xt7rxw47qh9p https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7rxw47qh9p/data/mets.xml Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. 190618  books b92-230-31280747v9 English C. Scribner's sons, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 9) text Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 9) 1906 2002 true xt7rxw47qh9p section xt7rxw47qh9p 











PLANTATION



EDITION



't4



VOLUME IX

 






























































"Thank you. I am glad if he meets with your approval."
                       (PAGE 33)

 This page in the original text is blank.

 This page in the original text is blank.

 



Af THE NOVELS, STORIES,
SKETCHES AND POEMS OF
THOMAS NELSON PAGE -f



BRED IN THE BONE










CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
NEWYORK, + 4 4 + 1906



I



I

 





























Copyright, 1891, 1904, 1906, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

   Al Rights Reserved

 























   TO
MY MOTHER

 This page in the original text is blank.

 














                 PREFACE.

THE title of this volume of Southern stories
has been chosen not so much because of the
first story as because all, the stories are founded
on traits of character which have appeared to
the author to be bred in the bone.
                                   T. N. P.

 This page in the original text is blank.

 














                    CONTENTS

                                                   PAGU
BRED IN THE BONE .... .      .  . . .  .   .    .. 3

THE SPECTRE IN THE CART . .57

THE SHERIFF'S BLUFF .97

THE LONG HILLSIDE .133

OLD JABE'S MARITAL EXPERIMENTS .. .... . 157

THE CHRISTMAS PEACE .                               171

MAM' LYDDY'S RECOGNITION .219

ELSKET .255

A SOLDIER OF THE EMPIRE . .. . ..... . . 307

     In this volume are included " Elsket " aad " A Soldier of the Empire,"
     heretofore published in the volume entitled - Elsket and Other Stories."

 This page in the original text is blank.

 





















                 ILLUSTRATIONS

  From Drawings by Harrison Fisher, F. C. Ransom and A. B. Frost.


"THANK YOU. I AM GLAD IF HE MEETS YOUR
    APPROVAL'-........ .  . . .. . . . ..   . Frontispiece
                                            FACING PAGE
DREW UP ALONG THE PATH FROM THE TAVERN TO BOW
   TO HIM .. . . . .. . . .. . . . .. . . . .. . 100

"I DON' KEER NOTHIN' 'BOUT DE TEMPER" .1... .   . 164

 This page in the original text is blank.

 















BRED IN THE BONE

 This page in the original text is blank.

 





    BRED IN THE BONE


                     I

IT was the afternoon before the closing day
   of the spring meeting of the old Jockey
Club that so many people know. The next
day was to be the grea.test ever known on
that course; the Spring Meeting was to go out
in a blaze of glory. ANs to this everybody in
sight this spring afternoon was agreed; and
the motley crowd that a little before sunset
stood clustered within the big white-painted
gate of the grounds about the Jockey Club race-
stables rarely agreed as to anything. From
the existence of the Deity to the effect of a
blister on a windgall, through the whole range
of stable-thought and horse-talk, there was no
subject, speaking generally, on which that
mongrel population agreed, except, of course,
on one thing-the universal desirability of
whiskey. On this one subject they all agreed,
always
                      et

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
  Yet they were now all of one mind on the fact
that the next day was to be the record on that
course. In the first place, the prize in the
great over-night event, the steeplechase set for
the morrow, was the biggest ever offered by
the club, and the "cracks" drawn together for
the occasion were the best ever collected at a
meeting on that course.
  Even such noted steeplechasers as Mr.
Galloper's Swallow, Colonel Snowden's Hurri-
cane, and Tim Rickett's Carrier Pigeon, which
had international reputations, were on hand for
it, and had been sent "over the sticks" every
morning for a week in hopes of carrying off
such a prize.
  There was, however, one other reason for the
unwonted unanimity. Old Man Robin-" Col-
onel-Theodoric-Johnston 's-Robin-suh "-said it
was to be the biggest day that was ever
seen on that track, and in the memory of the
oldest stable-boss old Robin had never admitted
that any race of the present could be as great,
"within a thousand miles," as the races he
used to attend "befo' de wah, when hosses ran
all de way from Philidelphy to New Orleans."
Evil-minded stable-men and boys who had no
minds-only evil-laid snares and trapfalls for
                      4

