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TO-DAY'S SHORT STORY.] The…

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TO-DAY'S SHORT STORY.] The Cesarewitch. I am—o>r, rather, was—a jockey! There now I have lost prestige in the eyes of the many thousands of people who hate "the turf" and ail connected with it; yet I am proud of the fact that I have been a jockey, and prouder to know that I was respected by my fellow professionals. Had I tile inclination and the ability I could fill a book with facts jrained from per- sonal experience and observation—facto which might possibly induce readers to suspect that jockeys, as a alass, are honourable as any other set of professional men; aye, perhaps even more honourable, for the path of no other professional man is to thickly studded with gaily-gilded temptations; and, after all, the successful resistance of subtle tempta- tion is the best proof of honour. On the other hand, I must candidly con- fess that I could find more than enough material to fill a book disclosing the dark side of the turf. The public knows all about that phase of turf life, however, and Ull- fortunately a certain section of the public— the uninitiated and therefore one-aided bection-eannot discern the difference, so far as respectability is concerned, between the jockey and the sharper. Bat enough of this. Everybody has heard of Tom Ivenyon, the once-famous jockey, bui everybody had not heard a certain little story about him. Early one evening, many years ago. Tom Kenyon was informed that Lord Clanmore wished to have a word with him in private. Tom had just retired to rest, for he was in strict training for the Cesarewitch at the time, but he hurriedly rose and dressed. His hurry was not due to the fact that his visitor was a peer of the Keulm, for jccKoy.- often receive visits from the aristocracy; but Lord Canmore's father—the late Lord Clanmore—had been Tom's patron. The turf never knew a more straightforward and honourable sportsman than the late lord, and no jockey ever had a better master. No wonder then that Tom Kenyon hastened to meet tb son of his old master. He wondered what could be the object of his visit, for it was generally understood that the young lord had forsaken the turf. "Good evening. Tom," was Lord Clanmore's greeting as he shook the jockey warmly by the hand. "Are you well?" Quite well, my lord, thank you," replied Tom; and then, observing his visitor's care- worn appearance, he added, "I'm .orry to see you are not in the best of health." I'm well enough," said Lord Clanmore; "but I came to see you on a matter of business. In an instant Tom was all attention. Tom, I think I can trust you. I know that my father trusted you with many an important secret." Tom bowed. "You will remember that I sold my father's stable and every one of his much-prized horses when I came into possession of the Cbtate?" IV.fectly, my lord. That is why I am with Sir Erie Marsden now." "By-the-bye, how do you get on with the honourable member for West Blankleigh ?" "Excellently, my lord-almœt as well as with the late Lord Clanmore." I am glad, but, of course, I expected aa much. But I must get on with my confes- eion—for puch it is. Do you. k:¡w why I severed my connection with the turf?" "Because you were disgusted with it. I understand." "That waa one reason, bit n?t the culv one. The fact is, my father left me practi-¡ cally penniless." Tom stared at the speaker in midissuised j astonishmemt. { It is a fact, Tom. I gave up my hordes, I but I did not give up backing others. The I result is, that I am now cn the very verge Of bankruptcy; and in a ehort time I am to marry Lady Florence Gurthwaite. Con- sequently, within the next few months I must, by some means or other, raise at least Excuse me, lord." interrupted Tom. "I-ar-that is—well, of course, you are aware that I owe my present positjon and my little private fortune entirely to your father. I have about £20.000 invested in Con- sols. I can soon realise it, and, if yon don't mind, it's yours, and nobody shall know any- thing about it." Your generosity does credit to your heart, Tom, but. of course, I cannot accept your cha your offer.' I ocean." I -beg your pardon, my lord—mo6t humbly. I forgot." "Besides, I must raise at least £100;000. I Can get a final mortgage of £ 10,COO on the estare, and if I lose that the mortgage will foreclose, and I am ruined. I have explained this much, Tom, because you have a right to know it, as you are the one man who can help me to win the hundred thousand. I want you to—why, what's the matter?" Tom Kenyon had fainted. He had heard such yarns before and the conclusion was always .a. 8uggestion to "pull" a horse and deliberately lose a race, so that the pleader m-rrht retrieve his fortunes by foul means. The thought that the son of his old master- the old Lord Clanmore, the very soul of integrity—could stoop so low was too much for the jockey. Under ordinary circum- stances, perhaps, Tom would not have broken down so completely, but he had had a hard day, and for some time he had been com- pelled to trifle with Nature in order to reduce his weight so that he might ride the "dark" horse, Sir Eric Marsden's Alpha, in the Cesarewitch. "11:hat is the matter?" repeated Lord Clanmore, when Tom revived. •• Nothing—nothing," was the reply. "I've been