scared half to death right 
then, for he had left the lines in my hands. 
Never had Bob and Jake looked so big. 
Never, it seemed, had I been so high in the 



321 

air. But somehow I held my breath and 
clutched the big lines tightly as Mister Bar- 
rick opened the gate. He clucked and Vxh 
and Jake moved ahead. The lines tugged 
at my hands. The spring scat swayed under 
me. The wheels jolted over a culvert. Far 
below I saw Mister Barrick as the wagon 
passed the gate. Ahead was a barn lot as 
big as a hay field, and a monster barn. Bob 
and Jake were sticking up their cars. Oh, 
lordy, what would hapjx-n now ? I shut my 
eyes. 

"Stop 'em, bub," called Mister Barrick. 

Somehow I got out a weak whoa-ah ; and I 
had never felt so good in my life as I did 
when Bob and Jake stopped dead still. 
Then Mister Barrick walked on toward the 
barn. The horses tramped soberly behind 
him. Nobody was holding their lines but 
me! And suddenly I felt a thrill of reckless 
joy. Let 'em run and leave only a grease 
spot of me, if they wanted to — maybe they 
wouldn't run, either — and if they didn't, 
and I came through alive, what I would 
have to tell to the town boys ! I was driving 
the biggest, strongest and most dangerous 
team in the whole county ! Shucks, they were 
not going to run; they saw Mister Barrick 
ahead of them, and they knew they hadn't 
better. And for a good minute I had the 
most fun I ever had had. And I certainly 
hated it when Bob and Jake got to the place 
where Mister Barrick always unhitched. I 
wanted to help him unhitch, but he sent 
me on to the house. 

"You tell maw I said fer you to have some 
cookies and milk," said Mister Barrick. 

Mrs. Barrick seemed very glad to see me, 
though she had a sharp, cranky way of talk- 
ing. She had to get around the house in a 
wheel-chair, as she had been crippled in a 
runaway a little while after she and Mister 
Barrick were married. Mister Barrick had 



:22 



]atnes 

shot the runaway horses and had hated fast 
ones ever since, people said. She managed to 
do her own kitchen work, wheeHng her 
chair around, and Mister Barrick did all the 
house-cleaning. 

Mrs. Barrick was in her wheel-chair on 
the back porch when I came up to the farm- 
house. There were morning glory vines all 
over the back porch, and her chair was in 
the shade. When I told her what Mister 
Barrick had said she snapped: "Law! That 
man!" Then she looked me over from head 
to foot. ''Law! You've ripped a button from 
your shirt, young un. Come here till I pin 
it up." And after I'd let her fuss with my 
shirt all she wanted to, she got a kind of 
smile in her black eyes, and told me to go 
to the pantry and help myself. After I did so 
I came back to the porch, and Mrs. Barrick 
sat and smoked her pipe and asked ques- 
tions, and I sat and ate cookies and drank 
cool milk and answered them. 

The poor soul, as my folks called her, 
didn't get around very much, and she appre- 
ciated even a boy like me to visit with. I was 
polite to Mrs. Barrick and answered her 
questions as well as I could, but all the time 
I wanted to be out at the barn with Mister 
Barrick and Bob and Jake. 

He came in after a while and built a fire 
in the kitchen stove. I helped Mrs. Barrick 
get supper, just as Mister Barrick told me 
to do, while he went out to get the cows in 
and begin the chores. Mrs. Barrick got nicer 
to me all the time; she asked me what I 
liked best to eat; and when I said, "Fried 
chicken and jelly layer cake and roas'in' ears, 
I guess," she said she'd have some tomorrow 
or know the reason why. I got to feeling 
very much at home with Mrs. Barrick, but 
I did want to be out at the barn. Mister 
Barrick might let me give Bob and Jake 
their corn. 



Stevens 

But I didn't get out to the barn until the 
next morning. Mrs. Barrick kept thinking 
of new questions; and after supper it was 
tlie same thing over again as we washed 
the dishes; and after Mister Barrick came 
in we all sat in the front room, with the 
windows open, while Mrs. Barrick smiled 
at me, and asked questions. 

Mister Barrick just sat in his sock feet, 
leaned back in his rocker, with his hands 
clasped behind his head most of the time, 
smoked his pipe, smiled at his wife and me, 
and said hardly a word the whole evening. 
I wasn't used to having so much attention 
paid to me, and I was proud of it, though it 
wasn't very exciting. 

At bedtime Mister Barrick took me up to 
a room that had a big feather bed in it. He 
set the lamp on a bureau and turned the 
sheets down as if he was used to it. He stood 
in the door for a minute before he went 
back downstairs. 

"Ain't homesick, air yuh, bub ?" 

"No, I ain't. Not a particle, Mister Bar- 
rick." 

"That's the ticket. I 'low I have yuh help 
cultivate some tomorrer." 

"With Bob and Jake, Mister Barrick.?" 
1 spect. 

"Golly! I'm mighty glad I come out to 
your place. Mister Barrick!" 

"Wal — good night, bub. Hope yuh sleep 
good. Be keerful of the light." 

He stood in the door for another second, 
staring at me, and pulling at his beard with 
a big, hairy hand. Then he turned around 
and tramped down the stairs. I could hear 
him and his wife talking, and they were still 
talking after I was in bed. 

It was so hot I didn't sleep good in the 
early part of the night. Once I woke up and 
looked out into the moonlight. I thought I 
saw Mister Barrick tramping up and down 



Horses 



V-Z 



in the barn lot. But I was drowsy and I 
dozed off again before I could think about 
it very much. 

IV 

It was fine and cool the next morning 
when I went out to the barn with Mister 
Barrick. We had eaten a good breakfast, 
and now we were going to feed the young 
stock. The cows had already been milked 
and fed. Bob and Jake had finished their 
corn and were nibbling at the timothy in 
their manger. They looked up and 
nickered when we came into the barn. 
Mister Barrick fetched Jake a slap on the 
hips as we walked behind them. I jumped 
a foot, for I expected Jake to kick us into 
pieces. But he only switched his tail. We 
went on through the barn and came to a 
pen with a shed in one side of it. There 
was a bed of straw in the shed; and on the 
straw were eight of the funniest and cutest 
pigs I had ever seen. They were just finish- 
ing their breakfast, and their fat mother was 
grunting for them to get away and leave 
her alone. Mister Barrick helped me into the 
pen; and then he picked up one of the pigs 
and let it chew his fingers. And he told me 
to do the same with another. The little 
rascal chewed away for all he was worth, 
but he didn't hurt my hand the least bit. 
Mister Barrick and I had a lot of fun with 
the pigs, their mother grunting in a sus- 
picious way all the time; and then we fed 
the calves skimmed milk and played with 
them for a while. One of the calves was a 
regular baby; and it was so wobbly-legged 
and owl-eyed, and it looked so funny and 
cute when it would hoist its tail and try 
to run, and then stop and look at me and 
baa, that I'd have stayed and played with 
it all day if Mister Barrick hadn't needed 
me to help him with the cultivating. 



We left the calves and fed corn to the 
chickens and the shoats; and then wc 
leaned on the pasture fence for a while, and 
Mister Barrick showed me Bob's and Jake's 
mother. She was a big gray Perchcron, too, 
and there was a frolicsome little colt with 
her. Her name was Grace, and the colt 
hadn't been given a name yet. Grace 
tramped up to the fence as Mister Barrick 
and I were talking and stood there while 
he scratched her neck. I tried to get the 
colt to come to me; but he would only 
stick out his nose, smell my fingers, shake 
his head and snort a couple of times, then 
back away and look at me suspiciously. He 
wasn't nearly so friendly as the calf was, 
but I liked him about as well anyhow. I 
certainly was enjoying myself. The air 
smelled sweet as it blew from the dewy 
pasture grass. The red and white cows were 
moving toward the elms that marked the 
pond. All over the barn lot the hens were 
singing their clucking songs. But the old 
prairie sun was beginning to warm things 
up. 

"Time for us to git to work," said Mister 
Barrick. 

When he had harnessed Bob and Jake 
and led them out of the barn, he took me 
by the arm. 

"Pile on, bub," he said, "and we'll ride 
out to the field." 

"Ain't — ain't they pretty dangerous to 
ride. Mister Barrick.^" 

"Not to ride — no. Jest out on the road. 
You pile on old Jake now and hang to the 
hames." 

I was scared, but I wouldn't back down; 
so up I w^ent; and there I was, astraddle one 
of the biggest, strongest and most dangerous 
horses in the county, riding out to cultivate 
corn! 

That was the most wonderful and excit- 






James 

ing day I had ever known. I didn't only 
ride the big Percheron out to the cornfield ; 
but after Mister Barrick had made a couple 
of rounds with the cultivator, he put me up 
in the seat and gave me the lines, and 
there I was again, driving this great team 
down the corn rows, their big hips looming 
high above me, their heads swinging gee 
when I pulled gee and swinging haw when 
I pulled haw. And they stopped when I 
yelled whoa and went ahead when I yelled 
giddap. And Mister Barrick walked so 
quietly behind me that I could imagine he 
was Inez Hartley or Stub Crumley or any- 
body I wanted to. 

That evening I went to the field again, 
drove some more rounds with Mister Bar- 
rick, and helped him unhitch at six o'clock. 
He had brought the wagon out at noon and 
I got permission to drive it back. I felt that 
I was the boss of Bob and Jake now. They 
might be strong and dangerous, but I could 
handle them. As they neared the barn they 
broke into a heavy trot and I let them go. 
The wagon bumped and rumbled, dust 
rolled up from the thumping hoofs, and 
I declared to myself that no stage-driver 
of the Far West ever drove faster than I 
was driving then. And at supper Mister 
Barrick said to Mrs. Barrick: 

"You ought to seen that boy handle Bob 
and Jake! Ain't 'nuther boy nigh his age 
could handle sech a dangerous team, I bet." 

"Law! How you do go on about Bob and 
Jake!" said Mrs. Barrick in her sharp way. 
But she smiled over at me. I was very 
proud; and after I'd filled up on fried 
chicken and jelly layer cake and roasting 
ears and milk I felt so good that it seemed 



Stevens 

like I had never lived at all before. I wanted 
to stay with Mister and Mrs. Barrick and 
Bob and Jake forever. 

But the next two days went by so fast 
that I could hardly count them. Then I was 
in town again, with about seven hundred 
fine stories to tell to Stub Crumley and 
Inez Hartley. And I could put Bill Huff 
in his place, too. He might have lived on 
a farm once, but he had never cultivated 
corn with a team like Bob and Jake. He 
might know all about Humbert, but Mister 
Barrick didn't let hhn drive Bob and Jake 
through town to the cheese factory. 

Mister Barrick and I were always good 
friends while I lived in that town. He and 
Mrs. Barrick always liked me to come out 
and stay at their place. I liked him so much 
that it bothered me because it seemed that 
he slept poorly. Several times when I was 
out at his place I heard him tramp to the 
barn in the middle of the night. Finally 
I asked him about it. As I might have 
known, it was on account of his horses. 

