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certain to lose a couple of thousand pounds “By no means," returned Harry, coolly ; on a steeple chase, for which I've been idiot “he is simply a very average specimen of enough to enter a horse, and where to lay his class, half-jockey, half-dealer, and whole my hands on as many hundreds is more blackleg of a low stamp-—there are hunthan I know. I shall not be able to meet my dreds such on the turf. however, he seems engagements, and shall be stigmatized as a to have got you into an awful fix this timeblackleg and a swindler, at the very time when we must try and find out what can be done. it is through the villainy of blacklegs and I'll stay and see you through it at all events ; swindlers that I shall be placed in such a po- it's fortunate to-day is the day, for I could not sition !”
have remained beyond ; but I daresay I shall “Can't your father ?” began Coverdale. be back in time to catch the eight o'clock
“ If you don't wish to render me frantic, train, and I shall then be at home by eleven. don't mention my father," was the unex- What time do you start, and how do you get pected rejoinder--he paused, then resumed down ?” “Coverdale, I will not trust you by halves, I “I go down on a drag which leaves the know you will hold my confidence sacred. Pandemonium at twelve. I'll take care to My father is most kind and liberal to me, keep a seat for you, if you really are kind more liberal almost than he should be, for he enough to go with me. I am really quite is not a rich man, and has many calls upon ashamed to avail myself of your kindness, him, and this year I know he has met with when I know how anxious you must be to get severe losses. I had an allowance on which back, and calm Mrs. Coverdale's fears; but I could have lived well, and as becomes my I feel your presence and your knowledge rank; but Horace D'Almayne, under pretence of the right way to deal with these people will of showing me life, took me to a gaming- be so invaluable to me, that I have not suffihouse, I acquired a taste for play, or rather I cient self-denial to. deprive myself of them.” played, because I thought it the correct “All serene! don't make fine speeches about thing;' and I am now not only without money, it,” rejoined Harry. “ I've one or two places but actually in debt-then came this horse bu- to call at, and I'll meet you at the Frying Pan, siness,”-here Lord Alfred gave Coverdale a as they call that diabolically named club of succinct account of the various particulars of yours, five minutes before twelve; and above the affairs with which the reader has been all, don't look so woe-begone, or you'll have already made acquainted. “I felt, up to this the odds against Don Pasquale increased to a morning," he resumed, “ tolerably confident frightful degree; put on a cool nonchalant air, of success, relying chiefly on Tirrett's riding, like your precious friend and adviser, D?Alwhich is said to be first-rate ; imagine, then, mayne, who may thank his stars that the my rage and disgust when half an hour ago German Ocean lies between him and me just this was given me !”—As he spoke, he handed now, for I'd have horsewhipped him, as sure Coverdale the following note:
as I stand here, so that he should have spent “I am sorry to inform your lordship, that the next fortnight in his bed at all events, circumstances over which I have no control and it would have been a mercy if I hadn't oblige me to decline the honor of riding Don broken some of his bones for him ; but I'm Pasquale for you to-day.
glad he's away, for, after all, I suppose one
has no right to take the law into one's own “Your lordship’s obedient servant, hands. Well, I must be off, but depend upon “ Philip TIRRETT.” my meeting you, and in the mean time look
alive, and don't sit poring over that stupid
betting book; you're in a mess, that I don't CHAPTER LIII.
deny, but that is no reason why you should
lose heart : on the contrary, you'll have need BELL'S LIFE.”
of all your pluck to get you through it. Never “PLEASANT and encouraging, certainly,” despond, man! when things come to the observed Coverdale, when he had finished worst, they're sure to mend. Look at me: since reading the note.
I received that letter from my little wife, and “ That fellow Tirrett is the greatest scoun- read your notable composition, I'm a different drel unhung,” exclaiined Lord Alfred, crush- creature. So saying, Coverdale resumed his ing the paper in his hand with an action hat, and was about to quit the room, when suggestive of his willingness to perform a glancing at his companion's countenance, he similar process of annihilation upon its writer. suddenly stopped.