 
          BRED IN THE BONE
"Colonel Theodoric Johnston's Robin, of Bull-
field, sub," as he loved to style himself, to trip
him and inveigle him into admissions that some-
thing was as good now as before the war; but
they had never succeeded. The gang had fol-
lowed him to the gate, where he had been going
oil and on all the afternoon, and were at their
mischief now while he was looking somewhat
anxiously out up the parched and yellow dusty
road.
  "Well, I guess freedom 's better 'n befo' d'
wah " hazarded one of his tormentors, a
hatchet-faced, yellow stable-boy with a loud,
sharp voice. He burst into a strident guffaw.
  "Maybe, you does,' growled Robin. He
edged off, rubbing his ear. "Befo' de wah
you 'd be mindin' hawgs-what you ought to be
doin' now, stidder losin' races an' spilin' some-
body's hosses, mekin' out you kin ride." A
shout of approving derision greeted this retort.
  Old Robin was a man of note on that circuit.
It was the canon of that crowd to boast one's
self better than everyone else in everything,
but Robin was allowed to be second only to the
speaker and the superior of everyone else with
a unanimity which had its precedent only after
Salamis.
                      5

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
  Robin had been head of Colonel Theodoric
Johnston's stable before the war, the time on
which his mind dwelt with tender memory; and
this, with the consideration with which he was
treated by stable-owners and racing-gentlemen
who shone like luminaries on the far edge of the
stable-boys' horizon, and the old man's un-
doubted knowledge of a horse, made him an
authority in that world.
  The Bullfield stable had produced some of
the greatest horses of the country-horses to
which the most ignorant stable-biped knew the
great winners of the present traced back their
descent or were close akin-and if Colonel
Johnston's stable lost anything of prestige, it
was not in Robin's telling of it. He was at it
now as he stood at the big white gate, gazing
up the road, over which hung a haze of dust.
Deucalion, Old Nina, Planet, Fanny Washing-
ton, and the whole gleaming array of fliers went
by in Robin's illumined speech, mixed up with
Revenue, Boston, Timoleon, Sir Archy and a
dozen others in a blaze of equine splendor.
  " Aw, what 're you giffin us "  jeered a
dusky young mulatto, clad in a ragged striped
sweater, recently discharged as a stable-boy.
"What wus the time then Why 'n't you read
the book"
                      6

 
          BRED IN 'THE BONE
  This was a dig at 'Robin, for he was "no
great hand at reading " and the crowd knew
it and laughed. The old man turned on the
speaker.
  "Races now ain't no mo' than quarter-
dashes. Let 'em try 'em in fo'-mile heats if
they want to see what 's in a hoss. Dat 's the
test o' wind an' bottom. Our hosses used to
run fo '-mile heats from New York to New
Orleans, an' come in with their heads up high
enough to look over dis gate."
  "Why 'n 't you read the books" persisted
the other, facing him.
  "I can't read not much better than you klen
ride," retorted Robin. This was a crusher in
that company, where riding stood high above
any literary attainment; for the other had been
a failure as a jockey.
  He tried to rally.
  "I ']1 bet you a hundred dollars I can-"
  Robin gazed at him vitheringly.
  "You ain' got a huiiderd dollars; you ain't
got a hunderd cents! You would n't 'a' been
wuth a hunderd dollars in slave-times, an' I
know you ain' wuth it -now. "
  The old man, with a final observation that he
did n't want to have to go to court as a witness
when folks were taken up for stealing their
                      7

            BRED IN THE BONE
master-s money, took out and consulted his big
gold stop-watch. That was his conclusive and
clinching argument. It was surprising what
an influence that watch exercised. Everyone
who knew Robin knew that watch had been
given him before the war as a testimonial by
the stewards of the Jockey Club. It had the
indisputable record engraved on the case, and
had been held over the greatest race-horses of
the country. Robin could go up to the front
door of the club and ask for the president-he
possessed this exclusive privilege-and be re-
ceived with an open hand and a smile, and dis-
missed with a jest. Had not Major McDowell
met him, and introduced him to a duke as one
of his oldest friends on the turf, and one who
could give the duke more interesting informa-
tion about the horses of the past than any other
man he knew Did not Colonel Clark always
shake hands with him when they met, and com-
pare watches So now, when, as the throng
of horse-boys and stable-attendants stood about
him, Robin drew his watch and consulted it, it
concluded his argument and left him the victor.
  The old trainer himself, however, was some-
what disturbed, and once more he gazed up the
road anxiously. The ground on which he had
                      8