"I worry about Bob and Jake fightin' at 
night," he said. 

Mrs. Barrick usually spoke sharply to him 
for being foolish about his horses, but she 
didn't say a word now. And I said: 

"You certainly do take fine care of your 
stock, Mister Barrick." 

And he did. Mister Barrick seemed to 
love even the little pigs. But he thought the 
most of Bob and Jake and their mother, 
Grace. It was because I appreciated them 
so much, I guess, that he liked to have me 
come out to his place and always let me 
ride with him to the cheese factory. 



ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE (1883- ) 



Loreine: a Horse 



jrom THE SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE 

(September, 1926) 



This descriptive poem gives, in verse, the same feeling that Helen Dore 
Boylston, gives us in Lady of Leisure; to everyone who has owned horses 
it will bring to mind some favorite mount. 



She lifted up her head 

With the proud incredible poise 

Of beauty recovered 

From the Mycenaen tombs. 

She opened her nostrils 
With the wild arrogance 
Of life that knows nothing 
Except that it is life. 

Her slender legs 

Quivered above the soft grass. 

Her hard hooves 

Danced among the dandelions. 

Her great dark eyes 

Saw all that could be seen. 

Her large lips 

Plucked at my coat-sleeve. 



All the wisdom of the prophets 
Vanished into laughter 
As Loreine lifted her small foot 
And pawed the air. 

All the learning of the sages 
Turned to ribald rubrics 
When that proud head 
Looked at a passing cloud. 

And so, amid this godless 
God-hungry generation, 
Let us, my friends, take Loreine 
And worship her. 

She would demand nothing. 
Nor would she utter thunders. 
She is living, and real. 
And she is beautiful. 



325 



JOHAN BOJER (1872- ) 



Skobelef Was a Horse 



from THE COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE (1921) 



Not a long story, this, hut one which will stic\ in your memory. It has 
the delightful flavor of Norway in it, the down-to-earthiness of the 
peasant. The description of the horse in the act of being harnessed is 
unusually vivid. Though the end is tragic, one does not feel too sad. 
In spite of the fact that the horse, in the flesh, is made very real, he 
seems to be an almost legendary animal with his raw eggs and brandy; 
and one thinhj of him as an existent part of Norwegian folklore. The 
quiet humor of the tale with its sly insinuations adds to the savoriness 
of the morsel. 




kobelef was a horse. He lived at the 
time when on Sunday morning 
the church bells rang, not in vain 
across deserted roads and sleeping farms, 
but across a valley that woke up to life 
under the deep boom of their sonorous call. 

Come, comCy 
Old and young. 
Old and young. 
Rich and poor. 
Fisherman, dalesman. 
Huntsmen from moor. 
From forest and sea. 
Come, come to me. 

Peter and Paul and Ole, from Vang, 

Vang, Vang, 

And Mori and Cari from Renstali, -li, -li; 

From mountains and valley 

From islands at sea. 

Come, come to me. 



All roads would be darkened with people 
going churchwards, walking or driving. 
There were old men, with a big stick in one 
hand and a hat in the other, coat over arm, 
and gray homespun trousers turned up 
high over strong boots shiny with grease. 
The women walked sedately, covered with 
shawls and prayer-books in hand, smelling 
of the scent on the ends of their handker- 
chiefs. The lake would swarm with boats 
that darted out from farmsteads on the 
other side, and white sails would dot the 
fiord. Even in the mountains the cowbells 
seemed to stop tinkling and the boy would 
lift his long lur (a birch-bark trumpet) to 
his lips and send a long sounding greeting 
down towards the valley. Thus Sunday was 
kept then. Sunday was a real holy day. 

Now, at so great a distance, it seems as if 



326 



S^obelef Was a Horse 



all Sundays were sunny and the forest was 
ever green in those days. The old tar-brown 
church among the huge trees did not seem 
to be a building any longer; it became a 
supernatural being. It bore the aspect of 
something all-knowing. It was hundreds 
and hundreds of years old. It had seen the 
dead when they were alive going to church 
like ourselves. The churchyard around it 
was a tiny town of wooden crosses and 
flat stones, the grass grew high among the 
sunken mounds. We knew that the sexton 
cut it for his cows, and drinking a cup of 
milk in his house was like communing with 
the spirits of the dead. His milk was to us 
a kind of angel's drink which made us feel 
good after tasting it 

We boys used to wait outside the church 
and act like the grown-ups. We reviewed 
those coming after us. We judged them by 
their looks; and they felt it. 

The cripple would shrink and try to hide 
among the crowd; the important men 
calmly met the glances of friends and foes 
alike; the pretty girls looked down, smiling. 
We boys were always seeking somebody in 
the crowd, a hero for worship, a man for 
a model. We too should be grown-ups one 
day. 

There was the new schoolmaster now. He 
walked upright, dressed in homespun with 
all his buttons buttoned, a white starched 
collar, a hard felt hat and an umbrella. He 
was a step up from a plain farmer's lad. 
Evidently we should all have to go to a 
training college. Later, however, a butcher 
arrived from town, in blue broadcloth, with 
a gold chain across a white waistcoat, with 
white cuffs, a snowy white shirt and col- 
lar, and a white straw hat. He was a vision 
crushing the new teacher to dust beneath 
his feet. Evidently we should all have to 
learn the butcher's trade when we grew up. 



The great men who influenced our day- 
dreams were numerous. It was a moment 
of emotion when for the first time wc be- 
held a solicitor from town. He was a right 
royal man; he even wore an ornament on 
his nose, a pair of gold-trimmed eyeglasses. 
From that day our ambition was unbridled. 
We were not at all sure of the feasibility 
of a liberal education, but everyone was 
resolved to read sufficiently hard to develop 
bad eyes and be com^xrllcd to wear eye- 
glasses. 

Then Skobelef arrived. And Skobelef was 
not a man; he was a horse. 

For weeks beforehand little legs ran from 
farm to farm with the great news. Peter 
Lo had acquired a new Government stal- 
lion. He was not merely an animal on four 
legs; he was a fairytale by himself. Six men 
had enough to do to get him off the 
steamer, yet there was one man who could 
master him, unaided. That man was Peter 
Lo. He — ^not Peter Lo, of course ; Peter Lo 
was only a man — walked mostly on his 
hind legs, and he whinnied even in his 
sleep. He was so wild that he had killed 
several men. And his name was Skobelef. 

What do you think Skobelef had to eat.*^ 

No, not hay, nor chafi*, nor oats. No, 
Skobelef had uncooked eggs with brandy 
for meals. 

And they said Peter Lo and the stallion 
took their wonderful strengthening food 
out of the same manger. They both needed 
something invigorating. 

One Sunday the crowd of boys outside 
the church stood looking along the valley 
road in great, though subdued, excitement. 
Peter Lo was expected to come to church 
driving no less a horse than Skobelef 
himself. 

The long procession of vehicles from the 



328 ]ohan Bojer 

farther valley arrived, swelling with fresh 
buggies from every side-road, until it 
formed an unbroken line, like a grand 
bridal procession. 

That day we judged the drivers by their 
horses. What a diversity of fates passed 
before our eyes! Fat horses and lean, fresh 
horses and tired. There were old big-bellied 
crocks, long-necked and raw-boned, whose 
heads sank low earthwards at each step — 
as if infinitely weary. Then would come 
fine beasts diat reminded the onlookers of 
rich crops and swelling bank accounts. 
There was perhaps a mare, the mother of 
many foals and ready to mother all the 
world. Once in a while a fiord pony with 
long fur would pull hard at a heavy gig; 
he was small enough to make one think of 
a mouse. Then an old red horse with big 
watery eyes and shaky knees would stare 
in astonishment, as if asking why he was 
not free to rest even on Sunday. Then there 
were virtuous mares' faces ready to declare 
that all the world was vanity; then again 
madcap youngsters whinnying to all the 
world. 



Look at that red gelding! Why is he 
spattered with mud right up to his belly? 
He came from a farm far away in the 
mountains. Since early in the morning he 
has been plodding across bogs and moors, 
through brooks and rivers, until when 
finally he reached the valley a buggy was 
borrowed for him. He will have had a hard 
day's work before he reaches Jhis mountain 
home again. 

What a long procession it is! But where 
is Peter Lo ? Where is Skobelef ? 

One trap came by itself, far behind all 
the others. It was still far away, but came 
on rapidly. Many hundred eyes were fixed 
on it. 



The church bells were booming. Most of 
the horses were unhitched and tied up to 
the massive ash trees. They were biting 
their hay impassively. Suddenly, however, 
all heads were raised and even the old 
crocks, arching their necks, tried to look 
down the road. 

Then came Peter Lo. There was Skobelef. 
He came trotting before the buggy, black, 
broad on dancing hoofs, with his long- 
haired fetlocks streaming, his mane flowing 
thickly over his neck, his eyes two gleams 
of lightning; and from behind both ears the 
blue ribbons of the prize-winner waved in 
the air. 

He lifted his head and seemed to drink 
in the very day. He took dominion over 
the whole of the landscape. Then he lifted 
his voice and pierced the air with a signal 
that echoed back from the mountain-sides. 

Peter Lo was in the buggy, calmly hold- 
ing slack reins. He was not yet more than 
thirty-five, broad-shouldered, full-blooded, 
with a smile in one corner of his mouth, 
and a tuft of brown beard under his chin. 

Alas, his wife beside him was so much 
older than he, every feature of her face 
drooped — cheeks, eyes, mouth — and when 
she spoke, her voice had the quality of an 
unceasing wail. But Peter Lo loved every- 
thing that was beautiful, even when it was 
not his own. When Skobelef whinnied to 
his lady friends, Peter glanced toward his 
acquaintances in the crowd, smiling. Sko- 
belef stopped, felt the whip, and tried to 
rear; the whip fell once more and he trotted 
with long strides up the lane to the parson- 
age, the crowd following, we boys foremost. 

It was a sight for eager eyes even to 
watch Peter Lo leading Skobelef from the 
shafts of the buggy in through the stable 
door. 



Skobclej Was a Ilone 



P9 



Peter Lo was very well groomed that 
day. His fine horse had evidently increased 
his self-respect. His gray suit was well 
brushed; he wore a hard felt hat like the 
teacher's, and while leading his horse his 
shining shoes had to step high once in a 
while. The crowd stared with all its eyes. 
The stable door swallowed the wonderful 
apparition but in a little while Peter Lo 
returned, wiping horse's hair from his 
hands. Treading carefully so as not to soil 
those very shiny shoes, he slowly ap- 
proached the church, the crowd following. 

Peter Lo mounted the steps leading up 
to die "armory" which is still the word for 
a church porch in rural Norway, remi- 
niscent of the times when every man carried 
his weapons about with him, leaving them, 
however, outside God's House. Peter Lo 
entered the church, sat down in a pew, 
produced his hymn-book and started to 
sing. The crowd did what he did, and the 
singing increased in volume. 

