|Chapter Title||SYDNEY RACES.|
|Newspaper Title||Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876)|
|Trove Title||Harry Linton's Downfall: A Story of Old Sydney|
HIARRlIY LINTON'S DOWNFALL. A STORY OF OLD S'DNEY. BY It. A. ATKINS. (Written expressly for the P'oriland Guardian.) CHAPTER 1V. SYDNEY RTCES. See the course throng'd with gazers, the sports are 1h gun, What ronfrusion--but hear !-" I'll bet you, Fir t"' "Done, Done!" A thousand strange murmurs resound far and " near, Lords, hawkers, end jockeys assail the tired ear. Dibdin. A fortnight niter the conversation which took place betiveen Cesh and his servant, as rc'orded in the second chapter, much antici patory excitement prevailed in Sydney, rela tive to the races, which were advertised to " come off" in the course of a few days. The colonial betting market was very brisk. The "favourite" was a horse called Hector, the property of an officer of the 73rd Regt., and long odds were laid on hinm. Mir. Cash, who was considered a particularly " knowing card " in all matters connected with the turf, and who, by means of his almost unlimited wealth, was able to obtain every information relative to the horses entered, fearlessly backed. Hector against the field, making up his book confidently, and apparently having no intention to "hedge." Ile found numbers ready to "take hIim up," on all sides, and be fore the day's racing arrived he had laid beta on the favourite to the amount-of six thou sand pounds. The event was looked forward to with much pleasurable aniticipation by the officers and mes of.the gallant Seventy-thlird. The honor of the regiment was at stake, and de pended on the success of Hectoi"'s running. Ilow. dreadful the idea that a military horse should be beaten by a civilian-nay, worse, a colonial hack I Harry Linton, who was an enthusiast ain all matters of "horse-flesh," was infected with the general excitement, and became impressed with the idea that Ilector could-not be beaten. Was he not an imported nag-a "thoroughbred" from old England ? What possible chance could an uneducated bush horse have against one of his faultiess pedigree? . It waswhbilst lHarry. was in this sanguine state of mind tlht he received seven hundred pounds from home-for the elder Linton's alloW7iiiieot doi. thiiusalid, a year was not strictly'idbierd to. It. oltei'becamefifteen hulndred, perhaps two thousand per annum; for, as the old squire said, .' That Sydney's a deuced ex'pensive place, and I should not like the lad to-rul short." It was outlof this re mittance tharat arry was to pay thie £400 to Colonel \Vitecr, or, aluling to do so, to give up alltthunights'of wedding tihe fatr Dora. Tie mess of tile Seventy-third'.was gene. rally a iy lirvely affair: the oflicers were jovial, ,dashing, spirits, s who. dranik, diced, galn?Itd, arid snubbed "emadciipists "'bn every available occas I)n;. hlhrry Liuton was
the steadiest man in the regiment ; but the less we pry into his private proceedings, per - liaps; the better, in these very moral days. It was on the evening of the day pre ceding the Sydney races that the officers sat around the mess table discussing with post.prandial animation, the all-engrossing topic. "toIsay, Linton," said the Major, a portly gentleman with a fiery countenance, "is it true that you've laid five to one oil. Hector ? It it is, old fellow, I must congratulate you. I thought we should persuade you to back the favourite, and not be the only one of ours to hang fire I" "It's quite true I" said Harry, excitedly. "I'e het with Lieutenant Lee, of the 'Roarer,' lie backed a horse called Colonist, and two others, against Hector, taking five to one." The young man appeared excited and ner vous, and there could be no doubt but that he had been following out his father's advice to "stick to port," in fac:, as the Major thought to himself, "the young fellow's hazy." "In ' monkeys' or ':ponies?"' enquired Captain 1stachlock-lighting a fresh cigar. "In hlindreds," replied IInarry, cracking nuts at the rate of a dozen a minute. "By this time tomorrow night I shall have pock eted a hundred pounds I" "You may depend on that, my boy," hiccupped Captain Lambert, the owner of Hector, who suddenly rose his head Iromthe table, where it had been peacefully reposing on a pillow of nutshells and orange-peel. "You may depend on that. 1-lector's safe to win-no doubt about it ;" and the gallant Captain drank a glass of wvinec, freed J his hair from the nutshells, and went out to look at the "favorite." Harry tried very hard to feel certain of it, too, but lie tailed most signally. What if i the horse lost, and lie had to hand over the five hundred pounds to the man with whom he had bet ? This was a lieutenant on board of a man-of-war, then lying in the harbour, and the vessel would sail for England on the day following the races, so that the moncy 1 must be paid immediately after the cup race, so it had been arranged, as the gallant Lieu tenant would have to repair on board at once, to make preparations for sailing. The bet had been made by Harry under the pressure of persuasion by his brother officers. They had persuaded the young man that it was his dity, as an offlicer, to back the regi mental horse, and to escape their badinage I he had done so. Harry was one of those who do not like to be outdone in anything, and so, instead of bettingin twenties, or even filties, he had at once rushed into hundreds. No sooner was the bet booked than young