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
predicted the greatness of the next day was not
that the noted horses already present were
entered for the race, but much more because he
had received a letter from one whom he some-
times spoke of as "one of his childern," and
sometimes as "one of his young masters"-a
grandson of his old master, Colonel Theodoric
Johnston of Bullfield-.telling him that he was
going to bring one of his horses, a colt his
grandfather had given him, and trv for the big
steeplechase stake.
  Old Robin had arranged the whole matter
for him, and was now awaiting him, for he had
written that he could not get there until late in
the day before the race, as he had to travel by
road from the old place.
  Though old Robin let no one know of his
uneasiness, he was watching now with great
anxiety, for the sun was sinking down the
western sky toward the green bank of trees
beyond the turn into the home stretch, and in an
hour more the entries wvould be closed.
  While he waited he beguiled the time with
stories about his old master's stable, and about
the equine "stars" that shone in the pedigree
of this horse.
  Colonel Johnston's fortune had gone down
                      9o

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
with the close of the war, and when his stable
was broken up he had recommended his old
trainer to one of his friends and had placed him
with a more fortunate employer.
  Robin had not seen his old master's grandson
for years-not since he was a little boy, when
Robin had left home-and he pictured him as
a dashing and handsome young gentleman,
such as he remembered his father before him.
As to the horse, not Sir Archy himself had been
greater. Robin talked as though he had had the
handling of him ever since he was dropped;
and he ran over a pedigree that made the boys
about him open their wicked eyes.
  Just then a stable-boy discerned out on the
highway across the field a rider, coming along
at a swinging trot that raised the dust and shot
it in spurts before him
  "Yonder he come now!" cried the urchin,
with a grimace to attract the attention of the
crowd. They looked in the direction indicated,
and then in chorus began to shout. Old Robin
turned and glanced indifferently down the road.
The next instant he wheeled and his black hand
made a clutch at the boy, who dodged behind
half a dozen others as a shout of derisive
                    10

 

          BRED IN THE BONE
laughter went up from the throng. What
Robin saw was only a country lad jogging along
on a big raw-boned, blazed-faced horse, whose
hipbones could be seen even at that distance.
  "You know dat ain't my horse!" said the
old man, sharply. "You young boys is gittin'
too free with you' moufs! Dat horse-"
  The rest of his speech, however, was lost; for
at that moment the horseman turned from the
highway into the road to the race.course and
came swinging on toward the gate. The gang
behind old Robin broke into renewed jeers, but
at the same time kept well out of his reach;
for the old man's face bore a look that no one
dared trifle with, and he had a heavy hand on
occasion, as many of thLem had come to know.
His eyes now were fastened on the horse that
was rapidly approaching through a cloud of
dust on the yellow road, and a look of wonder
was growing on his brown face.
  The rider pulled rein and drew up just out-
side the open gate, looking down on the group
there in some bewilderment. Then his eyes
lighted up, as the old trainer stepped out and,
taking off his hat, put forth his hand.
  "Uncle Robin "
                    11.

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
  "My young master."    He took the bridle
just as he might have done years before had
his old master ridden up to the gate.
  The act impressed the gang behind him as
few things could have done, and though they
nudged one another, they fell back and huddled
together rather farther away, and only whis-
pered their ridicule among themselves.
  The boy sprang from the saddle, and the old
man took possession of the horse.
  They were a strange-looking pair, horse and
rider, fresh from the country, both of them dusty
and travel-stained, and, as the stable-boys whis-
pered among themselves, both " starving for
the curry-comb."
  The lad passed in at the gate, whipping the
dust from his clothes with the switch he carried.
  " Good-evening, boys. "
  Robin glared back fiercely to see that no in-
solent response was made, but there was no
danger. The voice and manner were such that
many a hand jerked up to a cap. Besides, the
young lad, though his clothes were old and
travel-stained, and his hair was long and was
powdered with dust, showed a clean-cut face, a
straight back, broad shoulders, and muscular
                    12