AFTER THE MANNER OF
“Alfred, my poor boy, “he said kindly, leader's billet in the check, instead of the lower “I can't leave you with such a face as that! bar, when he knew the mare pulled like listen to me, i'll do all I can for you, to well, suppose we say, “ like a steam-engine !" get you out of this serape to-day, and very As the first stroke of twelve pealed from the likely things may turn out better than we high church steeple of St. Homonovus, which, expect; but if the worst come to the worst, as everybody knows, stands exactly opposite you have only to promise me two things, viz., the Pandemonium, the aforesaid Billy Whipto give up your intimacy with Horace D'Al- cord obligingly made his team a present of mayne, and not to enter a gambling-house their respective heads, the attendant helpers again for the next ten years; and whatever seized the corners of the horsecloths which money you require, shall be placed in your had hitherto guarded their thorough-bred banker's hands before settling-day.”
backs from whatever may be the equine equivaAs he spoke, Lord Alfred grasped his hand, lent for lumbago, and jerked them off with endeavored to falter forth a few words of a degree of energy which threatened to take gratitude, but, utterly breaking down in the hide and all together, with a bound and a attempt, burst into tears.
plunge the denuded quadrupeds sprang forHarry, nearly as much affected as himself ward, the boys cheered, the club servants perat the sight of his emotion, muttered, “Pshaw! formed pantominic actions, indicative of adthere's nothing to make a fuss about," wrung miration and respect, and the drag started. his hand cordially, and hastily quitted the Monsieur de Sauley, Mr. Kinglake, and
other travellers, French, English, and AmeriAt ten minutes to twelve a well-appointed can, who take pleasure in going to the East drag, with four slapping greys, excited the to make mistakes about the site of Sodom street boys in the vicinity of the Pandemonium, and Gomorrah, hazard a futile hypothesis in by drawing up at the door of that fastest of regard to the Holy Sepulchre, or, in some clubs, and five minutes later, Harry Coverdale, similar fashion, exert themselves to prove that habited in a loose dust-colored wrapper, made other than wise men come from the west in his appearance, and tossing a small carpet bag these latter days, inform us, that when a camel to one of the grooms, desired him to put it dies, vultures and other strange fowl suddenly in the boot. Lord Alfred was eagerly waiting congregate around the body, though in what to receive him, and introduced him to sundry way the intelligence (for those birds can have noble sportsmen, or men desiring so to be no Bell's Life) reaches them, is a point on considered, who were to compose the live which no savant has yet been found wise freight of the drag; one or two of them were enough to enlighten us—thus, in general old acquaintances of Coverdale's, amongst terms, the fact is stated to result from instinct. them being the facetious Jack Bopeep, who By a like instinct, do strange creatures mysteappeared in his usual charming spirits, and riously appear on the face of the earth, when took an early opportunity of informing Cover- a steeple-chase, or other sporting event, is dale, in the strictest confidence, that a certain arranged to come off in any given locality: young man, with pale and swollen features, human vultures, hawks, carrion-crows, bats, who, he declared, lived only to play on the and owls, all (singular as an ornithologist may cornopean, might be expected to produce new deem it) with very black legs, attracted by the and startling effects upon his next perform- | fascinations of horse-flesh, assemble from the ance, he (Jack Bopeep) having already con- four quarters of_heaven, we were going to say, trived to insinuate percussion crackers into but, on second thoughts, we cannot so conall three valves of his victim's instrument. clude the paragraph, --but, from whatever One minute before twelve a tall, good-looking locality they come, come they do in flocks, and man, attired in a white hat, and a wonderful gather at certain points, whence they may witdriving cape, whose christian name was Wil- ness the start, or, “the jump into the lane," liam, and his patronymic Barrington, but who, or, “crossing the brook,” or the “awkward from his passion for driving, was more com- place,” overwhich the horse that leaps, tumbles, monly known by the sobriquet of Billy Whip- or scrambles first is safe to win, as their various cord, descended the steps of the Pandemonium, tastes may lead them. There is one feature and, arranging the reins scientifically between in these affairs, for which we have never been his fingers, mounted the box and assumed his able to account, viz., the mysterious presence seat, at the same time not taking, but bestow- of a certain average amount of babies; they ing, the oaths for the benefit of an obtuse invariably come in taxed carts, and entirely helper, who had “presumed to buckle the off engross the mental and bodily faculties of one
