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r ALL EiGJITS RESERVED.] LUCK AT THE DIAMOND FIELDS. BY JULBYMPLE J. BELGRAVE (BARRISTER-AT- LAW). A QUEER RACE. I WHo'S that man ?" asked George Marshall of hit friend Joe Warton, a Kimberley digger, as a slightly- made, good-looking man, dressed in a well-fitting suit of tweeds, which no colonial tailor could have turned out, walked past them as they were sitting on the stoop of the club. "That man! why he is the hero of the day-oul, last distinguished visitor, Sir Harry Ferriard. You will hear all about him if you are long on the Fields, for every one is talking about him." Sir Harry Ferriard! why he is the crack gentle- man rider and owner of race-horses the man who won last year's Grand National,' what's he doing up in Kimberley of all places in the world ?" asked George Marshall, looking through the door of the club at the gentleman in question with some interest. "He is going a trip into the interior, when some friends of his for whom he is waiting arrive. I wish they would come and he were off, for I am sick of the sight of him. Since his arrival the camp in general has begun to take an interest in the British aristocracy. The proprietor of the club has procured a big Peerage and Baronetage,' which is always in use. Sir Harry of an evening tells stories of his friend Lord This, and the Duchess of Something Else, till one feels sick. Little 'Lazarus picked him up coming here in the coach. He likes you to think that he knew him at home, and that he is a fair sample of the pals he made in London. The little cad is as proud as a peacock of his friend Sir Harry, and is never tired of drawing him out and showing him off." Shouldn't have thought they'd have stood much of that sort of thing here," said Marshall. We have our faults, and perhaps our weaknesses, but I never would have said snobbishness was one of them." "Well, we are a very 'English community,' as they are always saying in the papers. Beside*, this fellow Ferriard makes himself infernally plea- sant to every one, and half the fellows in the camp think they are going to get something out of him. Bays that he has been turning his attention to the city and financial business lately, and that now he is out here he may as well take a look round and see what investments are sticking out. That makes him popular, you bet. He says he 'sees that Fools' Rush might be turned into a company, and floated as a big thing on the London market*. Thinks there is a fortune for any one who would buy up the shares in the Diddler Diamond Mining Com- pany. He is going to make home capital flow into the place, and every one is to be better off even than they were in the wildest days of the share mania. Then he is very friendly to every one-asks you to stay with him at Melton the first winter you are in England, before he has known you for an hour. And tells you about the shooting he will give you in Nor- folk, and his moor in Scotland. The men all swear by him, and the women think that there never was any one like him, confound him I" You don't appear to like him, Joe, as much as the rest of 'em do," said Marshall, after he had lis- tened to his friend's unusually long speech. Like him I think him an infernal outsider; but I see he has settled down to play at poker, so I will go down to the Shorts', as he won't be hanging about there making himself a nuisance, as he generally does of an evening." Does Polly Short find him such a nuisance then ? Looks the sort of man who could make himself pretty agreeable." Warton answered by a growl rather than by any articulate speech, and George Marshall laughed to himself. It was not difficult to diagnose his friend's owe, and guess why he did not particularly like the now arrival. Paily Short was the prettiest'girl on the Diamond Molds, and a good many men had been more or less ia love with her, but Joe Warton had begun to be looked upon as the favourite. In fact the other can- didates had almost given up all hope; and Joe, though he was not exactly engaged, was supposed to have arrived at a very fair understanding with her. She, though she had not much harm in her, was decidedly fond of admiration; while Joe Warton though he was a capital good fellow, was a little heavy in hand; and his great affection for Polly sometimes showed itself in fits of jealousy, which were as near surliness as they could be. Given a man tike the brilliant Sir Harry Ferriard, and let him admire Polly as he well might-for she would be an unusually pretty girl, net only on the Diamond Fields, but anywhere else-it would be easy to understand, so George Marshall thought, how the course of his friend's true love should have got a little tangled. "By the by, shall you ride Lone Star for her gallop to-morrow ?" Joe Warton said to his friend after he had got up. "We shall win the Ladies' Purse with her again this year, seems to me." Yes, if nothing else is entered that can beat tut," Marshall, who was a man not much given to express a decided opinion, answered. Lone Star belonged to Joe Warton, and had beea for some time in training, for the forthcoming Kim- berley races, on George Marshall's farm. He had brought her into Kimberley the day before. ihe wa. a very nice mare, but of no particular class. Warton had, however, won The Ladies' Purse, one of the minor races, with her the year before, and he had set his heart on winning the same race again that year. "Wait till the entries are published and then I will tell you whether we shall