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
legs, as he strode by -with a swing which many
a stable-boy remarked.
  Robin led the horse away around the end of
the nearest stable. No oaie would have known
his feelings, for he kept a severe counte-
nance, and broke out on the nearest stable-boy
with fierce invective for not getting out of
his way.
  The horse carried his head high, and, with
pointed ears, wide eyes, and dilated nostrils,
inspected everything o:a either side.
  It was only when the new-comer and Robin
were out of hearing that the jeers broke out
aloud, and even then several of the on-lookers,
noting the breeding along with the powerful
muscles and flat bone, asserted that it was "a
good horse, all the sanie." They had eyes for
a good horse






As the old trainer led the horse away around
the long stables, the low rumble of far-off
thunder grumbled along the western horizon.
                     13

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
Robin glanced in that direction. It might mean
a change in the chances of every horse that was
to run next day. The old man looked downcast;
the boy's countenance cleared up. He scanned
the sky long and earnestly where a dull cloud
was stretching across the west; then he followed
the horse among the long lines of low buildings
with a quickened step.
  It was not till they had reached a box-stall
in an old building far off in one corner of the
grounds that the old negro stopped. When he
had been expecting another horse-the horse
of which he had boasted to his entire acquaint-
ance-he had engaged in advance a box in one
of the big, new stables, where the descendant
of the kings would be in royal and fitting
company. He could not bring himself now to
face, with this raw-boned, sunburnt colt, the
derisive scrutiny of the men who had heard
him bragging for a week of what his young
master would show them when he came. Yet
it was more on his young master's account than
on his own that he now slunk away to this far-
off corner. He remembered his old master, the
king of the turf, the model of a fine gentleman,
the leader of men; whose graciousness and
princely hospitality were in all mouths; whose
                     14

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
word was law; whose name no one mentioned
but with respect.
  He remembered his young master as he
rode away to the war on one of the thorough-
breds, a matchless rider on a matchless horse.
How could he now allow their grandson and
son, in this rusty suit, with this rusty colt at
which the stable-boys jeered, to match himself
against the finest men and horses in the coun-
try  He must keep him from entering the
horse.
  But as the old fellow stopped before the
stall and glanced at the horse he had been
leading, his face changed. It took on the first
look of interest it had worn since the horse had
appeared on the road in a cloud of dust. He
was standing now directly in front of him. His
eyes opened. The deep chest, the straight, clean
legs with muscles standing out on the forearms
in big knots, the fine head with its broad, full
brow, its wide eyes full of life and intelligence,
the delicate muzzle, suddenly caught his eye.
He took a step to one side, and scanned the
horse from top to hoof, and his face lighted up.
Another step, and he ran his hand over him, up
and down, from topknot to fetlock, from crest
to croup. At every touch his eyes opened wider.

 
          BRED IN THE BONE
  "Umhm! He hard as a rock!"I He was talk-
ing aloud, but to himself. "He 's got de bar-
rel to stay, an' he leg jes as clean as a pin!"
  It was the first word of praise he had vouch-
safed. The young owner's face lighted up. He
had felt the old man's disappointment, and his
heart had been sinking. It was lifted now.
  "What you say he pedigree"'
  "Imported Leam-"
  "I know. Dat 's de blood! Imported Leam-
ington-Fanny Wash 'n' by Revenue! He '11
do. Hit 's bred in de bone!"
  "Did you ever see such bone"   the boy
asked, running his hand over the big knee-
joint.
  The old trainer made no answer. He glanced
furtively around to see that no one heard the
question. Then he went on feeling the horse,
inch by inch. Every muscle and sinew he ran
his hand over, and each moment his face cleared
up more and more.    "He ain' nothin' but
rock!" he said, straightening up. "Walk him
off dyah, son"-with a wave of his hand-
'walk him.'"
  It was as if he were speaking to a stable-boy.
He had now forgotten all but the horse, but the
young man understood.
                    16

 

