The Squire's face changed. He glanced suspiciously at Mr. Barter, but the Rector was looking at his glass. "Sold his horse! What's the meaning of that? He told you why, I suppose?" The Rector drank off his wine. "I never ask for reasons," he said, "where racing-men are concerned. It's my belief they know no more what they're about than so many dumb animals." "Ah! racing-men!" said Mr. Pendyce.
These perhaps a dozen of them had been posted to the very hut round which the German guards were then standing, and, as Henri and Jules came upon the scene, could be observed within the ring of guards, cowering, looking askance at the Germans, and evidently in sore trouble. "One of our jockey friends then is the culprit," said Jules; "it's one of the racing-men who has been goaded to madness."
Just before his death at the front, Lord Roberts called upon all racing-men, yachtsmen, and big-game shots to send him, for the use of the officers in the field, their field-glasses. The response was amazingly generous. Other people gave their pens.
In the Paddock half an hour before the Rutlandshire Handicap was to be run numbers of racing-men were gathered in little knots of two and three, describing to each other with every precaution the points of strength in the horses they had laid against, the points of weakness in the horses they had backed, or vice versa, together with the latest discrepancies of their trainers and jockeys.
There had been a remand, then assurances on the part of a harassed father, and the young man had gone out to bear the White Man's Burden overseas. The imagination of another, a lad who had never before been in a town at all, fell to the glamour of music-halls and bar parlours; he spent his time among racing-men, tipsters, and trainers, and now was become a book-maker's clerk.
It should be done immediately on their return to London after the race. But the horse, his Prime Minister, was by this time so dear to him that he intended if possible to keep possession of the animal. When they reached Doncaster the racing-men were all occupied with Prime Minister. The horse and Mr. Pook had arrived that day from Newmarket, via Cambridge and Peterborough.
The yard-man, who could tell you stories of Boomerang's National, and Cannibal's victory, that not even Monkey Brand could surpass, knew of old the feeling between Putnam's and the Dewhurst stable, and had placed the boxes of the two horses far apart. All through the week the excitement grew. The Sefton Arms was seething; the bar a slowly heaving mass of racing-men, jockeys, touts, habitués.
There was a club at which many of the racing-men dined, and there Lord Silverbridge spent his evening. He was the hero of the hour, and everybody flattered him. It must be acknowledged that his head was turned. They dined at eight and much wine was drunk.
Seated between the lawyer and one of the racing-men, Banneker, as the dinner progressed, found himself watching Delavan Eyre, opposite, who was drinking with sustained intensity, but without apparent effect upon his debonair bearing. The skill, far from justifying its possessor's modest estimate, was so unusual as to provoke expressions of admiration from Mr.
The mere patter of thieves or racing-men the terms are nearly synonymous counts for nothing. Those who know the byways of life know that there are two kinds of dark language used by our nomad classes and by our human predatory animals.