win or no. The mare ia fit enough as far as that goes, and she's a good bit honester than most of her sex, but she is no wonder," Marshall added. Oh, they won't enter anything better than Lone Star-it wouldn't be worth their while when the winner is to be sold for fifty pounds," Warton said as he got up, and saying "good-night" to his friend walked up the atreet in the direction of the Short's house. As luck would have it, however, it chanced that he saw a man he knew, whom he wished to speak to, in the bar of a hotel he was passing. So he went in and said what he had to say to him, and was going to leave when a certain Mr. Howlett appeared on the scene—who about the race meeting became an im- portant individual on the Fields. He was called in the papers "our leading local bookmaker." He came into the bar, and fleeing Warton began to talk to him about the races. Is that mare of yours, Lone Star, going to go for anything this time? You were lucky to win with her last year," Mr. Howlett said, looking at Joe in a way that somehow or other annoyed him. Lucky! what do you mean by that P" Joe asked; she won easy enough; what would you like to bet against her winning again?- Well, it's full early to talk about betting, but I shouldn't mind just backing my opinion as I gave it. Though it ain't business, I will lay you fifty to twenty- five." It happened from one cause and another that Warton was in an half-irritable, half-excited humour —when it's a relief to do anything. He thought to himself that at the start it would as likely as not be odds on Lone Star, so he took the bet. Mr. Howlett booked it with a twinkle in his eye that annoyed Warton. You're one of the sort who are always in a hurry take the advice of one who knows a bit more than you do, and wait a bit in future," Mr. Howlett said. The man's manner irritated Warton strangely. "Like to go on with it, as it's such a bad bet for me ?" he said. Mr. Howlett at first said he didn't want to go on with it. It wasn't business to bet before he knew the horses entered. He only had offered a bit elf advice to Warton which was meant to be friendly, and if he didn't take it friendly he could take it how he chose. Presently, however, he appeared to get irritated too by something some one else said, and it ended by his first doubling the bet, and then laying Warton three fifties to two against his horse. As Warton walked on to the Shorts' he was half inclined to think that it would have been better for him if he had taken the bookmaker's advice, and not been in such a hurry. The entries would be pub- lished the next morning, and he might just as well have waited before he made his bet. He might have guessed that Howlett, though he did seem at first un- willing to bet, was not the sort of man who would throw away his money merely because he got warm in a dispute. When he bet against Lone Star he must have had an idea of some other horse being entered which could beat her. Still Warton thought he knew pretty well the horses entered for the race. It was then limited to colonial-bred horses, and he was sure that there was nothing to beat him. The short family consisted of the father, mother, and one daughter-the fair Polly. Old Tom Short was a taciturn old gentleman, who spent his evenings sitting in the corner of the stoop of his house, with a glass of whisky-and-water before him, and a pipe in his mouth-now and then growling out some re- mark about the wages of the Kaffirs, price of wood, M other subjects connected with the winning of diamonds. He met with his wife during a visit to England, after he made some money on the Australian gold-fields, If he had since repented of his bargain he kept it to himself. She in her way was a very fine lady, being the daughter of a bankrupt grocer, but also the half great-niece of a London alderman, who had been knighted. The alderman's picture always hung on the wall in the drawing-room of their house, and Mrs, Short generally found an excuse for referring to it, when strangers were present, at least once in ten minutes. As one looked at Polly Short one wondered how she could have been the child of her parents, and where she could have got all her beauty and charm from, and the keen sense of humour that gave a mischievous twinkle to her eyes. Her love of admira- tion might have come from her mother, and she had, for all her dainty beauty, a curious look of her rugged old father. But there was much about her which seemed incongruous with her surroundings. When Warton he thought that he detected a considerable diminution in the cordiality of Mrs Short's greeting. Once he had been rather a favourite visitor, but since Sir Harry Ferriard had come on the scene, he had noticed a decided alteration. How do you do, Mr. Warton, we 'alf expects Sir 'Arry would drop in this evening-have you seen him ?" I don't think you will see him to-night, I just saw him setting down to a game of cards," answered Warton, whose expression by no means brightened up when he heard Ferriard's name as soon as he came into the house. Dear, dear, it's a pity he is so fond of play and gambling. But there, it's a weakness of the aristo- cracy they are 'igh spirited, and must 'ave excite- ment, as I know only too weIll" Mrs. Short gave a sigh and looked at the picture. "He won't hurt himself at it, I fancy," Warton said with rather a snarl. From what I hear he has been rather a heavy winner." Well, somebody must win at cards, and I don't see why you should sneer at any one who happens to be