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THE RACE-HORSE THAT RUINED AN EARL
BY WALTER HARRIS GREGORY
HE EVILS of the race-track, the drastic results which are of daily occurrence, are only too well-known to the detriment of the civilized world.
Few Californians know that the sire of the mighty horse, Ormonde, of England, which was purchased by W. B. McDonough, of Stockton, for the fabulous amount of $250,000, was the cause of one of the greatest turf sensations known in history. Sir Henry Chaplain, one of the foremost patrons of the English turf, had a very beautiful wife, who was considered not only the leader of the fashionable smart set, but the most beautiful woman in England. She, like her husband, was a great lover of horses, and her stately figure was always in evidence in the royal enclosure, mixing with royalty at the principal race meetings. Lord Hastings, a dashing sportsman, and considered the greatest plunger of the age, was often seen in Lady Chaplain's company; in fact, so much so as to set the smart set tongues wagging to such a degree that Sir Henry Chaplain became extremely jealous, and is known to have rebuked his wife on several public occasions. It so happened that one day Sir Henry and his wife were doing some shopping in one of the principal stores in London. Lady Henry made the excuse that she had to have a dress tried on, leaving her husband waiting in their carriage. Time slipped away, and still Lady Henry did not appear. Accordingly, Accordingly, Sir Henry made inquiries in the store, and, to his dismay, he was informed that his wife had left the store by a rear door in company with Lord Hastings. "Tricked!" said Sir Henry, furiously, dashing to his carriage, swearing revenge on Lord Hastings. Said he to his coachman: "Drive with all haste to the nearest police station." On arriving, he quickly gave or
ders to have all depots, docks and stage lines watched for the elopers. But Lord Hastings was too wise, and eluded the police by driving in different conveyances until he reached the lonesome, rocky coast of Cornwall, where a private yacht was awaiting to convey him and his amour to France. News of the elopement spread like wild-fire. like wild-fire. Society was all aflame; gossipers reveled in the excitement; Sir Henry vowed he would ruin Lord Hastings both financially and morally, or die in the attempt. in the attempt. For two years, Lord Hastings and Lady Chaplain lived a life of gaiety in Paris. Her exquisite form and beauty were the rage at Monte Carlo. Among the fashionable sporting set she was considered a heroine and idol; money and jewels were lavished on her by even princes and kings, but the pace was too fast to last, for Lord Hasting's finances
through gambling and riotous livingdwindled to such an extent as to cause him to mortgage some of his vast estates. Sir Henry Chaplain obtained a divorce, and sued Lord Hastings for alienating his wife's affections. He won the case and received a large sum in recompense. All Lord Hasting's vast fortune had now dwindled to a few estates, and his string of race horses one of which was Conqueror, who was considered an absolute certainty for the English Derby (somewhat of a new feature for him to come again to the front), in fact, so much so that the general sporting public considered the race over, and backed the horse for fabulous amounts. Lord Hastings not only mortgaged his entire estates, but even borrowed money on his horses, family jewelry, in fact everything of any value, to back Conqueror. But there was one man, one with executive ability and with ideas, who did. not think the Derby was at the mercy of Conqueror, and that was Sir Henry Chaplain, who had a dark horse privately
trained on the sands at Brighton Beach. Not a soul knew of the secret except the trainer and Sir Henry, who backed the horse to win a large fortune, and loaned money to Lord Hastings, unknown to him, through agents.
To make the grand coup complete, Sir Henry took into his confidence the great book-maker, Ben Steele, and told him of the wonderful outsider. Steele immediately slightly increased the odds against Conqueror. The betting ring thought he was crazy, and plunged heavily. Steele, never flinching, accepted enormous amounts, and stood to lose millions. The great Derby Day at last arrived; London was all aflame with excitement. Fortunately the elements were in keeping with the great day; the sun rose brightly, shining radiantly on the richly bedecked multitudes. Royalty thronged the royal enclosure; King Edward and his household were in evidence to see the battle for the most sensational Derby ever contested. Hundreds of men had their entire fortunes at stake; ruin to hundreds of the best families of England rested with the outcome of this race. Just before the bell rang for the great parade, Lord Hastings was seen going from one book-maker to another, still backing his certainty, while Sir Henry, who was cool and collected, was busily engaged adjusting the final preparations to the dark outsider.