over-training, I expect. Go on, my lord." Well, ag I was saying, I want you to do me a favour. You know a good horse when you see one. When next you get news of a good thing at long odds, 1 want you to let me know. My estate has been disbursed on the turf; I want the turf to pay a, little back. I will back your selection for all I am worth— or, rather, for all I can raise; and if I win I shall never back another horse as long as I live." Tom Kenyon conld scarcely believe his eaTS. Lord Clanmore had not come to bribe him to go wrong, after all. It was only a "tip" he wanted—an honest tip. The feeling of relief which passed over Tom is, to Uèe the jockey's own words, simply indescribable. "My lord, you have asked me just at the right moment. I am to ride Alpha in the Cesarewitch next week. Beta and Omega are the first favourites, and, according to the betting world, I have practically no chance I with Alpha, whose price at present is fifteen to one." Do you advise me to back Alpha, then?" "Not yet, my lord. The only horse I am afraid of is Twenty-fooir hours before the race I shall have a. very good idea as t-o the probable winner If you do not hear t rom me on the morning of the race, back Alpha. If I fancy any other horse is likely to beat me, you shall know its name by the first post on the race-day." "Thinks, Tom. I understand. If I hear nothing I put my money on Alpha; if Alpha is likely to lose I shall receive a letter. Very good." On the night before the great race Tom Kenyon wrote and posted the following brief letter to Lord Clanmore ——— Hotel, Newmarket. Alpha has been out of sorts for two days. Impossible for him to win. Advise you to support Beta. Short odds, but sure. TOM KENYON. The news of Alpha's indisposition was already widely known. On the day of the race scarcely any backers Supported it, and it started at twenty to one against. The man who was most concerned and puzzled about the condition of Alpha was Alpha's jockey, for, to Tom's surprise, the animal seemed to recover suddenly, and at the starting-post Tom felt assured that the spirited horse would make a good bid for victory. And Alpha did make a good bid for victory, fclowly, but surely, Alpha and Beta gained on their rivals until they were really the only two horses left in the race. The vast crowd cheered lustily for Beta. A hundred yards from the winning-post the pair ran neck and neck, and Tom felt that, bar accidents, he would win. Then. and not till then, wa« Tom seized with that indefinable species of torture which one experiences when one's inclination and duty point in directly opposite directions. If Alpha lost no one would be surprised. Scarcely anybody except the "bookies" would be sorry, for very few of the thousands of spectators had backed Tom's mount. Above all, Lord Clanmore would be saved from ruin and disgrace—and had not he him- self strongly urged the young lord to back Beta? I Only for a few brief moments did Tom hesitate. He thought of his master, Sir Eric llarsden, who had long ago set his mind on carrying off thi3 event, and he thought of his honour, which, up to that moment, had remained unsullied. That settled the matter. His mind was made up. With only one object in view— t-hat of winning at all hazards—he urged Alpha on with whip and spur, and Alpha nobly responded, like the game horse he was. The winningipoet was n-eared—reached— passed. A hoarse Toar of disappointment, a confused hubbub, and a solitary cheer here and t-here told Tom plainly enough that Alpha had..beaten Beta and won the Cesare- witch. And such was the case. Alpha had won by a short head. Tom Kenyon's honour was saved. Lord ,ClanmorewaA3 irretrievably ruined. "I congratulate you, old man," said the jockey who rode Beta. "I thought I should have beaten you this time, but why, what's the matter? You don't look over well pleased at your victory." "Hearty congratulations!" exolaimed Sir Eric ilarsden, his face beaming with smiles. "You never rode better in your life, Tom- never. And them,, to add to Toon's discomfiture, Xiord Cla&m#re>—U»<& ruiaed Lord Ciazuno*1#— loomed in sight. The winning jockey, feeling sick at heart, tried to avoid him; but Lord Clanmore was not the man to be avoided. "Tom," excitedly whiepered the young lord in his unwilling ear; "Tom, you have saved me!" The jockey started. "I put £ 10,000 on Alpha at twenty to one," continued Lord Clanmore, "and I have cleared £ 200,000. I shall never forget you, Tom." Tom Kenyon could scarcely believe his ears. Yet the excited peer was evidently speaking the truth. What did it all mtan? He found out shortly afterwards. An envelope, marked "On Her Majesty's Service," reached him, and on opening it Tom found, to his intense astonishment, that it contained the letter he bad written to Lord CIAnmore. advising lfim to back Beta instead of Alpha. The letter had never reached Lord Clan- mors, for the very good reason that Tom Kenycn bad. in a moment of forgetfulnes<?, i posted it without any name or address on the envelope. It had, of course, journeyed to the "Dead Letter" department d the General Post-o?cc, wh?re it w-,s 0pen??t. Then, iike thousands of similarly addressed —or, rather, ua-addresscd—missives, which are dropped into pillar-boxes every year, it was returned to the writer.

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