           BRED IN THE BONE:
  He took the bridle, but the horse did not
wait. At the first step Le was up with him, with
a long, swinging stride as springy as if he were
made of rubber, keeping his muzzle close to
his master's shoulder, and never tightening his
rein. Now and then he' threw up his head and
gazed far over beyond the whitewashed fence
toward a horse galloping away off on the curv-
ing track, as if there were where his interest lay.
  "Straight as a plank," muttered the old
trainer, with a toss of his head. " 'Minds me o'
Planet. Got de quarters on him.-Bring him
back!" he called.
  As the young man returned, the older one
asked, "Can he runl"
  "Run! Want to see him move"
  Without waiting for an answer, be vaulted
into the saddle and began to gather up the reins.
The horse lifted his head and gathered himself
together, but he did not move from his tracks.
  "Wait. How far is you come to-day I " de-
manded Robin.
  "About forty miles. I took it easy." He
turned the horse's head.
  The old man gave an exclamation, part oath,
part entreaty, and grabbed for the reins just as
the boy was turning toward the track, where a
                    17

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
whitewashed board fence stood over four feet
high.
  "Wait-whar you      gwine   Forty   mile!
Whar you gwine 1 Wait!"
  "Over into the track. That fence is no-
thing. "
  He settled himself in the saddle, and the horse
threw up his head and drew himself together.
But old Robin was too quick for him. He
clutched the rider by the leg with one hand at
the same time that he seized the bridle with the
other.
  "Git off him; git off him!" Without letting
go the bridle, he half lifted the boy from the
saddle.
  "That won't hurt him, Uncle Robin. He 's
used to it. That fence is nothing."
  "Gil me dis hoss dis minute. Forty mile,
an' 'spec' to run to-morrow! Gi' me dis hoss
dis minute, boy."
  The young owner yielded with a laugh, and
the old trainer took possession of the horse,
and led him on, stopping every now and then to
run his hand over his sinewy neck and forelegs,
and grumbling to himself over the rashness of
youth.
  "Jes like he pa," he muttered.   "Never
                     18

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
could teach him to tek keer o' a hoss. Think
all a hoss got to do is to run! Forty mile, an'
want to put him at a five-foot fence when he
cold as a wedge!"
  When he was inside the stable his manner
changed. His coat was off in an instant, and
no stable-boy could have been more active. He
set about grooming the horse with the en-
thusiasm of a boy, and the horse after the first
inquisitive investigation of his new attendant,
made with eye and nose, gave himself up to his
care. The young owner did the same, only
watching him closely to learn the art of groom-
ing from a past-master of the craft.
  It was the first time in years that Robin had
played hostler; and it was the first time in his
life that that horse had ever had such a groom-
ing. Every art known to the professor of the
science was applied. Every muscle was rubbed,
every sinew was soothed. And from time to
time, as at touch of the iron muscles and steel
sinews the old fellow's ardor increased, he
would straighten up and give a loud puff of
satisfaction.
  "Umph! Ef I jist had about a week wid him,
I 'd show 'em som'n'!" he declared. "Im-
ported Leam   -"
                     19

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
  "He don't need any time. He can beat any-
thing in this country," asserted the owner from
his perch on a horse-bucket.
  "You ain' see 'em all," said Robin, dryly, as
he bent once more to his work. "An' it 's goin'
to rain, too, " lie added, as the rumble of thunder
came up louder from the westward.
  "That 's what I am hoping for," said the
other. "He 's used to mud. I have ridden him
in it after cattle many a day. He can out-gallop
any horse in the State in mud."
  Robin looked at the young man keenly. He
showed more shrewdness than he had given him
credit for.
  "Kin he jump in mud" he demanded.
  "He can jump in anything. He can fly. If
you just had let me take him over those fences
_" Robin changed the subject:
  "What 's his name I got to go an' enter
him. "
  The boy told him. The old man's countenance
changed, but the other did not see it. He was
busy getting a roll of bills-by no means a
large one-from his pocket.
  "IIHow much is it I have the money all
right. " He proudly unrolled the money, mostly
dollar bills. The old negro took the roll and
counted the money slowly.
                    20