But we youngsters kept watch outside 
the stable door. Luckily the door was 
locked, for what might not have happened 
if Skobelef had been let out on his own ? 
, Suddenly we heard a clanking in there 
and the stamping of hoofs; now and then 
the walls trembled with his whinnying. 
How thrilling! We stood still, whispering. 

Even the crowd of horses felt the excite- 
ment. The mares under the huge ash trees 
forgot their appetite and arched their necks, 
trying to look young. Stallions and geldings 
had seen that morning a rival whose eyes 
glistened with pride. Should he be toler- 
ated? They spurned the earth under their 
hoofs, whinnying challenges in all direc- 
tions. 

At last the final bell was heard, and the 
congregation came out. Most of the men, 



however, let their own horses alone for a 
while, and the parsonage farmyard wai 
crowded with people who wanted to sec 
Peter Lo fetching Skobelef out from the 
stable. 

Then the owner arrived; all eyes centered 
upon him where he was talking to the 
sexton, who was like any other plain mortal 
man, except that he had acquired some of 
the same gestures that the parson used 
when he was preaching. 

People began to make room. The cautious 
man pulled his buggy away from the mid- 
dle of the yard. The women occupied the 
bridge up to the barn. Better be careful — 
though all were eager to see. 

Peter Lo disappeared through the stable 
door. Whinnying was heard from in there, 
hoofs tramping, and bridle clanking, and a 
moment afterwards a black head appeared 
in the doorway. Skobelef lifted up his voice 
in a ringing, fighting challenge for heaven 
and earth to hear; Peter Lo was flung 
skywards, alighting, however, a little 
farther on. 

Women screamed, and men withdrew 
in such a hurry that several hats remained 
behind them, for now Peter Lo and Sko- 
belef began to dance round the yard. 
Skobelef snorted" and foamed until his silky 
black hide was flecked with white spots. He 
did not agree about going toward that 
buggy. He wanted to pay calls on his lady 
friends. He pranced, reared, kicked and 
backed, but a pair of shiny shoes kept pace 
beside him all the time. It was a vision and 
a revelation to the onlookers. 

The yard by this time was swept free 
of vehicles and people and it became a 
dancing floor for Skobelef and Peter Lo. 

The man yelled at his stallion and the 
horse screamed at all the world in general 



330 Johan 

and at Peter Lo in particular — and they 
kept on dancing. At last Skobelef seemed 
determined to call on the parson's wife in- 
doors, but Peter Lo's shining feet were on 
the spot before him and the animal merely 
succeeded in knocking down the railings 
of the porch steps. Peter Lo's face was red 
as red and Skobelef 's entire body was a mass 
of foam. The women continually gave vent 
to short tremulous utterances — oh! 

Finally the horse had to stand between 
the shafts of the buggy, but he reared when 
the reins were loosened. The whip de- 
scended, however, and he tried to dance 
on the same spot, lifting all four legs, 
arching his neck, and snorting out of ex- 
tended nostrils. 

Then Peter Lo's wife appeared, gathering 
her shawl and her skirts, and calmly took 
her seat in the buggy behind that hurricane 
of a horse. Now Peter Lo was the con- 
queror; he placed his hand on the seat and 
swung up behind his wife. 

We saw a rear and wild-gleaming eyes, 
heard the crack of a whip, and in a mo- 
ment there was but a cloud of dust which 
disappeared behind the nearest buildings. 

We were left behind, and those who had 
horses felt ashamed. What was there to see 
after this.f* 



Bojer 

merrily, laughing toward heaven and across 
earth, and even their thoughts began mov- 
ing in a more daring light. 

Every Sunday morning the sight of Sko- 
belef and Peter Lo was a manifestation of 
a hitherto unknown force in life. We were 
face to face with the joy of being alive, 
realizing the sanctity of the body and read- 
ing the joyous song of power in muscles 
rippling under silky skin. To more than 
one the two revealed for the first time that 
life is not only sin and sorrow. Even the 
days of this life have their glory. 

Peter Lo, little by little, soared upwards 
from his former level. He began to read 
books, to wear a white collar and use a 
pocket handkerchief at church. His speech 
grew as careful as that of the lensmand. 
Knowing himself and Skobelef to be the 
center of general observation, he developed 
a new sense of responsibility and a desire to 
become a worthy model for the many. 

True enough, we youngsters were not the 
only ones who included a fresh petition in 
our evening prayers: "O God, help me to 
become like Peter Lo when I grow up." 

Even the grown-ups imitated him. "You 
brush your shoes as carefully as Peter Lo," 
they would say to each other, and, "You 
wear a white collar like Peter Lo does." 



From that day Skobelef was a power m 
our valley. Peter Lo and Skobelef together 
united into a kind of higher being to be 
stared at by common people as they flashed 
by. The two excited the whole community 
into a quicker pace. A new sense of honor 
toward horses arose, which caused every 
owner to mind his beast with greater care 
until it showed up, sleek and well-groomed. 
Everybody began driving faster on the 
high-road; men also began talking more 



Skobelefs mission was originally to 
provide the district with a new race of 
horses, but he grew to be a spiritual power, 
an educational influence for the whole 
valley. 

Peter Lo, however, was worse off. He was 
no longer happy except in Skobelefs com- 
pany. He lost all inclination for farm work. 
He loved to flash through the district with 
his friend or to provide a silent sermon out- 
side the church with him. 



Skpbelef Was a Horse 



331 



People said that Peter Lo slept in the 
stable. They also said that the horse and 
the man were growing more and more to 
resemble each other. Skobclef developed 
an oblique smile for his lady friends, and 
Peter Lo's laughter sounded like whinnying 
when he met his acquaintances at church. 

Peter Lo's life was not very easy, after all. 
He was so very fond of everything beauti- 
ful, even though it did not belong to him. 
And when his pranks grew too outrageous 
he was very helpless, indeed. Then he went 
to church and partook of Holy Com- 
munion. 

Many a time we watched him coming 
to church, not driving his fierce stallion but 
with a staid elderly mare in front of his 
buggy. His sour-faced wife within her 
shawls was perched up in the vehicle. On 
one side walked the deacon, and on the 
other Peter Lo, head bent low. It was an 
act of public repentance which made many 
people laugh. "Peter's done some fool thing 
again," they would say. 

A few days afterwards, however, he 
would flash past us with Skobelef, so 
freshly eager for the joy of life and the joy 
of beauty that he was soon worse than ever. 
His wife wanted Skobelef to be sent away, 
and insisted that Peter would never be con- 
verted from his sins as long as he had the 
horse for a friend. 

On every farm in the valley, however, 
there soon grew up prancing black colts and 
fillies, and the buggy wheels began to roll 
more quickly along all roads. A lusty 
whinnying gladdened all minds. Men lifted 



their heads and looked about them merrily; 
women dared to laugh aloud, and young 
people once more started dancing. 

Skobelef, however, did not live long. He 
broke loose from his stable one fine night, 
and made for the mountain moors where 
he believed his beloved lady friends were 
enjoying freedom and fresh air. 

When Peter Lo found the stable empty 
in the morning he began crying out, and 
wailing as if he foresaw a tragedy. He 
understood well enough where his dear 
friend had gone, and people maintained 
afterward that he was running about among 
the hills whinnying like Skobelef, calling 
and coaxing his faithless friend. 

At last he found him. Skobelef had sunk 
up to his neck in a treacherous bog, and 
in his efforts to haul himself out of it one 
leg had broken; the splinters of the bone 
stuck out, and his eyes were bleeding from 
fly-bites. 

Peter wiped those poor eyes with soft 
grass, then gave his dear friend a raw egg 
with brandy. He wept for a while, and 
then at last he had to use his knife. 

From that day Peter Lo drove slowly 
along the roads. His head dropped and his 
beard turned gray. 

Today he is an old man, but he still 
dresses better than most of his neighbors 
and talks town language as he used to do 
before. When people speak to him of Sko- 
belef his eyes grow dim. 

"Skobelef!" he exclaims. "He was far 
more than a horse. He was a liberal educa- 
tion for every one of us." 



WTLBUR DANIEL STEELE (1886- ) 



Blue Murder 



from THE MAN WHO SAW THROUGH HEAVEN 

AND OTHER STORIES 



A well-written murder story is rare, and a well-written murder story 
about a horse is practically nonexistent, with the exception of the fine 
tale which follows. Here is fine local color, strong character portrayal f. 
and a surprise ending that is yet logical if one goes bac\ and studies 
the actors in the scenes. 




t Mill Crossing it was already past 
sunset. The rays, redder for what 
autumn leaves were left, still 
laid fire along the woods crowning the 
stony slopes of Jim Bluedge's pastures; but 
then the line of the dusk began and from 
that level it filled the valley, washing with 
transparent blue the buildings scattered 
about the bridge, Jim's house and horse 
sheds and hay barns, Frank's store, and 
Camden's blacksmith shop. 

The mill had been gone fifty years, but 
the falls which had turned its wheel still 
poured in the bottom of the valley, and 
when the wind came from the Footstool 
way their mist wet the smithy, built of the 
old stone on the old foundations, and 
their pouring drowned the clink of Cam- 
den's hammer. 

Just now they couldn't drown Camden's 
hammer, for he wasn't in the smithy; he 
was at his brother's farm. Standing inside 



the smaller of the horse paddocks behind the 
sheds he drove in stakes, one after another, 
cut green from saplings, and so disposed 
as to cover the more glaring of the weak- 
nesses in the five foot fence. From time 
to time, when one was done and another to 
do, he rested the head of his sledge in the 
pocket of his leather apron (he was never 
without it; it was as though it had grown 
on him, lumpy with odds and ends of his 
trade — bolts and nails and rusty pliers and 
old horseshoes) and, standing so, he mop-, 
ped the sweat from his face and looked 
up at the mountain. 

Of the three brothers he was the dumb 
one. He seldom had anything to say. It 
was providential (folks said) that of the 
three enterprises at the Crossing one was 
a smithy; for while he was a strong, big, 
hungry-muscled fellow, he never would 
have had the shrewdness to run the store 
or the farm. He was better at pounding — 



332 



Blue 

pounding while the fire reddened and the 
sparks flew, and thinking, and letting other 
people wonder what he was thinking of. 

Blossom Bluedge, his brother's wife, sat 
perched on the top bar of the paddock 
gate, holding her skirts around her ankles 
with a trifle too much care to be quite un- 
conscious, and watched him work. When 
he looked at the mountain he was looking 
at the mares, half a mile up the slope, 
grazing in a Hne as straight as soldiers, their 
heads all one way. But Blossom thought it 
was the receding light he was thinking of, 
and her own sense of misgiving returned 
and deepened. 

"You'd have thought Jim would be home 
before this, wouldn't you, Cam?" 

Her brother-in-law said nothing. 

"Cam, look at me!" 

It was nervousness, but it wasn't all 
nervousness — she was the prettiest girl in 
the valley; a small part of it was mingled 
coquetry and pique. 

The smith began to drive another stake, 
swinging the hammer from high overhead, 
his muscles playing in fine big rhythmical 
convulsions under the skin of his arms and 
chest, covered with short blond down. 
Studying him cornerwise. Blossom mut- 
tered, "Well, dont look at me, then!" 