The bell rang for the jockeys to mount; Lord Hastings ran into the paddock to lead his favorite out to the parade and give his jockey final instructions. Conqueror, who looked trained to the hour, fit to run for a kingdom, his coat shining like silk in the glorious sun, led the parade of twelve of the finest-looking horses ever seen at Epsom. As they galloped past the grand stand to the starting post, Conqueror seemed to out-class the rest. "Nothing to it but Conqueror!" was heard on all sides. "The race is as good as over!" shouted the bookies. Sir Henry, with his field glasses eagerly watching the flag of the starter, was standing by himself in the grand stand. Lord Hastings, trembling like a leaf, pale as a ghost, was pacing the royal enclosure, when the mighty shout rang out from one hundred thousand throats, "They're off!"
Down the straight came clattering the
hoofs. "Conqueror leads!" shouts the maddened throng. Past the grand stand they filed, Conqueror three lengths in advance of his field. Round the first mile post they bunched; the crown stood spellbound, eagerly watching for the turn into the homeward stretch. Dead silence prevailed. Suddenly, one horse was seen to shoot out of the bunch. It was Conqueror.
"Conqueror wins!" yelled the crowd, as they turned into the straight. Down the straight they thundered; jockeys were seen to be flogging; five lengths ahead Conqueror leads. "He walks in!" "All over but the shouting!" "Hurrah for Lord Hastings!" Hats, umbrellas and canes were flying in the air. "Go it, Conqueror!" Fifty yards from the winning post, when, as if shot from a cannon, came a big black horse, right up to the flanks of Conqueror. "What is that?" the shouts went out. Neck and neck the two raced, both jockeys with whip and spur riding for their lives. Right on the winning post, the big black shot past Conqueror.
With breathless suspense, the crowd waited for the numbers to be hoisted. 9-8-1 went up on the board. What is 9?
All eyes eagerly scanned the card, when their eyes fell upon the name "Hermit," the property of Sir Henry Chaplain, quoted at 33-1 for a win. A deathly stillness reigned on all sides. The bookies were stupified; the crowd stood as if spell-bound as the horses were led back to the paddock by their respective owners, except one-Lord Hastings. Hermit, the hero of the day, was led in by Sir Henry, calm as usual, wearing the look of satisfaction that revenge was complete. After the winner was weighed in and declared all right, Sir Henry walked up to Lord Hastings, saying: "Hastings, I guess we are even now. Although you were scoundrel enough to ruin my domestic life, I think I have hit you as hard. Anyhow, I am satisfied."
Lord Hastings, without a reply, turned on his heel, reeling as if in a drunken stupor, and left the race track, ruined financially and morally.
Sir Henry had not only won an immense fortune in cash with his success on the race, but acquired all of the estates of Lord Hastings. His first action was
THE DEAD INCHES
BY L. A. MALONE
HE OLD CAPTAIN, wrapped in his gray army blanket, with his honorable head (which long ago had buried all memory of comfortable hirsute adornment) covered by a friendly skull cap, sat on his little east-side porch and winked and blinked and thought in the waning California sunshine. He was dying by inches! The doctors had said so; the neighbors had heard so, and all together had tacitly leased the captain only six months more of life on earth.
When this lease should expire they one and all had silently agreed to wash their hands at any connivance at his going, and to turn him over to the minister and the undertaker, whom custom would allow to place the old captain where his asthma would never more cry out in choking tones and struggling gasps for more air and California sunshine.
The captain had been kept in ignorance. of his nearly approaching fate-not so the children who played in the sidewalks, but at a respectful distance, in awe of the man who was dying by inches.
Tibbles had been the informant to her play-mates of the terrible calamity which awaited the captain. Already the tots were speaking in stage whispers whenever they chanced to pass the captain's door, and counting days, among themselves, till the last inch should call time on the old captain, and the prophecy of the neighbors be fulfilled.
Billy Smith thought it would be just fine to 'tend the funeral of a military man and hear the big Presidio guns go boomboom away out over the Golden Gate; Tootsie Wise thought Billy Smith cruel and heartless to speak so enthusiastically of so sad a thing, and she cried at his
Tibbles listened while Billy Smith narrated all he knew of big guns and boom
booms. Then she was guilty of a mental reservation that she would visit the captain each day and note the dissolution of each separate inch.
Immediately she began to look about for an excuse or subterfuge for these anticipated regular visits. She reasoned that it would never do to boldly communicate to the captain that she had come to feast her curiosity concerning his sure approach to the inevitable. to the inevitable. Her intuition told her that the death watch is never entertained with alacrity.
