Chapter 174508944

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Chapter NumberXVIII
Chapter TitleFRUP.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174508944
Full Date1892-02-06
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count2831
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text

CHAPTER XVIII.

FRUP.

“And perhaps the green jacket, at odds the’ they back it, May fall—for there’s no knowing what may turn up.

The mare is qaito ready ; ' sit still and ride steady— Keep cool, and I think you may just win (ho Cup." “I give us tho tip old fellow,” said a yawnoy looking young man attired in tho orthodox racing dress slung field glass included, to Jim Ronton a thick-set,rod-faced, bloated looking individual, nicknamed “Nosey” from the extraordinary gigantic dimensions of his very rubicund nasal pro montory, “Damn the thing; don’t ask mo, Colton,” ho said, angrily, and would have used stronger language*, but bad been pulled up so often of late, even by his friends, for using too strong vernacular, that ho reined in his tongue for tho nonce, instead of letting fly the jargon of his stable acquaintances anil boon companions. Nosey was not a very canny member of society, nor popular, his social character not bearing investigation; ljut ho wns fortunate in being the appendage of a very respectable and Christian family, of whom ho fancied he could hang on in his exit to another world, though in this sphere of action he, I cannot say, might break nil the commandments, or thoy having been given in pimple and primitive days, did not include betting, gambling, swearing, driuking, wife beating, and other accomplishments of the present march of civilisation or progress of vice. But JRonton was fortunate in being able to indulge in many of those objcctionablcs, aud escape scot free in society, having, as I sad, happy mediators in bis worthy relatives. “Curse it,” ho pddpd savagely, “tho devil is in the brute if ho don’t win, I stapd to lose heavily. Baron’s tho horse; I’ll stick to him, hut don't tako my advice, GolUjn, my luck is out. If Duchess has gone up in the hotting,"as you say. I’m off to tho stables to see fair play ; honor among thieves, oh?” and with a few more muttered oaths, ho swag gered off, swishing his cane right and left In rage, as an angry lion swishes his tail; and his friend hurries away to his hotel, where a group of men are arguing excitedly about tho great event of tho season, for the Goldsborough races are on, and everything to make them a success, gloriuos sunshine of an early summer. Ii? the last fortnight crowds havo collected to Ipok at tho exhihithion of dainty race costumes wjjjch temptingly . brighten tho plate gloss window.? ,qf tho different em poriums, lu aud out of wh ! ch pretty women and ugly women swarm like bees about a hive, intent upon business. Carriages and cabs got almost into a London block in the narrower streets where the traffic 1ms doubled, Rhips of many kinds have anchored in the harbor, pud naval nnifoms Hit here and there in the busy crowd, adding to the brightness of the lively scone. All tlio world and his wife nro entertaining or being ontrtained, from Governors downwards, for many miles round this flourishing city. Mrs. Annoyloyc, like many others, is doing justice to the occasion by filling her house. Tlio Fortoseuos, with their boys and girl, are down for a month after groat persuasion. Norman Is looking ill and very down in the mouth, for cattle prices havo dropped to shil lings almost, and have alarmed njany station holders—Norman amongst others—though ho trios to forget his anxieties in tho bright society of Goldsborough, where, ns an old club man, ha Is heartily welcomed, Mrs. Anneylayo, with an immense amount of coaxing, has reluctantly consented to go to tho races with Mrs, Fortoscuo in tho Jones's drag. Tho widow objects to races on prin ciple ; nevertheless, she intends to enjoy her self thoroughy. She would have preferred going with Mr, Foptcsjcuc, who is to drive his own boggy and team, hut she docs not like to desert her cousin; so Fortesuco drjvos Sir Hubert Armyage, who has given up tho idea of driving himself. tf What an exquisite dross! Who is she? Look at tho flowers; I fancy 1 could pick them, thoy aro so natiiral,” said Mrs. Annoy layo in raptures, ns a woman with a rich train of pale pink satin embroidery, with bouquets of roses, parasol, bonnet, shoes, and gloves on suite, sweeps down the lawn past tha carriages. “She’s nobody—only Johnson, the book maker’s wife,” said Hugh Ferrers. “ I did hear what tho dress cost—something' fabu lous ; hut sho’s in a tantrum to-day, champ ing the lips with rngo because she is cut out. Drcwt, the publican's wife having come out in a more expensive costume." Vera was silent. She had fancied it must at least have been some titled aristocrat or a Governor’s wife from a neighboring colony. Her world had been so small both before and since her marriage, that sho had boon in happy ignorance of tho world’s ways. )t “ 1 thought at least sho was a marchioness, said Mrs. Anneylayo, comically. “No; only the likes of she would dress in such had form,” said Forrcvs, very much amused. “Como up hci-e, Sirs. Cholmondley, said a pleasant looking man whoso faco was beaming with fun and good nature, tho Honorable Jimmy Gordon, pot of tho Upper House, and tlm most jmpular man in Goldsborough. “Como up Jierp; there’s lots of room, ho added, with a marry twinkle in his blue eyes, as ho squashed himsejf into tho farthest corner o£ the box Hout os if in fear of mi nibiluion. tl _ .. “ Oh; I couldn’t manage it—I really could’t- I should smash your dandy ladder to begin with, and then great would bo my fall therofr/jm. I will get inside,” said tho cannot, it is full of cases. You would see nothing of the next race, which wo sit out boro generally ; allow me, " . Joining in the laughter against herself Mis, Cholmondcloy made tho .terrific ascent, as sho termed it, and was soon seated next to Jimmy Gordon, tho most charming companion she could have chosen. “This is delicious,” she said. “What a view! and such fresh pure air. But how shall I get down again? Pray Jon t crush yourself into nothing, Mr. Gordon; please don’t. I’ll promise not to sit upon you—1 won't really. Thank you,” as ho offers lua field-glass, f ‘ What n splendid glass! - I can sco with it for miles. What a crowdI! I see some acrobats, poor things, Ho w they can turn themselves inside out In tho vyay they no I cannot imagine, I see two policomoii talc ing oway some poor, fellow.—How dreadful I Ah, there you aro, dear. Is it not charming up hero? I have not been on a drag for an ago. Thought I wns too old and past the ago of open-air enjoyments, ’’ “No one gets old here, Mrs. Cholrnondc lov,” says Fritz Pearson. “Look at Gordon there, he fifty if-he’s a day.though he persists in passing himself off for sweet thirty-five; you should aoc bin? dance tho Highland Hl “1}on’t bo rude, fill',” said Gordon, laugh ing* “it is lamentable, Mrs. Cholmondcloy ,tq think of the degeneration of the rising gene ration. The young follows of the present