He was too dumb for any use. He was as 
dumb as this : when all three of the Bluedge 
boys were after her a year ago, Frank, the 
storekeeper, had brought her candy: choco- 
lates wrapped in silver foil in a two-pound 
Boston box. Jim had laid before her the 
Bluedge farm and with it the dominance of 
the valley. And Camden! To the daughter 
of Ed Beck, the apple grower, Camden 
brought a box of apples! — and been be- 
wildered too, when, for all she could help 
it, she had had to clap a hand over her 



Murder 333 

mouth and run into tiie house to have her 

A little more than just bewildered, per- 
haps. Had she, or any of them, ever 
speculated about that?... He had been 
dumb enough before; but that was when 
he started being as dumb as he was now. 

Well, if he wanted to be dumb let him 
be dumb. Pouting her pretty lips and arch- 
ing her fine brows, she forgot the un- 
imaginative fellow and turned to the ridge 
again. And now, seeing the sun was quite 
gone, all the day's vague worries and dreads 
— held off by this and that — could not be 
held off longer. For weeks there had been 
so much talk, so much gossip and specula- 
tion and doubt. 

"Camden," she reverted suddenly. "Tell 
me one thing; did you hear — " 

She stopped there. Some people were 
coming into the kitchen yard, dark forms 
in the growing darkness. Most of them 
lingered at the porch, sitting on the steps 
and lighting their pipes. The one that came 
out was Frank, the second of her brothers- 
in-law. She was glad. Frank wasn't like 
Camden; he would talk. Turning and 
taking care of her skirts, she gave him a 
bright and sisterly smile. 

"Well, Frankie, what's the crowd?" 

Far from avoiding the smile, as Camden's 
habit was, the storekeeper returned it with a 
brotherly wink for good measure. "Oh, 
they're tired of waiting down the road, so 
they come up here to see the grand arrival." 
He was something of a man of the world; 
in his calling he acquired a fine turn for 
skepticism. "Don't want to miss being on 
hand to see what flaws they can pick in 
'Jim's five hundred dollar's worth of 
experiment.' " 

"Frank, ain't you the least bit worried 
over Jim? So Late?" 



334 

"Don't see why." 

*'A11 the same, I wish either you or Cam 
couldVe gone with him." 

* 'Don't see why. Had all the men from 
Perry's stable there in Twinshead to help 
him get the animal off the freight, and he 
took an extra rope and tlie log-chain and 
tlie heavy wagon, so I guess no matter how 
wild and woolly the devil is he'll scarcely be 
climbing over the tailboard. Besides, them 
Western horses ain't such a big breed; even 
a stallion." 

"All the same — (look the other way, 
Frankie)." Flipping her ankles over the 
rail, Blossom jumped down beside him. 
"Listen, Frank, tell me something; did you 
hear — did you hear the reason Jim's getting 
him cheap was because he killed a man out 
West there, what's-its-name, Wyoming .f^" 

Frank was taking off his sleeve protectors, 
the pins in his mouth. It was Camden, at 
the bars, speaking in his sudden deep rough 
way, "who the hell told you that?" 

Frank got the pins out of his mouth. "I 
guess what it is, Blossie, what's mixed you 
up is his having that name 'Blue Murder.' " 

"No sir ! I got some sense and some ears. 
You don't go fooling me." 

Frank laughed indulgently and struck 
her shoulder with a light hand. 

"Don't worry. Between two horsemen 
like Jim and Cam — " 

"Don't Cam me! He's none of my horse. 
I told Jim once — " Breaking off, Camden 
hoisted his weight over the fence and stood 
outside, his feet spread and his hammer in 
both hands, an attitude that would have 
looked a little ludicrous had anyone been 
watching him. 

Jim had arrived. With a clatter of hoofs 
and a rattle of wheels he was in the yard 
and come to a standstill, calling aloud as 



Wilbtcr Daniel Steele 

he threw the lines over the team, "Well, 
friends, here we are." 

The curious began to edge around, 
closing a cautious circle. The dusk had 
deepened so that it was hard to make any- 
thing at any distance of Jim's "experiment" 
but a blurry silhouette anchored at the 
wagon's tail. The farmer put an end to it, 
crying from his eminence, "Now, now, 
clear out and don't worry him; give him 
some peace tonight, for Lord's sake! Git!" 
He jumped to the ground and began to 
whack his arms, chilled with driving, only 
to have them pinioned by Blossom's without 
warning. 

"Oh, Jim, I'm so glad you come. I been 
so worried; gi' me a kiss!" 

The farmer reddened, eyeing the cloud 
of witnesses. He felt awkward and wished 
she could have waited. "Get along, didn't I 
tell you fellows?" he cried with a trace of 
the Bluedge temper. "Go and wait in the 
kitchen then; I'll tell you all about every- 
thing soon's I come in. . . . Well now — 
wife—" 

"What's the matter?" she laughed, an 
eye over her shoulder. "Nobody's looking 
that matters. I'm sure Frank don't mind. 
And as for Camden — " 

Camden wasn't looking at them. Still 
standing with his hammer two-fisted and 
his legs spread, his chin down and his 
thoughts to himself (the dumb head) he 
was looking at Blue Murder, staring at that 
other dumb head, which, raised high on the 
motionless column of the stallion's neck, 
seemed hearkening with an exile's doubt 
to the sounds of this new universe, testing 
with wide nostrils the taint in the wind of 
equine strangers, and studying with eyes 
accustomed to far horizons these dark pas- 
tures that went up in the air. 

Whatever the smith's cogitations, pres- 



Blue 

ently he let the hammer down and said 
aloud, "So you're him, eh?" 

Jim put Blossom aside, saying, "Got 
supper ready? I'm hungry!" Excited by the 
act of kissing and the sense of witnesses to 
it, she fussed her hair and started kitchen- 
wards as he turned to his brothers. 

"Well, what do you make of him?" 

"Five hundred dollars," said Frank. 
"However, it's your money." 

Camden was shorter. "Better put him in." 

"All right; let them bars down while 
I and Frank lead him around." 

"No thanks!" the storekeeper kept his 
hands in his pockets. "I just cleaned up, 
thanks. Cam's the boy for horses." 

"He's none o' my horse!" Camden wet 
his lips, shook his shoulders, and scowled. 
"Be damned, no!" He never had the right 
words, and it made him mad. Hadn't he 
told Jim from the beginning that he washed 
his hands of this fool Agricultural College 
squandering, "and a man-killer to the 
bargain?" 

"Unless," Frank put in slyly, "unless 
Cam's scared." 

"Oh, is Cam scared?" 

"Scared?" And still to the brothers' en- 
during wonder, the big dense fellow would 
rise to that boyhood bait. "Scared ? The hell 
I'm scared of any horse ever wore a shoe! 
Come on, I'll show you! I'll show you!" 

"Well, be gentle with him, boys, he may 
be brittle." As Frank sauntered off around 
the shed he whistled the latest tune. 

In the warmth and light of the kitchen 
he began to fool with his pretty sister-in- 
law, feigning princely impatience and 
growling with a wink at the assembled 
neighbors, "When do we eat?" 

But she protested, "Land, I had every- 
thing ready since five, ain't I? And now 



Murder 335 

if it ain't you it's them to wait for. I de- 
clare for men!" 

At last one of the gossips got in a word. 

"What you make of Jim's purchase, 
Frank?" 

"Well, it's Jim's money, Darrcd. If / \\rA 
the running of this farm — " Frank began 
drawing up chairs noisily, leaving it at that. 

Darred persisted. "Don't look to mc 
much like an animal for women and chil- 
dren to handle, not yet awhile." 

"Cowboys han'les 'em, pa." That was 
Darred's ten-year-old, big-eyed. 

Blossom put the kettle back, protesting, 
"Leave off, or you'll get me worried to 
death; all your talk... I declare, where 
are those bad boys?" opening the door she 
called into the dark, "Jim! Cam! Land's 
sake!" 

Subdued by distance and the intervening 
sheds, she could hear them at their business 
— sounds muffled and fragmentary, soft 
thunder of hoofs, snorts, puffings, and the 
short words of men in action: "Aw, leave 
him be in the paddock tonight." . . . "With 
them mares there, you damn fool?''... 
"Damn fool, eh ? Try getting him in at that 
door and see who's the damn fool!"... 
"Come on, don't be so scared" . . . "Scared, 
eh? Scared?"... 

Why was it she always felt that curious 
tightening of all her powers of attention 
when Camden Bluedge spoke? Probably 
because he spoke so rarely, and then so 
roughly, as if his own thickness made him 
mad. Never mind. 

"Last call for supper in the dining-car, 
boys!" she called and closed the door. Turn- 
ing back to the stove she was about to 
replace the tea water for the third time, 
when, straightening up, she said, "What's 
that?" 



336 



No one else had heard anything. They 
looked at one another. 

"Frank, go — go see what — go tell the boys 
come in." 

Frank hesitated, feeling foolish, then 
went to the door. 

Then everyone in the room was out of his 
chair. 

There were three sounds. The first was 
human and incoherent. The second was in- 
coherent too, but it wasn't human. The 
third was a crash, a ripping and splintering 
of wood. 

When they got to the paddock they found 
Camden crawling from beneath the wreck- 
age of the fence where a gap was opened 
on the pasture side. He must have received 
a blow on the head, for he seemed dazed. 
He didn't seem to know they were there. 
At a precarious balance — one hand at the 
back of his neck — he stood facing up the 
hill, gaping after the diminuendo of 
floundering hoofs, invisible above. 

So seconds passed. Again the beast gave 
tongue, a high wild horning note, and on 
the black of the stony hill to the right of 
it a faint shower of sparks blew like fire- 
flies where the herding mares wheeled. It 
seemed to waken the dazed smith. He 
opened his mouth ''Almighty GodT Swing- 
ing, he flung his arms towards the shed. 
''There! There!" 

At last someone brought a lantern. They 
found Jim Bluedge lying on his back in 
the corner of the paddock near the door to 
the shed. In the lantern light, and still 
better in the kitchen when they had carried 
him in, they read the record of the thing 
which Camden, dunib in good earnest now, 
seemed unable to tell them with anything 
but his strange unfocused stare. 

The bloody offense to the skull would 
have been enough to kill the man, but it 



Wilbur Daniel Steele 

was the second, full on the chest above the 
heart, that told the tale. On the caved grat- 
ing of the ribs, already turning blue under 
the yellowish down, the iron shoe had left 
its mark; and when, laying back the rag of 
shirt, they saw that the toe of the shoe 
was upward and the cutting calkends down 
they knew all they wanted to know of that 
swift, black, crushing episode. 

No outlash of heels in fright. Here was 
a forefoot. An attack aimed and frontal ; an 
onslaught reared, erect; beast turned biped; 
red eyes mad to white eyes aghast . . . And 
only afterward, when it was done, the 
blood-fright that serves the horse for con- 
science; the blind rush across the inclosure; 
the fence gone down. . . . 

No one had much to say. No one seemed 
to know what to do. 