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
  "Is dis-" he began, but stopped. After
a minute's thought he went over them again.
  "Heah." He took out about half the money,
and handed the rest back. "AVWait. I '11 tend to
it." He reached for his coat. "Don't you do
nuttin' to him while I 'm gone, an' don't you
lef' him, not a minute." He put on his coat and
went out.
  His path led out from among the stables to
the wing of one of the buildings where the
superintendent and his staff had their offices.
Here a colloquy took place between Robin
and the cigar-smoking, dark-skinned clerk in
charge, and then Robin left and paid a visit to
another kind of official-an official on the main
road, just outside the grounds, who kept an es-
tablisliment which was divided into two depart-
ments. One was dignified by the word "Caf6"
painted in black letters on the white ground of
the painted pane, though on the door was the
simple American word "Bar." Over the door
of the other was an attempt to portray three
gilded balls. The proprietor of this bifurcated
establishment, a man with red hair, a low fore-
head, a broad chin, and brawny shoulders, a
long lip and long arms, rejoiced in the name
of Nicholas Crimins, though by most of his cus-
tomers he was irreverently called by a dimin-
                    21

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
utive of that name. The principal part of his
business undoubtedly came from the side of the
establishment with the short name; but it was
known to the stable-fraternity that on occasion
"Old Nick" would make an advance to a needy
borrower who was "down on his luck" of at
least fifteen per cent. of almost any article's
value. Saddles, bridles, watches, pistols, scarf-
pins, and all the indiscriminate belongings of
a race-track population were to be found in his
"store."  And it was said that he had even
been known to take over a stable when the
owner found it necessary to leave the State on
exceptionally short notice.
  Into this odorous establishment old Robin
now went and had a brief interview with the
proprietor, whose surprise at the old trainer's
proposition was unfeigned. As he knew Robin
was not a gambler, the money-lender could set
down his request to only one of two causes:
either lie had lost on a race that day, or he
had "points" which made him willing to put
up all he could raise on a horse next day. He
tried him on the first.
  "Had bad luck to-day I lost a pile myself,"
he began insinuatingly. "Thim scoundrels '11
bate ivery horse they say a man look at. It 's a
regular syndicate."
                     22

 
          BRED IN THE BONE
  "Nor, I did n't lay a dollar on a hoss to-day,"
declared Robin. He looked wise.
  It was not that, reflected Mr. Crimins.
Then it must be the other.   Robin 's look
decided him.
  "Any news" he asked confidentially, lean-
ing forward and dropping his husky voice.
This meant, generally, had he heard of any-
thing likely to change the chances of next day's
race.
  "Ur-who 's goin' to win the steep'"
  Robin looked wiser.
  " Well-the,' may be some surprises to-
morrow. You keep your eyes open. Dese heah
Yankee hosses don' always have dey own
way     7 v
  "I try to, but thim sheenies! Tell me what
you know" His voice was a cajoling whisper
now. "They, says Hurricane's-or is it Swal-
low's-"   He was looking with exaggerated
interest at something in his hand, waiting in
hopes that Robin would take up the sentence
and complete it.
  Robin chuckled, and the chuckle was worth
what he wanted.
  "Swallow  's too fat; Hurricane 's good,
but it 's muscle an' wind an' de blood what
tells in  de last mile-blood  an' bottom.
                    283

            BRED IN THE BONE
You keep yer eye on a dark hoss. Gi' me meh
money. "
  The loan-broker still held on to the notes,
partly from force of habit, while he asked:
"Who 's a-ridin' him"
  But Robin reached for the bills and got them.
  "Somebody as knows how to ride," he said,
oracularly. "You '11 see to-morrow."
  As he turned away the lender muttered an
oath of disappointment. The rext moment lie
examined something curiously. Then he put it
to his ear, and then in his pocket with a look of
deep satisfaction.
  "Well, I '11 make this anyhow."
  When Robin came out of the shop, for the
first time in twenty years he was without his big
gold watch. He passed back by the secretary's
office, and paid down the sum necessary to enter
a horse in the next day's steeplechase. The
clerk looked toward the door.
  "Don't you know the sun is down"
  "De sun down! 'Tain't nothin' but de cloud.
De sun 's a quarter of a hour high." Robin
walked to the door.
  "What time is it by your watch"
  "Hit 's edzactly seven-" His back was to
the official.
                    24