day have no respect for their superiors; there’s such a want of veneration, a want of _of ” “Here, Jimmy, wo’ll adjourn (ho debate. This is for Mrs. Cholmondoley," said some one, handing up a plate of mayonnaise; “here's a cushion fora table, Jimmy—more comfortable. 1 have to got up n sweepstake —not muuh time—tear out the names, that’s a good fellow," to some one near, “thirteen in all —now then-half a sovereign from you, Jones to begin with—it’s for this race." “Hero you are, I’ll tako two chances,” said Mix Jones, handing up a sovereign. “ "Would you like a horso Mrs. Brooke, half a sov., only—by-the-byo, I see Baron and Madcap are scratched—eleven only now," “Half a sovereign! why my dear fellow, I haven’t scon tho sight of gold for many a long day. Don’t you know 1 am one of the hrokon-down squatter's wives?" said good nntured Mrs, Brookes. “Hero yon are, Dick," said Mr. Brookes, “in for a penny in for a pound; that’s for both of ns, eight half-crowns—gold as my wife says is much too luxurious for the likes of mo, with cattle at shillings a head instead of pounds.” “I’ll put in,” says Mrs, Turn or ? “though I never won a sweepstake in my life. It is only very rich people that win thorn. Now, I wouldn’t mind betting a pair of gloves—only one pair mind, for I always pay my hots, and men’s gloves are so expensive—that Mrs. Ebenczor Jones wins this sweep—just be cause she doesn’t want it.” “Done,” said Gordon, “I'll make a note of it, like Captain Cuttle." “Who is going to win tho Cup, Barton? Is it true that Marathon is scratched and Lola is dead lame?" “Yes, and I have laid heavily on Lola,” 1 said Morgan, .“Is she? Worse luck for mo.” “ I advise you to hedge at onco, old follow; for the brute has barely three legs to stand upon, much less to run. ’ Thank goodness, I got off—no easy matter —all tho hotting is on j Duchess.” “I am in for it, too,’’ says Norman Fortos eue, as ho hurries off to tho ring, but finds it impossible to do anything; tbero is such a clamor of voices and buzz about the next race i just coming off. Ho finds it no use to try'to got anything, so ho returns to his party very 1 crestfallen, and sits down by tho drag on a wine case to think or repent his foolishness. “ I ought to have taken Connie’s advice and not betted. I ought to have known I couldn’t afford to risk money. However,, it is no uso to ory over spilt milk, though I might do something to save myself yet—yos—I’ll try.” “Fortescuo, old fellow, what’s up—down on your luck, oh? Have some champagne—never say die,” said Mr. Jones, ordering one of his grooms to bring tho champagne. “Thank you, Jones, I’m off to try and re trieve lost fortunes," said Norman, “luck is against mo to-day." “Sit still where you are, sir,” mumbled a gloomy looking individual, passing behind and touching Ins hat cautiously to Norman,as if ashamed of intruding himself. “Sit still where you are sir, 1 aint so very sure about the marc not winning—one thing is certain. Duchess won’t win—she is a bad tempered brute—a vixen at starting,” and before Nor manJFortoseuo could speak the man was away out of sight, amongst the crowd of coachmen, grooms and helpers that crowded the carriage paddock. “Where have I scon that man? 1‘know his face. I ihink it must have been at Seringa no, I don’t remember him there,” said Mr. Fortescuo, following tho sturdy looking figure until it was lost to viow, “ I’ll tako his , advice. ” I “ Where's our baronet ?” said Mr. Jones. “ Have you spirited him away, Mrs. Annoy layo? Ho was boro just now and promised i to lunch. Ah, there’s Forth . , Coo-ce*. . . | Hero you are, Forth, here’s a seat—Sir Hubert Pas quite deserted us." “He is with the Vernons,” and up to his eyes in pretty girls and pigeon pic,” said Sholto Forth, wiping his brow as if ho had had a hard day’s work—perhaps ho had. “Who is going to win this nice, Mr. Forth? I’vo drawn Scarecrow, and ho is sure to conic in Inst,—tho very name ought to frighten away all good luck,” said Mrs. Chol rnondjoy. “Yes, I'm afraid Mrs, Cholmondloy, Scare crow is out of it, I am not sure whether ho is not scratched. It is unforluale, and the Dingo won’t run—favorites, as a rule, don’t —it wouldn't pay tho bookmakers—see the horses arc oaf.” j “ Underhand work about tho Cup winner, Forth,” says Norman Fortescuo in a low voice, “and