As for Camden, he was no help. He 
simply stood propped on top of his logs of 
legs where someone had left him. From 
the instant when with his "Almighty God!'* 
he had been brought back to memory, in- 
stead of easing its hold as the minutes 
passed, the event to which he remained the 
only living human witness seemed minute 
by minute to tighten its grip. It set its sweat- 
beaded stamp on his face, distorted his eyes, 
and tied his tongue. He was no good to 
anyone. 

As for Blossom, even now — ^perhaps more 
than ever now — her dependence on physi- 
cal touch was the thing that ruled her. 
Down on her knees beside the lamp they 
had set on the floor, she plucked at one 
of the dead man's shoes monotonously, and 
as it were idly, swaying the toe like an in- 
verted pendulum from side to side. That 
was all. Not a word. And when Frank, the 
only one of the three with any sense, got 
her up finally and led her away to her 
room, she clung to him. 



Blue Murder 

It was lucky that Frank was a man of 
affairs. His brother was dead, and fright- 
fully dead, but there was tomorrow for 
grief. Just now there were many things to 
do. There were people to be gotten rid of. 
With short words and angry gestures he 
cleared them out, all but Darred and a 
man named White, and to these he said, 
"Now first thing, Jim can't stay here." He 
ran and got a blanket from a closet. "Give 
me a hand and we'll lay him in the ice 
house overnight. Don't sound so good, but 
it's best, poor fellow. Cam, come along!" 
He waited a moment, and as he studied 
the wooden fool the blood poured back into 
his face. "Wake up. Cam! You great big 
scared stiff, you!" 

Camden brought his eyes out of nothing- 
ness and looked at his brother. A twinge 
passed over his face, convulsing the mouth 
muscles. "Scared?" 

"Yes, you're scared!" Frank's lip lifted, 
showing the tips of his teeth. "And I'll 
warrant you something: if you wasn't the 
scared stiff you was, this hellish damn thing 
wouldn't have happened, maybe. Scared! 
You a blacksmith! Scared of a horse!" 

''HorseT Again that convulsion of the 
mouth muscles, something between irony 
and an idiot craft. "Why don't you go 
catch 'im.?" 

"Hush it! Don't waste time by going 
loony now, for God's sake. Come!" 

"My advice to anybody — " Camden 
looked crazier than ever, knotting his 
brows. "My advice to anybody is to let 
somebody else go catch that — that — " 
Opening the door he faced out into the 
night, his head sunk between his shoulders 
and the fingers working at the ends of his 
hanging arms; and before they knew it he 
began to swear. They could hardly hear 
because his teeth were locked and his 



337 
breath soft. There were all the vile words 
he had ever heard in his life, curses and 
threats and abominations, vindictive, vio- 
lent, obscene. He stopped only when at a 
sharp word from Frank he was made 
aware that Blossom had come back into 
the room. Even then he didn't seem to com- 
prehend her return but stood blinking at 
her, and at the rifle she carried, with his 
distraught bloodshot eyes. 

Frank comprehended. Hysteria had fol- 
lowed the girl's blankncss. Stepping be- 
tween her and the body on the floor, he 
spoke in a persuasive, unhurried way. 
"What are you doing with that gun, 
Blossie? Now, now, you don't want that 
gun, you know you don't." 

It worked. Her rigidity lessened appre- 
ciably. Confusion gained. 

"Well, but — oh, Frank — well, but when 
we going to shoot him?" 

"Yes, yes, Blossie — now, yes — only you 
best give me that gun, that's the girlie." 
When he had got the weapon he put an arm 
around her shoulders. "Yes, yes, course 
we're going to shoot him; what you think? 
Don't want an animal like that running 
round. Now first thing in the morning—" 

Hysteria returned. With its strength she 
resisted his leading. 

"No, now! Nowr 

"He's gone and killed Jim! Killed my 
husband! I won't have him left alive an- 
other minute! I won't! Now! No sir, I'm 
going myself, I am! Frank, I am! Cam!" 

At his name, appealed to in tliat queer 
screeching way, the man in tlie doorway 
shivered all over, wet his lips, and walked 
out into the dark. 

"There, you see?" Frank was quick to 
capitalize anything. "Cam's gone to do it. 
Cam's gone, Blossie! . . . Here, one of you— 



^-8 



Wilbur Daniel Steele 



Darred, take this gun and run give it to 
Camden, that's the boy." 

"You sure he'll kill him, Frank? you 
sure?" 

"Sure as daylight. Now you come along 
back to your room like a good girl and get 
some rest. Come, I'll go with you." 

When Frank returned to the kitchen ten 
minutes later, Darred was back. 

"Well, now, let's get at it and carry out 

poor Jim; he can't lay here Where's 

Cam gone rioiv, damn him !" 

"Cam ? Why, he's gone and went." 

"Went where.?" 

"Up the pasture, like you said." 

"Like I " Frank went an odd color. 

He walked to the door. Between the light 
on the sill and the beginnings of the stars 
where the woods crowned the mountain 
was all one blackness. One stillness too. 
He turned on Darred. "But look, you never 
gave him that gun, even." 

"He didn't want it." 

"Lord's sake; what did he say?" 

"Said nothing. He'd got the log-chain 
out of the wagon and when I caught him 
he was up hunting his hammer in under 
that wreck at the fence. Once he found it 
he started off up. 'Cam,' says I, 'here's a 
gun, want it ?' He seem not to. Just went on 
walking up." 

"How'd he look?" 

"Look same's you seen him looking. 
Sick." 

"The damned fool!" . . . 

Poor dead Jim! Poor fool Camden! As 
the storekeeper went about his business, and 
afterward when, the ice house door closed 
on its tragic tenant and White and Darred 
gone off home, he roamed the yard, driven 
here and there, soft-footed, waiting, heark- 
ening — his mind was for a time not on 
his own property but the plaything of 



thoughts diverse and wayward. Jim his 
brother, so suddenly and so violently gone. 
The stallion. That beast that had kicked 
him to death. With anger and hate and 
pitiless impatience of time he thought of 
the morrow, when they would catch him 
and take their revenge with guns and clubs. 
Behind these speculations, covering the 
background of his consciousness and string- 
ing his nerves to endless vigil, spread the 
wall of the mountain: silent from instant 
to instant but devising under its black 
silence (who-could-know-what instant to 
come) a neigh, a yell, a spark-line of iron 
hoofs on rolling flints, a groan. And still 
behind that and deeper into the borders of 
the unconscious, the storekeeper thought of 
the farm that had lost its master, the rich 
bottoms, the broad, well-stocked pastures, 
the fat barns, and the comfortable house 
whose chimneys and gable ends fell into 
changing shapes of perspective against the 
stars as he wandered here and there.... 

Jim gone. ...And Camden, at any mo- 
ment . . . 

His face grew hot. An impulse carried 
him a dozen steps. "I ought to go up. Ought 
to take the gun and go up." But there 
shrewd sanity put on the brakes. "Where's 
the use? Couldn't find him in this dark. 
Besides I oughtn't to leave Blossom here 
alone." 

With that he went around toward the 
kitchen, thinking to go in. But the sight 
of the lantern, left burning out near the 
sheds, sent his ideas off on another course. 
At any rate it would give his muscles and 
nerves something to work on. Taking the 
lantern and entering the paddock, he fell 
to patching the gap into the pasture, using 
broken boards from the wreck. As he 
worked his eyes chanced to fall on foot- 
prints in the dung-mixed earth — Camden's 



Blue Murder 



footprints, leading away beyond the little 
ring of light. And beside them, taking off 
from the landing-place of that prodigious 
leap, he discerned the trail of the stallion. 
After a moment he got down on his knees 
where the earth was softest, holding the 
lantern so that its light fell full. 

He gave over his fence building. Return- 
ing to the house his gait was no longer 
that of the roamer; his face, caught by the 
periodic flare of the swinging lantern, was 
the face of another man. In its expression 
there was a kind of fright and a kind of 
calculating eagerness. He looked at the 
clock on the kitchen shelf, shook it, and 
read it again. He went to the telephone and 
fumbled at the receiver. He waited till his 
hand quit shaking, then removed it from 
the hook. 

"Listen, Darred,'* he said, when he had 
got the farmer at last, "get White and what- 
ever others you can and come over first 
thing it's light. Come a-riding and bring 
your guns. No, Cam ain't back." 

He heard Blossom calling. Outside her 
door he passed one hand down over his 
face, as he might have passed a wash rag 
to wipe off what was there. Then he went 
in. 

"What's the matter, Blossie? Can't 
sleep.?" 

"No, I can't sleep. Can't think. Can't 
sleep. Oh, Frankie!" 

He sat down beside the bed. 

"Oh, Frankie, Frankie, hold my handT 

She looked almost homely, her face 
bleached out and her hair in a mess on the 
pillow. But she would get over that. And 
the short sleeve of the nightgown on the 
arm he held was edged with pretty lace. 

"Got your watch here?" he asked. She 
gave it to him from under the pillow. This 



SM 



too he shook as if he couldn't believe it wa5 
going. 

Pretty Blossom Beck. Here for a wonder 
he sat in her bcdrrxjm and held her hand. 
One brother was dead and the other was on 
the mountain. 

But little by litde, as he sat and dreamed 
so, nightmare crept over his brain. He had 
to arouse and shake himself. He had to set 

his thoughts resolutely in other roads 

Perhaps there would be even the smithy. 
The smithy, the store, the farm. Complete. 
The farm, the farmhouse, the room in the 
farmhouse, the bed in the room, the wife in 

the bed. Complete beyond belief. If 

Worth dodging horror for. If . . . 

"Frank, has Cam come back V* 

"Cam } Don't worry about Cam . . . 
Where's that watch again } . . ." 

Far from rounding up their quarry in the 
early hours after dawn, it took the riders, 
five of them, till almost noon simply to 
make certain that he wasn't to be found — 
not in any of the pastures. Then when they 
discovered the hole in the fence far up in 
the woods beyond the crest where Blue 
Murder had led the mares in a break for 
the open country of hills and ravines to die 
south, they were only beginning. 

The farmers had left their w-ork undone 
at home and, as the afternoon lengthened 
and with it the shadows in the hollow 
places, they began to eye one another be- 
hind their leader's back. Yet they couldn't 
say it; there was something in the store- 
keeper's air today, something zealous and 
pitiless and fanatical, that shut them up 
and pulled them plodding on. 

Frank did the trailing. Hopeless of get- 
ting anywhere before sundown in that un- 
kempt widerness of a hundred square 
miles of scrub, his companions slouched in 



340 Wilbur Daniel Steele 

their saddles and rode more and more 
mechanically, knee to knee, and it was he 
who made the casts to recover the lost 
trail and, dismounting to read the dust, 
cried back, "He's still with 'em," and with 
gestures of imperious excitement beckoned 
them on. 