 
          BRED IN THE BONE
  "Humph!" grunted the clerk. "Don't you
know "
  "-lackin' six-"
  "-the sun sets at ten minutes to seven"
  "-lackin' sixteen minutes forty-two seconds
and a quarter," pursued Robin, with head bent
as if he were looking at a watch.
  "Oh, you be hanged! Your old watch is al-
ways slow."
  "My watch Dis heah watch" He turned,
buttoning his coat carefully. "You know whar
dis watch come f'om" He pressed his hand
to his side and held it there.
  "Yes, I know. Give me your money. It will
help swell Carrier Pigeon's pile to-morrow."
  "Not unless he can fly," said Robin.
  "What 's his name" The clerk had picked
up his pen.
  Robin scratched his head in perplexity.
  "Le' me see. I 'mos' forgit. Oh, yes." He
gave the name.
  "What! Call him 'J. D.'"
  "Yes, dat '11 do."
  So, the horse was entered as "J. D."
  As Robin stepped out of the door the first
big drops of rain were just spattering down on
the steps from the dark cloud that now covered
                    25

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
all the western sky, and before he reached the
stable it was pouring.
  As he entered the stall the young owner was
on his knees in a corner, and before him was an
open portmanteau from which he was taking
something that made the old man's eyes glisten:
an old jacket of faded orange-yellow silk, and
a blue cap-the old Bullfield colors, that had
once been known on every course in the country,
and had often led the field.
  Robin gave an exclamation.
  " Le'me see dat thing!" He seized the jacket
and held it up.
  "Lord, Lord! I 's glad to see it," he said. "I
ain' see it for so long. It 's like home. Whar
did you git dis thing, son I 'd jest like to see it
once mo ' come home leadin' de field."
  " WVell, you shall see it doing that to-morrow,"
said the young fellow, boastfully, his face alight
with pleasure.
  "I declar' I 'd gi' my watch to see it."
  He stopped short as his hand went to his side
where the big gold timepiece had so long re-
posed, and he took it away with a sudden sense
of loss. This, however, was but for a second.
In a moment the old trainer was back in the
past, telling his young master of the glories of
                     26

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
the old stable-what races it had run and what
stakes it had won.
  The storm passed during the night, and the
sun rose next morning clear and bright. One
horse, at least, that was entered for the big
race was well cared for. Robin had slept in his
stall, and his young master had had his room.
They had become great friends, and the young
man had told the old trainer of his hopes. If
he won he would have enough to send his sister
off to school in the city, and he would go to
college. Robin had entered into it heart and
soul, and had given the boy all the advice he
could hold.
  Robin was up by light, looking after the
horse; and the young owner, after waiting long
enough to take another lesson in the proper
handling of a horse about to run, excused him-
self, and, leaving the horse with the old trainer,
went out, he said, "to exercise for his wind."
This was a long walk:; but the young rider's
walk took him now, not along the track or the
road, but along the steeplechase course, marked
by the hurdles; and though the ground was
wet and soggy on the flat, and in some places
the water still stood, he appeared not to mind
it in the least. So far from avoiding the pools,
                     2.I9

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
he plunged straight through them, walking
backward and forward, testing the ground,
and at every "jump" he made a particular
examination.
  When he returned to the stable he was as wet
as a "drowned rat," but he looked well satis-
fied, and the old trainer, after he had talked
with him a few minutes, was satisfied also.
  " Dat boy 's he gran 'pa's gran 'chile, " he
muttered, well pleased with his account.


                      III

THE crowd that assembled at the course that
afternoon was enough to fill the hearts of the
management with joy, if a management has
hearts. When the first race was called, the
stands and paddocks were already filled, and
the road was crowded with vehicles as far
as the eye could see. The club and club-pad-
dock filled later, as is the way with fashionable
folk; but when the second race was called, these,
too, were packed, and they looked, with the gay
dresses of the throng that filled every foot of
space, like great banks of flowers, while the
                     28

 
           BRED IN THE BONE
noise that floated out sounded like the hum of
a vast swarm of b