I’m loo late to hedge.” “Don’t hedge, don't hedge, though Lola has not a leg to stand upon I wish 1 had a few thousands to put on her." “Really,” said Fortescuo, with a glad look. “Some pmn passed just now and said the same. I hope it is true.” Tho next race came off and was over. Charlie Merton handing up five pounds ten shillings, the sweepstake money, to Connie Fortosoue, the lucky drawer of Bunyip. a rank outsider, to every one's surprise qn and oil' the drag, except tho bookmakers. Mr. Fortosoue looked up with a glad smile of mischief at his wife, for ho know how she had handed up the little half-sovereign grudgingly, and rather under protest, blam ing heraeff ? ho know, for hor want of courage to refuse risking a few shillings, though sho was one of the few women that had won a sweepstake without any envy or jealousy from her friends near, “I don't believe I shall ever get down,” said Airs. Cholmondeloy, despairingly, look ing down at Mr. Fortescuo. “It seems worse than tho ladder of a man-of-war, it is so small. ” “ We’ll got some roppsand hoist you down," said Mr. Jones, “if you prefer it, though, tho ladder is perfectly safe. But your foot on tho first rung, and then you are all right— so;” and tho “fat, fair and forty," as AJr. Jones called hor, was on tho ground without any difficulty, much to her own relief. A sweepstake was made up for tho Cup, Mrs. Anncylayo drawing Lola, tho much abused “do and go one, warranted to come in last,” said young Barton. Connie, too, had put in. “Jq fact, how could I refuse,” sho said, ns if by way of qpqlogy to her husband, “after winning all thou* monoy?" ivud then they all walked bock to tho aland to secure places tor tho event of the day—the Cup race— good places to see which are at a premium. Race cups aro universal institutions, whether they bo for the racing feat of a thoroughbred, high mottled racer, or. for Farmer Giles’s wonderfully fat pig; and Cup races, ns a rule, in all parts of the world, ato generally looked upon as the race of tho day, and in thorn is almost always centred tho interest of tho gathered multitude for it ap peals in its interest to tho sympathy of all classes; high and low, rich and poor. Goldsborough was not behind in tips re snoot and tho Goldsborough Annual Ijaco Cup was “a thing of beauty apd a joy for over," as far as tho substance of its value, and tho credit and honor of its winner was concerned. The course was alive in anticipation of this great event of the Goldsborough year— the Cup race. There is n buzz amongst tho fair sox on the lawn and in tho stand; there is a din and yabbor amongst the outside crowd ; there is a flood of excitement, a roar and a shout ami stampede amongst the bookmakers and others —for the horses are out, and all eyes aro fixed upon them, noting their points, good, bad, or indifferent. Duchess, a pretty little hay mare, first and foremosu “A perfect beauty,” say the ladies m a breath, as Duchess, in her airy fashion, frisks and amblos along gracefully in a pre liminary canter, like n pretty coquettish girl at her first ball, or a mischievous kitten out for a spree. - After the Duchess, ns if in strong contrast, follows Baron, a largo powerful black horse, with splendid breadth of chest, ns ho strides grandly, with head erect, as if- like a war hopso scenting a battle. Then a whole crowd of mixed i-acors, and last of all appears Lola, a small, fiery biaolt’ mare, Tmjpiug along painfully ns it scorns, thereby causing a groan from the crowd, who show their feeling of anger and disappointment openly. “She’s dead lame, ami no mistake,” says a country looking man, staring hard. “ Perhaps she’s only stiff. Sho may run it off when sho warms up a bit,” says another, a man in stable toggery. “Not she,” says a third,"she’s clean gone in the oft’ fetlock, and I’m darned if she weren’t ns right os a trivet yostcr morn. Duchess for mo though she’s a vixen.” ?yiioro is much discussion on all sides only slopped by the exciting cry: “ They're off!’’ Thou a moment’s silence. “ It’s a false start,” sny many. “It’s the Duchess. She’ll lead thorn ft dance in starting, my word for it; she always does,” says n sporting looking man, clenching liis heavy riding whip as if ho would like to lay it freely o\ or the shoulders of tho offend ing Duchess. (TO UK CONTINUED.)