"Which you mean?" Darred asked him 
once. "Cam or the horse .f^'* 

Frank wheeled his beast and spurred back 
at the speaker. It was extraordinary. "You 
don't know what you're talking about!" 
he cried, with a causelessness and a dis- 
ordered vehemence that set them first star- 
ing, then speculating. "Come on, you 
dumb heads; don't talk — rider 

By the following day, when it was being 
told in all the farmhouses, the story might 
vary in details and more and more as the 
tellings multiplied, but in its fundamentals 
it remained the same. In one thing they 
certainly all agreed : they used the same ex- 
pression — "It was like Frank was drove. 
Drove in a race against something, and not 
sparing the whip." 

They were a good six miles to the south 
of the fence. Already the road back home 
would have to be followed three parts in 
the dark. 

Darred was the spokesman. "Frank, I'm 
going to call it a day." 

The others reined up with him but the 
man ahead rode on. He didn't seem to 
hear. Darred lifted his voice, "Come on, 
call it a day, Frank. Tomorrow, maybe. 
But you see we've run it out and they're not 
here." 

"Wait," said Frank over his shoulder, 
still riding on into the pocket. 

White's mount, a mare, laid back her 
ears, shied, and stood trembling. After a 
moment she whinnied. 

It was as if she had whinnied for a 



dozen. A crashing in the woods above them 
to the left and the avalanche came — down 
streaming, erupting, wheeling, wheeling 
away with volleying snorts, a dark rout. 

Darred, reining his horse, began to 
shout, "Here they go this way, Frank!" But 
Frank was yelling, "Up here, boys! This 
way, quick!" 

It was the same note, excited, feverish, 
disordered, breaking like a child's. When 
they neared him they saw he was off his 
horse, rifle in hand, and down on his knees 
to study the ground where the woods began. 
By the time they reached his animal the 
impetuous fellow had started up into the 
cover, his voice trailing, "Come on; spread 
out and come on!" 

One of the farmers got down. When he 
saw the other three keeping their saddles 
he swung up again. 

White spoke this time. "Be darned if I 
do!" He lifted a protesting hail. "Come 
back here, Frank! You're crazy! It's getting 
dark!" 

It was Frank's own fault. They told him 
plainly to come back and he wouldn't 
listen. 

For a while they could hear his crackle 
in the mounting underbrush. Then that 
stopped, whether he had gone too far 
for their ears or whether he had come to a 
halt to give his own ears a chance. . . . Once, 
off to the right, a little higher up under 
the low ceiling of the trees that darkened 
moment by moment with the rush of night, 
they heard another movement, another 
restlessness of leaves and stones. Then that 
was still, and everything was still. 

Darred ran a sleeve over his face and 
swung down. "God alive, boys!" 

It was the silence. All agreed there — ^the 
silence and the deepening dusk. 

The first they heard was the shot. No 



Blue Murder 



voice. Just the one report. Then after five 
breaths of another silence a crashing of 
growth, a charge in the darkness under 
the withered scrub, continuous and dimin- 
ishing. 

They shouted "Frank!" No answer. They 
called, "¥ran\ Blued gel' ' 

Now, since they had to, they did. Keep- 
ing contact by word, and guided partly by 
directional memory (and mostly in the end 
by luck), after a time they found the store- 
keeper in a brake of ferns, lying across his 
gun. 

They got him down to the open, watch- 
ing behind them all the while. Only then, 
by the flares of successive matches, under 
the noses of the snorting horses, did they 
look for the damage done. 

They remembered the stillness and the 
gloom; it must have been quite black in 
there. The attack had come from behind — 
equine and pantherine at once, and planned 
and cunning. A deliberate lunge with a 
forefoot again: the shoe which had crushed 
the backbone between the shoulder blades 
was a fore shoe; that much they saw by the 
match flares in the red wreck. 

They took no longer getting home than 
they had to, but it was longer than they 
wished. With Frank across his own saddle, 
walking their horses and with one or an- 
other ahead to pick the road (it was going 
to rain, and even the stars were lost), they 
made no more than a creeping speed. 

None of them had much to say on the 
journey. Finding the break in the boundary 
fence and feeling through the last of the 
woods, the lights of their farms began to 
show in the pool of blackness below, and 
Darred uttered a part of what had lain 
in their minds during the return. 

"Well, that leaves Cam." 

None followed it up. None cared to go 



W 



any closer than he was to the real question. 
Something new, alien, menacing and pitiless 
had come into the valley of their lives with 
that beast they had never really seen; they 
felt its oppression, every one, and kept the 
real question back in their minds: "Doa it 
leave Cam?" 

It answered itself. Camden was at home 
when they got there. 

He had come in a little before them, 
empty-handed. Empty-headed torj. When 
Blossom, who had waited all day, part of the 
time with neighbor women who had come 
in and part of the time alone to the point 
of going mad — when she saw him coming 
down the pasture, his feet stumbling and 
his shoulders dejected, her first feeling was 
relief. Her first words, however were, "Did 
you get him, Cam.^" And all he would an- 
swer was, "Gi' me something to eat, can't 
you } Qf\ me a few hours' sleep, can't you } 
Then wait!" 

He looked as if he would need more 
than a few hours' sleep. Propped on his 
elbows over his plate, it seemed as though 
his eyes would close before his mouth would 
open. 

His skin was scored by thorns and his 
shirt was in ribbons under tlie straps of his 
iron-sagged apron; but it was not by these 
marks that his twenty-odd hours showed: 
it was by his face. While yet his eyes were 
open and his wits still half awake, his face 
surrendered. The flesh relaxed into lines 
of stupor, a putty-formed, putty-colored 
mask of sleep. 

Once he let himself be aroused. This was 
when, to an abstracted query as to Frank's 
whereabouts, Blossom told him Frank had 
been out with four others since dawn. He 
heaved clear of the table and opened his 
eyes at her, showing the red around the 
rims. 



342 

He spoke with the tliick tongue of the 
drunkard. "If anybody but me lays hand 
on that stalHon I'll kill him. I'll wring his 
neck." 

Then he relapsed into his stupidity, and 
not even the arrival of the party bringing 
his brother's body home seemed able to 
shake him so far clear of it again. 

At £rst, when they had laid Frank on the 
floor where on the night before they had 
laid Jim, he seemed hardly to comprehend. 

*'What's wrong witli Frank .f^" 

*'Some more of Jim's ^experiment.' " 

*Trank see him? He's scared, Frank is. 
Look at his face there." 

"He's dead, Cam." 

*'Dead, you say? Frank dead? Dead of 
fright; is that it?" 

Even when, rolling the body over they 
showed him what was what, he appeared 
incapable of comprehension, of amazement, 
of passion, or of any added grief. He looked 
at them all with a kind of befuddled protest. 
Returning to chair and his plate, he grum- 
bled, "Le' me eat first, can't you? Can't 
you gi' me a little time to sleep?" 

"Well, you wouldn't do much tonight 
anyway, I guess." 

At White's words Blossom opened her 
mouth for the first time. 

"No, nothing tonight, Cam. Cam! Cam- 
den! Say! Promise!" 

"And then tomorrow, Cam, what we'll 
do is to get every last man in the valley, and 
we'll go at this right. We'll lay hand on 
that devil — " 

Camden swallowed his mouthful of cold 
steak with difficulty. His obession touched, 
he showed them the rims of his eyes again. 

"You do and I'll wring your necks. The 
man that touches that animal before I do 
gets his neck wrang. That's all you need to 
remember." 



Wilbur Daniel Steele 

"Yes, yes — ^no — that is — " Poor Blossom. 
"Yes, Mr. White, thanks; no. Cam's not 

going out tonight No, Cam, nobody's 

going to interfere — nor nothing. Don't you 
worry there. . . ." 

Again poor Blossom! Disaster piled too 
swiftly on disaster; no discipline but instinct 
left. Caught in fire and flood and earth- 
quake and not knowing what to come, and 
no creed but "save him who can!" — by 
hook or crook of wile or smile. With the 
valley of her life emptied out, and its empti- 
ness repeopled monstrously and pressing 
down black on the roof under which (now 
that Frank was gone to the ice house too 
and the farmers back home) one brother 
was left of three — she would tread softly, 
she would talk or she would be dumb, as 
her sidelong glimpses of the awake-asleep 
man's face above the table told her was the 
instant's need; or if he would eat, she would 
magic out of nothing something, anything; 
or if he would sleep, he could sleep, so long 
as he slept in that house where she could 
know he was sleeping. 

Only one thing. If she could touch him. 
If she could touch and cling. 

Lightning filled the windows. After a mo- 
ment the thunder came avalanching down 
the pasture and brought up against the clap- 
boards of the house. At this she was behind 
his chair. She put out a hand. She touched 
his shoulder. The shoulder was bare, the 
shirt ripped away; it was caked with sweat 
and with the blackening smears of scratches, 
but for all its exhaustion it was flesh alive — 
a living man to touch. 

Camden blundered up. "What the hell!" 
He started off two steps and wheeled on her. 
"Why don't you get off to bed for GoU 
sake!" 

Yes, Cam, yes — right off, yes.'* 



"'^j 



"Well, Vm going, I can tell you. For Goll 
sake, I need some sleep!" 

"Yes, that's right, yes, Cam, good night. 
Cam — only — only you promise — promise 
you won't go out — nowheres." 

"Go out? Not likely I won't! Not lively I 
Get along." 

It took her no time to get going then — 
quick and quiet as a mouse. 

Camden lingered to stand at one of the 
windows where the lightning came again, 
throwing the black barns and paddocks at 
him from the white sweep of the pastures 
crowned by woods. 

As it had taken her no time to go, it took 
Blossom no time to undress and get in bed. 
When Camden was on his way to his room 
he heard her calling, "Cam! Just a second. 
Cam!" 

In the dark outside her door he drew one 
hand down over his face, wiping o& what- 
ever might be there. Then he entered. 

"Yes.? What.?" 

"Cam, set by me a minute, won't you.? 
And Cam, oh Cam, hold my hand." 

As he slouched down, his fist inclosing 
her fingers, thoughts awakened and ran and 
fastened on things. They fastened, tenta- 
tively at first, upon the farm. Jim gone. 
Frank gone. The smithy, the store, and the 
farm. The whole of Mill Crossing. The trin- 
ity. The three in one. ... 

"Tight, Cam, for pity's sake! Hold it 
tight!" 

His eyes, falling to his fist, strayed up 
along the arm it held. The sleeve, rumpled 
near the shoulder, was trimmed with pretty 
lace. . . . 

"Tighter, Cam!" 

A box of apples. That memory hidden 
away in the cellar of his mind. Hidden 
away, clamped down in the dark, till the 
noxious vapors, the murderous vapors of its 



Blue Murder y^-r 

rotting had filled the shut-up house he was. 



... A box of red apples for the apple grow- 
er's girl . . . the girl who sniggered and ran 
away from him to laugh at him. . . . 

And here, by the unfolding of a devious 
destiny, he sat in that girl's bcdrrxjm, hold- 
ing that girl's hand. Jim who had got her, 
Frank who had wanted her lay side by side 
out there in the ice house under the light- 
ning. While he, the "dumb one" — the last 
to be thought of with anything but amuse- 
ment and the last to be feared — his big hot 
fist inclosing her imprecating hand now, 
and his eyes on the pretty lace at her shoul- 
der — He jumped up with a gulp and a 
clatter of iron. 