Linton repented having made it. Certainly, the chances were greatly in his favour--but then, it he should lose I Five hltndrcd pounds was certainly a large sum to stake on I the race ; but was that all he had staked ? No l far from all. lie had, thoughtlessly, also risked his chance of obtaining the hand of Dora-for well lie knew the stubborn na ture of old Winter, and knowing the man with whom lie had to deal-a man who oh stinalely adhered to his promises, even though he were the sufferer thereby-the conviction forced itself upon him that if lice tor lost the racehle would lose both his five hundred pounds and Dora-lose them irre vocably t But it was now too late to recall what lie had done-so it was only left him to hope for the best., Certainly lie could ,"hedge," but then he had too much confidence in the lorse he had backed to think of that. And so the terrible suspense increased day by day, and hour by hour, as the time drew near, which would settle all doabts; and never was the health of irince, potentate, or friend more fervently desired than was that of the gallant race-horse Hector. The tiay of the races at length dawned bright aid fair; and the calm of a spring h morning fell refreshlingly on the excited, tur- p bulent crowd that hurried towards the course. n On the equipage of the popular Governor n who with Lady Macqunrie was heartily ti cheered, as Ihe was whirled along towards I the scene of the' days sport. On a motley a multitude bond and free, on foot, onl hore-l a back, and in conveyances of primitive built, t and unsatifahctory springs. And cn Casth, Linton, and the gallant 73rd all pushing - towards itse course, and praying for the sue. - cess of " Hector." While the necessary prsnarations for the a race are being made, we will, with your kindv permission, reader, see if we can recognise I some of tho more notable personages on the a course. Suppose we post ourselves here and c watch them as they, ascend .to the rudo t "Grand Stand," which makes us stmile, in t spite of ourselves, at its roughly constructed unsightliness. First comes the Governor, c and Lsady Macquarie, smiling and bowiing amid thi cheers of the people; then the t commander of the forces and the officers of a the garrison; next John Thomas Bigee, Esq., a commissioner sent from home to enquiro into the state of the colony; andl his seero- t tary, Thomas IIobbs Scott, Esq., botll newly arrived, and who appear full of all due ihn portance; then Andrew Thomson, Esr., J.P., t the ex-convict; then G. Howen, Elq., onnother etmancipist, proprietor of the New c South Il'ales Gazelle; then Messrs. Willi-smu WYentwot th and Gregory. Blaxland, aconm panied by thair old friends and fellow tourists, Lieutenant Lawson, and Mr. Le win, the painter and naturalist; and then come others of lesser note. And so one by one tIley pass us by; hundreds of oli faces long since turned to dust, and forgotten, nmen who never lived to see the pjrogress that this country ihas made, tlhe babe wolsm they so carelilly tended, and whosu' fanlterrig stops they guarded, in.tboe days of their life and activity. At length thie bell rang and the coarse was cleared, the races had began. The Cup race, in wnich Hector was to run, was not the first on tlohe ,list,:.,arid thla publioc excitement appeared all centeredl in that event. Thlere was anotheor horse that ropse greatly in favor withll tie betting community, as, he cantered past to thle startins plnco. Tiss second Ihavorite, was "Colonist," the property of a resident in the now settloment of Bathurst; and be certainly woas noble onimnns. Thougih ie did not show the breed of lHector yet ha was evidently of a stronger frameo, andi, as a.considurablo quantity of rain and follen on the previous night,: rndelriug tie ground heavy, innny began to think that Colonist's" chnnce tWns not so bad after nall. Those who had bhot confidently :on; HIector now began to " hedge" cautiously, and amongst this number were Cashis and young Linton. The latter on aseeilig tie now Ihorse pass the stand, and bearing the goenuico. bu of admiration which his appearanco called forth Iild.drriedlly muttered his apologies ton 'Dora Whiiterewho with her. father had comea
to see the races, and hastened into the butting ring. IIe found the hettinemuch ' oh anged since dii hour previously. "Very small odds wero now offered in favor of Elector and those werero taken up with, aviditv. Harry's mitid was madeo up, heo wotll " edge." lie did so to the amount of two hundred and fifty pounds. - "There ' " ho exclaimed as heo. walked back gaini t to is plce on the "stand," "my. nind's'easier now.- No matter which of the the two cwins, and llne or thueother is sire to wivi, I'mn sofb only to lose t'wo hundred and fifty, and I con easily ..otnaao to mnake up the old Colonel's money in that case." Eigh? t horsets were entered for the raor, and as tlarry agninseated hlimsell at Dora's side the starter dropped the flog and off they wtnt. Hurry skurry, mud flying in the faces of the onlookers; jjockeys plying whip and spur,; betticg men trembling, laughing, cursingi, and praying; loud cris ofl "yes I no I here they are I stand back I" and as thel horses dashed past the lwhining post, and gradually pulled up, a hoarse roar, as of the sea, a molphistophilean laugh, and an eager rush, to hear whllat? - , That the Ladies Cup had been won by neither Hector nor Colonist, but by an out sider upon whom no ono had over thought of laying a sixpence .