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" Pray, pray!" he said; "you do use such
ugly unpleasant words."

"Sneering at dangers he has reasons for not
encountering himselfat our horses, and our
races, and race-course, and the rustics who are to
ride, but don't know how."

John Hanbury, who had been reflective, and
even moody, since he entered, coloured a little.

"We shall have some of your friends in, shall
we not? Well, the rustics shall try and show
them what they can do."

"O, as for that, you must recollect when a
man has been a whole course of Goodwood,
and the Derby, and Ascot, and a hundred such
things, these local affairs must seem a little poor.
Of course every allowance must be made. But
you know even the course'"

"Why not try it?" said honest John Hanbury,
with something really like a sneer. " Well, never
mind, wait for the day."

"Yes, wait for the day," said Miss Manuel,
" Our horse shall win, and our champion. We
have 'backed', himis not that the word

The younger girl caught some of this
enthusiasm. " We must win."

"I shall win," said John Hanbury, looking at
her with a sort of pride, " oror break my neck
in a ditch. I shall deserve it."

"Don't speak in that terrible way," said the
two together. " But do tell us about the Baron;"
and both drew over with him towards the
window, quite absorbed in him and the subject,
and forgetful of other persons.

Captain Fermor, still twisting his hat on the
little low chair, looked after them bitterly.
" Second class, ill-bred people, after all," he said to
himself. "Just, indeed, what I might have
expected. This is what invariably comes from
stepping out of one's position." And rising, he
prepared to take a formal leave: " I am sorry," he
said, with calm sarcasm (afterwards it was balm
to him to think with what Roman dignity he had
departed), " I am sorry to interrupt, even for a
moment, your discussion of this interesting
subject," and, with his voice, he as it were put
in italics the word interesting. On the younger
girl's face there was a sort of appeal, or beseeching

He was one of the most sensitive creatures in the
world, laughably so, and he went his way chafing.
He would give anything, he thought, for a horse
this race, just to show them how calmly, and
even elegantly, a true gentleman could ride in to
victory, in the face of all dangers. He liked to
map out for himself little schemes of polite
vengeance, and make for himself gorgeous pictures
of triumph; he victorious, boors beaten, shouts
of joy, and then, this would be the retribution:
when all were pressing forward, to cover that
family with confusion by a calm overlooking
without pique, of course, which would be the
way with vulgar, untrained people.

It was natural that in that little assembly the
first topic should have been Fermor.

"There! I feel warmth again," said Miss
Manuel, walking backwards and forwards. " I
am glad he is gone. There is something so false
and heartless about his manner."

John Hanbury was silent for a moment. " I
don't think he is so naturally; but he has trained
himself into that odious stiffness."

"It is all thrown away on us," said Miss
Manuel. " We are two simple creatures. All his
attitudes and cold refinements are quite wasted."

"What amused me," said John Hanbury, " was
his holy horror of poor horses. I suspect a
steeple-chase would be too rough and coarse a
style of amusement for him."

The younger girl made no criticism on the
absent " fine" Captain Fermor. He soon passed
out of their talk.

But they knew very little of "fine" Captain
Fermor when they set him down as shy about
horses. In England, the rough jousts of the hunt
do not disarrange a fold in the delicately moral
cambric which the exquisite wears. Dandy
Guardsmen did well at Waterloo. Fermor, putting
his foot into the stirrup, left all his affectations
and ess-bouquets on the ground in a heap. In
the saddle there was another Fermor. But he
had not been seen to hunt this season. He was
cramped in means, and could not support the
charge of hunting-horses.

He thought it over with many a curl of the
lip. The prospects of overwhelming foes, friends,
"boors" and all, by a dashing victory, was very
pleasing to feed on. But he presently dismissed
it. "She" said he to himself, "saw the true
metal!" And again he thought what an effect
those large swimming, absorbing-like, two deep
lustrous little lakes would produce on the proper
stagea London stageif she were suitably
drilled, as it were, and refitted, and brought out
to see under the care of, say Lady Mantower.
"To be thrown away on that boor!"


OF all the animals that came out of the ark,
the donkey is the least considered by the master
whom he serves so patiently and so well. The
poor beast seems to have shared the curse with
Ham, and to have been banned from the
beginning. We may, without incurring the charge
of irreverence, imagine that Noah had a great
deal of trouble with him; that he was the last
to be got into the ark, and the last to be got
out of it; that while Shem ascended to the back
of the stately elephant, and Japhet mounted the
graceful horse, Ham bestrode the humble ass,
and man and beast went forth into the wilderness
together, to be slighted and despised.

Buffon and Cuvier both thought that the
donkey was despised only because he cut a sorry
figure by comparison with the horse, and that
if the latter were unknown the donkey would
have had great care lavished upon him, and thus
have increased in size and developed his mental
powers to an extent almost impossible to imagine.