"What the " He flung her hand away. 

"What the hell!" He swallowed. 

"Damn you, Blossie Beck!" He stared at her 
with repugnance and mortal fright. "Why, 
you — you — you — ' ' 

He moderated his voice with an effort, 
wiping his brow, "Good night. You must 
excuse me, Blossie; I wasn't meaning — I 

mean — I hope you sleep good. 7 shall 

Good night!" 

In his own brain was the one word 
"Hurry!" 

She lay and listened to his boots going 
along the hall and heard die closing of his 
door. She ought to have put out the lamp. 
But even widi tlie shades drawn, the light- 
ning around the edges of the window un- 
nerved her; in the dark alone it would have 
been more than she could bear. 

She lay so still she felt herself nearing 
exhaustion from the sustained rigidity of 
her limbs. Rain came and with the rain, 
wind. Around the eaves it neighed like wild 
stallions; down the chimneys it moaned like 
men. 

Slipping out of bed and pulling on a 



344 Wilbur Daniel Steele 

bathrobe she ran from her room, barefooted, 
and along the hall to Camden's door. 

"Cam!" she called. "Oh, Cam!" she 
begged. "Please, please!" 

And now he wouldn't answer her. 

New lightning, dil^used through all the 
sky by the blown rain, ran at her along the 
corridor. She pushed the door open. The 
lamp was burning on the bureau but die 
room was empty and the bed untouched. 

Taking the lamp she skittered down to 
the kitchen. No one there 



''Hurryr 

Camden had reached the woods when 
the rain came. Lighting the lantern he had 
brought, he made his way on to the bound- 
ary fence. There, about a mile to the east 
of the path the others had taken that day, 
he pulled the rails down and tumbled the 
stones together in a pile. Then he proceeded 
another hundred yards, holding the lantern 
high and peering through the streaming 
crystals of the rain. 

Blue Murder was there. Neither the chain 
nor the sapling had given way. The lantern 
and, better than the lantern, a globe of 
lightning, showed the tethered stallion glis- 
tening and quivering, his eyes all whites at 
the man's approach. 

"Gentle, boy; steady, boy!" Talking all 
the while in the way he had with horses, 
Camden put a hand on the taut chain 
and bore with a gradually progressive 
weight, bringing the dark head nearer. 
"Steady, boy; gentle there, damn you; 
gentle!" 

Was he afraid of horses.? Who said he 
was afraid of horses ? 

The beast's head was against the man's 
chest, held there by an arm thrown over 
the bowed neck. As he smoothed the fore- 
head and fingered the nose with false ca- 



resses, Camden's "horse talk" ran on — the 
cadence one thing, the words another. 

"Steady, GoU damn you; you're going to 
get yours. Cheer up, cheer up, the worst is 
yet to come. Come now ! Come easy 1 Come 
along!" 

When he had unloosed the chain he felt 
for and found with his free hand his ham- 
mer hidden behind the tree. Throwing the 
lantern into the brush where it flared for an 
instant before dying, he led the stallion 
back as far as the break he had made in the 
fence. Taking a turn with the chain around 
the animal's nose, like an improvised hacka- 
more, he swung from the stone pile to the 
slippery back. A moment's shying, a sliding 
caracole of amazement and distrust, a crush- 
ing of knees, a lash of the chain end, and 
that was all there was to that. Blue Murder 
had been ridden before 

In the smithy, chambered in the roaring 
of the falls and the swish and shock of the 
storm, Camden sang as he pumped his bel- 
lows, filling the cave beneath the rafters 
with red. The air was nothing, the words 
were mumbo-jumbo, but they swelled his 
chest. His eyes, cast from time to time at 
his wheeling prisoner had lost their look of 
helplessness and surly distraction. 

Scared? He? No, no, no! Now that he 
wasn't any longer afraid of time, he wasn't 
afraid of anything on earth. 

"Shy, you devil!" He wagged his exalted 
head. "Whicker, you hellion! Whicker all 
you want to, stud horse ! Tomorrow they're 
going to get you, the numb fools ! Tomor- 
row they can have you. / got you tonightr 

He was more than other men; he was 
enormous. Fishing an iron shoe from that 
inseparable apron pocket of his, he thrust 
it into the coals and blew and blew. He 
tried it and it was burning red. He tried it 
again and it was searing white. Taking it 



Blue 

out on the anvil he began to beat It, swing- 
ing his hammer one-handed, gigantic. So 
in the crimson Hght, irradiating iron sparks, 
he was at his greatest. Pounding, pounding. 
A man in the dark of night with a hammer 
about him can do wonders; with a horse- 
shoe about him he can cover up a sin. And 
if the dark of night in a paddock won't 
hold it, then the dark of undergrowth on a 
mountainside will 

Pounding, pounding; thinking, thinking, 
in a great halo of hot stars. Feeding his hun- 
gry, his insatiable muscles. 

"Steady now, you blue bastard! Steady 
boy!" 

What he did not realize in his feverish 
exhaustion was that his muscles were not in- 
satiable. In the thirty-odd hours past they 
had had a feast spread before them and 
they had had their fill. . . . More than their 
fill. 

As with the scorching iron in his tongs 
he approached the stallion, he had to step 
over the nail box he had stepped over five 
thousand times in the routine of every day. 

A box of apples, eh ? Apples to snigger at, 
eh ? But whose girl are you now } ,. . Scared, 
eh? 

His foot was heavier of a sudden than it 
should have been. This five thousand and 
first time, by the drag of the tenth of an 
inch, the heel caught the lip of the nail box. 

He tried to save himself from stumbling. 
At the same time, instinctively, he held the 
iron flame in his tongs away. 



Murder -^5 

There was a scream out of a horse's 

throat; a whifT of hair and burnt flesh. 

There was a lash of something in the red 
shadows. There was another sound and an- 
other wisp of stench. . . . 

When, guided by the stalHon's whinny- 
ing, they found the smith next day, they 
saw by the cant of his head that his neck 
was broken, and they perceived that he too 
had on him the mark of a shoe. It lay up 
on one side of his throat and the broad of 
a cheek. It wasn't blue, this time, however 
— it was red. It took them some instants 
in the sunshine pouring through the wide 
door to comprehend this phenomenon. It 
wasn't sunk in by a blow this time; it was 
burned in, a brand. 

Darred called them to look at the stallion, 
chained behind the forge. 

"Almighty God!" The words sounded 
funny in his mouth. They sounded the fun- 
nier in that they were the same ones the 
blundering smith had uttered when, staring 
uphill from his clever wreckage of the pad- 
dock fence, he had seen the mares striking 
sparks from the stones where the stallion 
struck none. And he, of all men, a smith! 

"Almighty God!" called Darred. "What 
do you make of these here feet?" 

One fore hoof was freshly pared for shoe- 
ing; the other three hoofs were as virgin 
as any yearling's on the plains. Blue Murder 
had never yet been shod. ... 



JOHN STEINBECK (1902- ) 



The Gift 



from THE RED PONY 



John Steinbeck's Red Pony has already become a classic. It will continue 
to live long after its present readers are dead. Few other authors care to 
portray the grim, star\ reality of life, with so little to soften its tragedy. 




t daybreak Billy Buck emerged from 
the bunkhouse and stood for a 
moment on the porch looking 
up at the sky. He was a broad, bandy-legged 
little man with a walrus mustache, with 
square hands, puffed and muscled on the 
palms. His eyes were a contemplative, 
watery grey and the hair which protruded 
from under his Stetson hat was spiky and 
weathered. Billy was still stuffing his shirt 
into his blue jeans as he stood on the porch. 
He unbuckled his belt and tightened it 
again. The belt showed, by the worn shiny 
places opposite each hole, the gradual in- 
crease of Billy's middle over a period of 
years. When he had seen to the weather, 
Billy cleared each nostril by holding its 
mate closed with his forefinger and blowing 
fiercely. Then he walked down to the barn, 
rubbing his hands together. He curried and 
brushed two saddle horses in the stalls, talk- 
ing quietly to them all the time; and he 



had hardly finished when the iron triangle 
started ringing at the ranch house. Billy 
stuck the brush and currycomb together and 
laid them on the rail, and went up to 
breakfast. His action had been so deliberate 
and yet so wasteless of time that he came to 
the house while Mrs. Tiflin was still ring- 
ing the triangle. She nodded her grey head 
to him and withdrew into the kitchen. Billy 
Buck sat down on the steps, because he was 
a cow-hand, and it wouldn't be fitting that 
he should go first into the dining-room. He 
heard Mr. Tiflin in the house, stamping his 
feet into his boots. 

The high jangling note of the triangle 
put the boy Jody in motion. He was only a 
little boy, ten years old, with hair like dusty 
yellow grass and with shy polite grey eyes, 
and with a mouth that worked when he 
thought. The triangle picked him up out of 
sleep. It didn't occur to him to disobey the 
harsh note. He never had : no one he knew 



346 



The Red 

ever had. He brushed the tangled hair out 
of his eyes and skinned his nightgown off. 
In a moment he was dressed — blue cham- 
bray shirt and overalls. It was late in the 
summer, so of course there were no shoes 
to bother with. In the kitchen he waited 
until his mother got from in front of the 
sink and went back to the stove. Then he 
washed himself and brushed back his wet 
hair with his fingers. His mother turned 
sharply on him as he left the sink. Jody 
looked shyly away. 

"IVe got to cut your hair before long," 
his mother said. "Breakfast's on the table. 
Go on in, so Billy can come." 

Jody sat at the long table which was 
covered with white oilcloth washed through 
to the fabric in some places. The fried eggs 
lay in rows on their platter. Jody took three 
eggs on his plate and followed with three 
thick slices of crisp bacon. He carefully 
scraped a spot of blood from one of the tgg 
yolks. 

Billy Buck clumped in. "That won t hurt 
you," Billy explained. "That's only a sign 
the rooster leaves." 

Jody's tall stern father came in then and 
Jody knew from the noise on the floor that 
he was wearing boots, but he looked under 
the table anyway, to make sure. His father 
turned ofi the oil lamp over the table, for 
plenty of morning light now came through 
the w^indows. 

Jody did not ask where his father and 
Billy Buck were riding that day, but he 
wished he might go along. His father was 
a disciplinarian. Jody obeyed him in every- 
thing without questions of any kind. Now, 
Carl Tiflin sat down and reached for the 
tgg platter. 

"Got the cows ready to go, Billy?" he 
asked. 



Pony 347 

"In the lower corral," Billy said. "I could 
just as well take them in alone." 

"Sure you could. But a man needs com- 
pany. Besides your throat gets pretty dry." 
Carl Tiflin was jovial this morning. 

Jody's mother put her head in the door. 
"What time do you think to be back, Carl ?" 

"I can't tell. I've got to see some men in 
Salinas. Might be gone till dark." 