mother and one female and sympathetic friend stand had been erected, Harry found an opporeach, so that every ten babies necessitate the tunity to whisper to Lord Alfredpresence of twenty women, who, from the “Now, remember what I told you, appear moment they set out, to the time at which as cool as if you hadn't sixpence depending they return, never appear conscious of the on this race; if long odds are offered against race-course,
company, the jockeys, the the horse take 'em; I'll stand the risk up to a horses, or, indeed, of anything save their 50 pounder; if it has transpired that Tirrett infant tyrants. That these women can have won't ride for you, say quietly that you are brought the babies for their own pleasure, is provided with an efficient substitute—as soon an hypothesis so absurd, that no one who had as I see clearly how the land lies, I'll tell you seen the goings on of these young Pickles towards their parents and guardians, can for Lord Alfred looked—as he was--singularly a moment entertain it; a more, perhaps the puzzled, but of the hundreds who were flocking most, probable one is, that the infants come to to that race-course, Coverdale was the only please themselves, for, although we have never man on whom he felt he could rely, and he observed that they pay much attention to the only too willingly placed himself in his hands. strict business of the race, yet, in their own Having insinuated the drag into the most way, they appear to enjoy themselves very favorable position for beholding from its roof thoroughly. Their manners and customs are the line of course, the Hon. Billy Whipcord, marked by an easy conviviality, and absence having acquitted himself so as to call forth from the prejudices which usually fetter society, an encomium even from Harry Coverdale, who which we
can conceive must render their was a severe critic in such matters, descended babyhood one epicurean scene of gay delight. from his seat, and, with most of the others, Thus, monopolizing the best place in the cart, repaired to an extempore betting ring, comshaded by the family umbrella, dressed in the posed of all the knowing ones present. latest fashion from Lilliput, these young syba- Lord Alfred was about to accompany them, rites recline languidly on the maternal bosom, when Harry laid his finger on his arm to or sit erect, “ mooing,” crowing, and “ detain him. wa-ing” in the faces of the company gene- “What time did you order the Don to be rally, roaring at the sight of family friends on the ground ?” whose acquaintance they do not desire to culti- Lord Alfred referred to his watch. vate, or clawing at the eyes and hair of the “ He won't be here for the next half-hour," select few, whose homage they are willing was the reply. “ It was considered advisable graciously to receive. Then, wildly reckless to spare his excitable nerves as much of the of appearances, and consulting only their own noise and bustle as possible.” ungoverned appetites, they not only resolve “ He is at a farm somewhere near, is he to dine in public, at the maternal expense, not ?" continued Coverdale. “I see your but when their desire has been gratified by saddle-horses on the ground ; let us canter their self-sacrificing parents, betray a thank- down and have a look at him.” less indifference to the safe custody of the Lord Alfred agreeing, at a signal from his good things afforded them, which renders master the pad-groom rode up, and resigning their vicinity dangerous to all decently attired his horse to Coverdale, the friends mounted, Christians (those only excepted, who con- and were about to ride off in the direction milky way
the way in which of the farm-house, when the Honorable Billy they should go), during the remainder of the Whipcord intercepted them with a face exfestivities. Thus (we say it boldly, though pressing the deepest concern. we know we are provoking the enmity of all " My dear Courtland,” he began, “ a report our female readers, who consider a darling has somehow got abroad that Tirrett won't baby can never be de trop), we hereby declare ride for you, and that Irish blackguard, Capour opinion, that by the laws of the Jockey tain O'Brien, does not scruple openly to deClub, all dogs and infants found unmuzzled clare that he is to ride Broth-of-a-Boy for on any race-course, should be seized by the him instead; the rumor gains ground every police, and instantly- -we leave themind's minute, and the Don is going down accordeyes of the anxious mothers of England ingly; all his best friends are hedging whereto supply the blank. But we are slightly ever they can get a bet taken. I hope there's digressing. As they reached the field whence no truth in it.' the start was to take place, in which a booth Coverdale glanced for a moment towards or two and a very mild specimen of a grand Lord Alfred, who replied carelessly, “ Don't