On the following morning, Tibbles successfully eluded the society of the tots and presented herself at the captain's gate. She was early. The sun had not yet warmed the atmosphere of the little east-side porch sufficiently for the captain's appearance, so Tibbles had to content herself with her own devices for entertainment for some time.
Just as she had fully extracted all the pleasure of self-entertainment from her solitaire games, her patience was rewarded by the captain's appearance upon the little east-side porch. His attendant seated him in the reclining chair, wrapped his gray army blanket about him. Then Tibbles heard the captain say: "Now leave me alone and I'll snooze."
"Snooze!" thought Tibbles. "Why, that is what grandpa says, and he's not dying by inches."
For some time Tibbles stood at the gate with eyes peering between the pickets and wondering how in the world was she ever to get nearer the captain. She looked him over many times. She noted the black cap upon his head, and wondered about it. She saw him fight at the flies and mosquitoes, using both hands. She observed, too, that he moved his feet, often putting them off and on a little footstool near him. She concluded from these motions that the members engaged were yet alive—
and her curiosity as to just the exact situation in the body of the dead inches was beginning to gnaw most fiercely.
She rattled the gate. The captain turned his eye toward the sound. "Oh, hello there, Tibbles, bless my soul if it isn't you! Come in, little peeper, and make the old captain glad with a chat."
Tibbles needed no great urging, but notwithstanding her anxiety to probe the captain, his cordial invitation somewhat abashed her.
"Well, Tibbles, and how have you been? And where have you been keeping your
"Oh," said Tibbles, as she hopped upon first one foot, then the other. "Home some, school some, an' playin' some with the tots."
"And you never once thought of the old captain in all the long time?"
"Oh, yes, I did a heap."
"Oh, you did a heap. Now that is very gratifying, dearie, to an old, lonesome, sick man to be remembered in such quantity, and I trust I shall continue to be remembered according to the same scale. I'll think of you a heap if you will call to see me each day and give me all the refreshing news of totdom. Now, will you, Tibbles?"
Tibbles nodded assent with a quick jerk of her head. She was thinking that things were coming her way fast now. Then she looked at the captain with a pleased, satisfied countenance, and said: "Yes, I'll come. I'm coming, sure-er-I mean I'm coming anyhow. I mean when I see you here I'll come in-er-I mean I'm coming in, of course, to see how long you stay here er I mean, you know, how long it takes, and I want to find where it begins and what they look like. I guess you keep them covered up, though, now don't you, or do you mind if anybody knows
The captain was not getting the gist of this questioning plainly, Tibbles saw, so she must go at it again.
"Do you like the sun ?"
"Do I like the sun? Yes, my little dear, I do. There's nothing else in this whole big world so enlivening and refreshing and restoring as California's sunshine and air. Don't you like it?"
"Yes, siree, I like it. It makes me hop
and skip and feel so fine and live. Do your dead ones like it-er-do they come alive when you are in the sun?"
"Hh, Tibbles, you've had a draught of sunshine, truly. Do my dead ones come alive in the sun? I don't know, little one, what dead ones you have reference to, but everything lives better for the sun or has a better chance of life from being in the blessed sunshine."
"I guess I mean the dead ones under the cap."
"Dead ones under my cap! What should you know of dead ones under a cap? There's nothing under my cap except a very bald head."
"Do they always get bald before they die ?"
"Some people do, dear. I think-at least that is my observation and partially my experience."
"Is it soft under the cap?"
"Soft? Well, I'll be honest with you, Tibbles, and say that I believe at times it has been very soft, but I kept it to myself. Others say that it is very hard under my cap, very hard indeed, but I'll confess to you, Tibbles, that despite the hard head the heart has a very soft spot in it."
"Oh, then, they're all inside and can't see them. Oh, I wish I could, though. Will you break in two when they all come down to the middle? Do they all get softy when they're dead or do they get hard and cold?"
"Evidently, dearie, all dead things get stiff and cold, but they can't feel it, so it doesn't hurt them. Couldn't you tell me of your live games and something of the news of totdom? You almost put an old man to thinking with your grewsome death talk. So I look like death to you?"
"Oh, no; all over the outside looks all right. I guess you keep the dead ones covered up. Huh!"
"I don't think, Tibbles, that the covered up part is any more dead than what you can see. Indeed, I am very much alive all over. I only want a little more breath -that is all."
"You can't guess what Johnnie Jones says about you. He says you wouldn't let anybody touch you for nothin', 'cause you would break to pieces an' there wasn't much left of you now."
The captain was weary. Tibbles could