The eggs and coffee and big biscuits dis- 
appeared rapidly. Jody followed the two 
men out of the house. He watched them 
mount their horses and drive six old milk 
cows out of the corral and start over the 
hill toward Salinas. They were going to sell 
the old cows to the butcher. 

When they had disappeared over the 
crown of the ridge Jody walked up the hill 
in back of the house. The dogs trotted 
around the house corner hunching their 
shoulders and grinning horribly with pleas- 
ure. Jody patted their heads — Doubletree 
Mutt with the big thick tail and yellow eyes, 
and Smasher, the shepherd, who had killed 
a coyote and lost an ear in doing it. Smash- 
er's one good ear stood up higher than a 
collie's ear should. Billy Buck said that al- 
ways happened. After the frenzied greeting 
the dogs lowered their noses to the ground 
in a business-like way and went ahead, look- 
ing back now and then to make sure that 
the boy was coming. They w^alked up 
through the chicken yard and saw the quail 
eating with the chickens. Smasher chased 
the chickens a little to keep in practice in 
case there should ever be sheep to herd. Jody 
continued on through the large vegetable 
patch w^here the green corn was higher than 
his head. The cow^-pumpkins were green 
and small yet. He w^ent on to the sagebrush 
line where the cold spring ran out of its 
pipe and fell into a round wooden tub. He 



348 



]ohn Steinbec^ 



leaned over and drank close to the green 
mossy wood where the water tasted best. 
Then he turned and looked back on the 
ranch, on the low, whitewashed house 
girded with red geraniums, and on the long 
bunkhouse by the cypress tree where Billy 
Buck lived alone. Jody could see the great 
black kettle under the cypress tree. That was 
where the pigs were scalded. The sun was 
coming over the ridge now, glaring on the 
whitewash of the houses and barns, making 
the wet grass blaze softly. Behind him, in 
the tall sagebrush, the birds were scamper- 
ing on the ground, making a great noise 
among the dry leaves; the squirrels piped 
shrilly on the side-hills. Jody looked along 
at the farm buildings. He felt an uncer- 
tainty in the air, a feeling of change and 
of loss and of the gain of new and unfa- 
miliar things. Over the hillside two big 
black buzzards sailed low to the ground 
and their shadows slipped smoothly and 
quickly ahead of them. Some animal had 
died in the vicinity. Jody knew it. It might 
be a cow or it might be the remains of a 
rabbit. The buzzards overlooked nothing. 
Jody hated them as all decent things hate 
them, but they could not be hurt because 
they made away with carrion. 

After a v/hile the boy sauntered down 
hill again. The dogs had long ago given 
him up and gone into the brush to do things 
in their own way. Back through the vege- 
table garden he went, and he paused for a 
moment to smash a green muskmelon with 
his heel, but he was not happy about it. It 
was a bad thing to do, he knew perfectly 
well. He kicked dirt over the ruined melon 
to conceal it. 

Back at the house his mother bent over 
his rough hands, inspecting his fingers and 
nails. It did little good to start him clean 
to school for too many things could happen 



on the way. She sighed over the black cracks 
on his fingers, and then gave him his books 
and his lunch and started him on the mile 
walk to school. She noticed that his mouth 
was working a good deal this morning. 

Jody started his journey. He filled his 
pockets with little pieces of white quartz 
that lay in the road, and every so often he 
took a shot at a bird or at some rabbit that 
had stayed sunning itself in the road too 
long. At the crossroads over the bridge he 
met two friends and the three of them 
walked to school together, making ridicu- 
lous strides and being rather silly. School 
had just opened two weeks before. There 
was still a spirit of revolt among the pupils. 

It was four o'clock in the afternoon when 
Jody topped the hill and looked down on 
the ranch again. He looked for the saddle 
horses, but the corral was empty. His father 
was not back yet. He went slowly, then, 
toward the afternoon chores. At the ranch 
house, he found his mother sitting on the 
porch, mending socks. 

"There's two doughnuts in the kitchen 
for you," she said. Jody slid to the kitchen, 
and returned with half of one of the dough- 
nuts already eaten and his mouth full. His 
mother asked him what he had learned in 
school that day, but she didn't listen to his 
doughnut-muffled answer. She interrupted, 
"Jody, tonight see you fill the wood-box 
clear full. Last night you crossed the sticks 
and it wasn't only about half full. Lay the 
sticks flat tonight. And Jody, some of the 
hens are hiding eggs, or else the dogs are 
eating them. Look about in the grass and 
see if you can find any nests." 

Jody, still eating, went out and did his 
chores. He saw the quail come down to eat 
with the chickens when he threw out the 
grain. For some reason his father was proud 
to have them come. He never allowed any 



The Red Pony 



shooting near the house for fear the quail 
might go away. 

When the wood-box was full, Jody took 
his twenty-two rifle up to the cold spring 
at the brush line. He drank again and then 
aimed the gun at all manner of things, at 
rocks, at birds on the wing, at the big 
black pig kettle under the cypress tree, 
but he didn't shoot for he had no cartridges 
and wouldn't have until he was twelve. If 
his father had seen him aim the rifle in the 
direction of the house he would have put 
the cartridges off another year. Jody remem- 
bered this and did not point the rifle down 
the hill again. Two years was enough to 
wait for cartridges. Nearly all of his father's 
presents were given with reservations which 
hampered their value somewhat. It was 
good discipline. 

The supper waited until dark for his 
father to return. When at last he came in 
with Billy Buck, Jody could smell the de- 
licious brandy on their breaths. Inwardly he 
rejoiced, for his father sometimes talked to 
him when he smelled of brandy, sometimes 
even told things he had done in the wild 
days when he was a boy. 

After supper, Jody sat by the fireplace 
and his shy polite eyes sought the room cor- 
ners, and he waited for his father to tell 
what it was he contained, for Jody knew he 
had news of some sort. But he was disap- 
pointed. His father pointed a stern finger 
at him. 

"You'd better go to bed, Jody. I'm going 
to need you in the morning." 

That wasn't so bad. Jody liked to do the 
things he had to do as long as they weren't 
routine things. He looked at the floor and 
his mouth worked out a question before he 
spoke it. "What are we going to do in the 
morning, kill a pig?" he asked softly. 

"Never you mind. You better get to bed." 



When the door was closed behind him, 
Jody heard his father and Billy Buck chuck- 
ling and he knew it was a joke of some 
kind. And later, when he lay in bed, trying 
to make words out of the murmurs in the 
other room, he heard his father protest, 
"But, Ruth, I didn't give much for him." 

Jody heard the hoot-owls hunting mice 
down by the barn, and he heard a fruit 
tree limb tap-tapping against the house. A 
cow was lowing wlicn he went to sleep. 

When the triangle sounded in the morn- 
ing, Jody dressed more quickly even than 
usual. In the kitchen, while he washed his 
face and combed back his hair, his mother 
addressed him irritably. "Don't you go out 
until you get a good breakfast in you." 

He went into the dining-room and sat 
at the long white table. He took a steaming 
hotcake from the platter, arranged two fried 
eggs on it, covered them with another hot- 
cake and squashed the whole thing with 
his fork. 

His father and Billy Buck came in. Jody 
knew from the sound on the floor that both 
of them were wearing flat-heeled shoes, but 
he peered under the table to make sure. His 
father turned off the oil lamp, for the day 
had arrived, and he looked stern and dis- 
ciplinary, but Billy Buck didn't look at Jody 
at all. He avoided the shy questioning eyes 
of the boy and soaked a whole piece of toast 
in his coffee. 

Carl Tiflin said crossly, "You come with 
us after breakfast!" 

Jody had trouble with his food then, for 
he felt a kind of doom in the air. After 
Billy had dlted his saucer and drained the 
coffee which had slopped into it, and had 
wiped his hands on his jeans, the two men 
stood up from the table and went out into 
the morning light together, and Jody re- 



350 John 

spectfully followed a little behind them. He 
tried to keep his mind from running ahead, 
tried to keep it absolutely motionless. 

His mother called, "Carl! Don't you let 
it keep him from school." 

They marched past the cypress, where a 
singletree hung from a limb to butcher the 
pigs on, and past the black iron kettle, so it 
was not a pig killing. The sun shone over 
the hill and threw long, dark shadows of the 
trees and buildings. They crossed a stubble- 
field to shortcut to the barn. Jody's father 
unhooked the door and they went in. They 
had been walking toward the sun on the 
way down. The barn was black as night 
in contrast and warm from the hay and 
from the beasts. Jody's father moved over 
toward the one box stall. "Come here!" he 
ordered. Jody could begin to see things now. 
He looked into the box stall and then 
stepped back quickly. 

A red pony colt was looking at him out 
of the stall. Its tense ears were forward 
and a light of disobedience was in its eyes. 
Its coat was rough and thick as an airedale's 
fur and its mane was long and tangled. 
Jody's throat collapsed in on itself and cut 
his breath short. 

"He needs a good currying," his father 
said, "and if I ever hear of you not feeding 
him or leaving his stall dirty, I'll sell him 
ofif in a minute." 

Jody couldn't bear to look at the pony's 
eyes any more. He gazed down at his hands 
for a moment, and he asked very shyly, 
"Mine?" No one answered him. He put 
his hand out toward the pony. Its grey nose 
came close, sniffing loudly, and then the 
lips drew back and the strong teeth closed 
on Jody's fingers. The pony shook its head 
up and down and seemed to laugh with 
amusement. Jody regarded his bruised fin- 
gers. "Well," he said with pride — "Well, I 



Steinbec\ 

guess he can bite all right." The two men 
laughed, somewhat in relief. Carl Tiflin 
went out of the barn and walked up a side- 
hill to be by himself, for he was embar- 
rassed, but Billy Buck stayed. It was easier 
to talk to Billy Buck. Jody asked again — 
"Mine?" 

Billy became professional in tone. "Sure! 
That is, if you look out for him and break 
him right. I'll show you how. He's just a 
colt. You can't ride him for some time." 

Jody put out his bruised hand again, 
and this time the red pony let his nose be 
rubbed. "I ought to have a carrot," Jody 
said. "Where'd we get him, Billy ?" 

"Bought him at a sheriff's auction," Billy 
explained. "A show went broke in Salinas 
and had debts. The sheriff was selling off 
their stuff." 

The pony stretched out his nose and 
shook the forelock from his wild eyes. Jody 
stroked the nose a little. He said softly, 
"There isn't a — saddle?" 

Billy Buck laughed. "I'd forgot. Come 
along." 

In the harness room he lifted down a little 
saddle of red morocco leather. "It's just a 
show saddle," Billy Buck said disparag- 
ingly. "It isn't practical for the brush, but 
it was cheap at the sale." 

Jody couldn't trust himself to look at the 
saddle either, and he couldn't speak at all. 
He brushed the shining red leather with 
his fingertips, and after a long time he said, 
"It'll look pretty on him though." He 
thought of the grandest and prettiest things 
he knew. "If he hasn't a name already, I 
think I'll call him Gabilan Mountains," he 
said. 

Billy Buck knew how he felt. "It's a pretty 
long name. Why don't you just call him 
Gabilan?