alarm yourself, my dear fellow, I can hardly of rings in the wall, Lord Alfred drew a key suppose even Phil Tirrett would have the face
from his pocket, and, applying it to the lock, to throw me over and ride for O'Brien ; but, admitted Harry and himself. So quietly did if he should indulge in such a caprice, I know they enter, and so engrossed was the groom with my man, and am prepared with a substitute so his occupation, that they had full time to obefficient, that I rather hope your tidings may serve him before he was aware of their prebe true." Seeing that the Honorable William sence. Fully equipped (with the exception of looked incredulous, he continued, If you're his coat) for appearing on the race-course, he inclined to follow the hedging dodge yourself, was stooping over a pail of water bathing his I'm as willing as ever to back the Don nose, from which the blood was still rapidly against the field : how do the odds stand ?" dropping. Coverdale glanced expressively at
Reassured, by this practical proof of his Lord Alfred, then whispered, "Speak to him lordship's sincerity, the Honorable William -I want to see his face.” (who, in spite of his innate honorableness, Why, Joe, what is it? have you hurt your was rather a “leg” than otherwise), hastily self, my lad ?” he inquired, goodnaturedly. muttered “that he'd a very safe book as it Raising himself, with a start, the man looked stood, and that if the Don was all serene, he round. “No, my lord, it is nothin' to sinhad no wish to alter it," and returned to reap nify; honly, has I wos a reching hup to get some advantage from the information he had the Don's saddle, hit slipped, hand fell right acquired.
my blessed nose, hand set hit a bleeding How did I do that?” asked Lord Alfred, howdacious!” as they cantered off'. 'Splendidly!" was the “ Did
you obtain that genius with the horse reply;
“when all other trades fail you, you'll from Tirrett ?” inquired Harry, sotto voce ; be able, with a little of my able tuition, to receiving a reply in the affirmative, he conturn horse-chaunter and blackleg."
tinued, “ Then let me have a word or two Alfred shook his head, adding, “ Once let me with him in private--I think he may be made get out of this affair safely, and if
useful, but one never can get anything out me doing anything in the horse line again, of these fellows, except in a téte-à-tête." write me down the veriest idiot that ever ran Lord Alfred nodded assent, and, feigning his head, open-eyed, against a brick wall." some plausible excuse, left the stable.
Five minutes' brisk riding brought them to As soon as they were alone, Harry addressed the gate at which Tirrett had entered on the the groom with an intelligent half-nod, halfmorning after the Blackwall dinner-party. As wink, which, however ineffectual it might have they did so, a horseman left the yard by a proved in the case of a blind horse, produced handgate at the opposite corner. Lord Alfred a decided impression on the sharp-sighted Joe. gazed after him eagerly.
“ Hark ye, my friend,” he began, “Who is your mysterious friend?” in- strikes me you and I are old acquaintances." quired Harry.
“Can't say as I ever remembers setting “I can't be certain,” was the reply, “but heyes on your honor afore," was the reply, the figure, and the way in which he sits his though something in the expression of the horse, are very like that young scoundrel man's face contradicted his assertion. Tirrett; I've a great mind to gallop after
you never live with Count Cavalho, him, and either make him ride for me, or a Spanish nobleman ?" horsewhip him;" and Lord Alfred looked The man paused, then answered in a surly quite fierce and determined, as if he meant to tone, “ And suppose I did, what then?” do as he said, and was able ; but Coverdale, “Merely that while I was in Paris, a groom smiling at his energy, restrained him, “Gently in his employ was detected selling the corn there-take it coolly! why, you're becoming and hay; the moment the charge was brought quite a fire-eater," he said, laughing; “but, against him the fellow decamped, but the eviseriously, if you could make him ride for you dence of his dishonesty was so clear, that the against his will, he would only contrive to Count offered a reward of fifty pounds for his lose you the race. And, as to horsewhipping, apprehension; the man was not found, but I if you were to horsewhip every blackleg who should know him by sight if I were to meet breaks down with you in turf affairs, why him," and again Coverdale fixed his piercing you'd require a portable threshing-machine, glance upon his companion's features. for mortal arm could never stand it.”
Having paused for a minute, during which As he spoke, they reached the stable, dis- time the groom stood eyeing him furtively, mounted, and, tying their horses up to a couple and shifting uneasily froin leg to leg--at the