fortunate, as if there was anything wrong about it," said Polly, resenting rather the tone of Warton's remark than the actual words. You're quite right; I am sure I don't wish to say anything against him, everybody seems to like him very well, and all I know is more or less in his favour," Warton answered, feeling somewhat ashamed of himself for having spoken rather unfairly about a man whom he disliked. He did not quite make his peace though, and the visit did not seem likely to be a very happy one. After some time he began to talk about the races. Polly had worked the purse in which the stakes for the ladies' prize were to be given to the winner, and this was the secret of his being so anxious to gain it. You will be glad to hear your favourite, Lone Star, is very fit-I am going to gain that smart purse this year again, I hope," he said after some time. "Are you sure you'll win? I don't think you will, Do you know, I shall make my bets the other way." Surely you're not going to bet against Lone Star ?' Warton said, remembering how pleased she was at his success the year before and feeling a good deal hurt at her words. Sir Harry Ferriard tells me he is sure to win- he rides for Mr. Lascelles, who has entered Induna." What! has that little-I mean has Lazarus entered Induna for the Ladies' Purse ? why he told me he was not entering him for anything but the two big races. It's a shame, and a low trick of his,' Warton said, remembering with anything but pleasure the bets he had just made. Sir Harry persuaded him to do it because he wanted a mount in the race. I thought it very nice of him, considering he has won so many races in England to wish to win our Purse here." Yes, and a speech he made about it too," struck in Mrs. Short, smiling encouragingly at her daughter; he said that he had never coveted any prize so much as the purse our Polly had worked, and that he had mede Mr. Lascelles promise that if he won he was to keep it. Ah I after all it's only the^real titled claslles that can pay compliments with grace, as well as I remember was the case in dear Uncle Sir Peter's time!" Well, after that I can hardly hope that you can wish me success, though I think you might have kept some kindly feeling for old Lone Star." Warton I said as he got up to go. Well, -you see, you don't ride yourself, and Mr. Marshall rides for you, and he never speaks to a lady if he can help it, so you must allow me to wish Sir Harry to win," Polly said, as she shook hands with him. Of course you may wish who you like to win; and what's more, you will have what you wish for, for Lone Star won't stand a chance against Induna," he said, as he left the house. Polly watched him go through the garden, and listened to the tread of his feet as he walked away along the road. His very walk seemed to tell how angry and hurt he was. For a minute or two she felt a little guilty and sorry. After all she liked him a good deal. Though he was heavy and per- haps a little stupid, and at times by no means I sweet-tempered, he was a good honest fellow and perfectly devoted to her. To tell the truth she had been upset by the attentions of her new admirer, Sir Harry. She was not more silly than most girls of her age, but she could not help thinking that the element of romance which was wanting in Joe Warton was present in the other. When she looked at Sir Harry's good-looking face she told herself that he could care a good deal more for a woman than Joe could. Then he had a title and two or, three places in England, and if she married him she would live in London and be in society, instead of living on the Diamond Fields, and that counted for a good deal with her, as it naturally would with a high- spirited girl who had plenty of ambition and wish to see the world. She knew that colonial girls had married Englishmen of family and gone home and held their own there, and she did not see why she could not do it. Warton went round to his friend Marshall's house, and found him turning in. When he told the latter what he had done about Lone Star, and what he had heard about Induna being entered by Mr. Lazarus, or Lascelles, as that gentleman had taken to call himself since he had made money on the Diamond Fields, he got very little sympathy. You must have been a tool to have backed the mare before you knew the entries. Believed Lazarus would not enter Induna because he said he was not going to, why he would sell his brother to please his friend Sir Harry besides, he is not above a robbery on his own account. And as for its not paying them to enter the horse, and to have to buy it in, why they can back it for a good bit. Probably Howlett was doing it for them when he laid you those bets," said Marshall. Do you think we have any chance ? I should like to beat that fellow Ferriard." Chance devil a bit; no race is a certainty till the jockey is weighed in, and it's all right. But this goes pretty near one." Warton went off greatly irritated with himself, and very much cut up and pained about Polly Short's treatment of him. When he got back to his house he sat for some time in a chair outside his house, smoking and thinking over the unpleasant events of the evening. He had half gone to sleep when he was woke up by hearing the voices of two men, who were passing along the road on the side of the reed fence round his garden. "Waste my time, do you say? don't see it-why we haven't done badly to-night, or this week either and one can't be always at business. What's life without sentiment, my dear Bill ?" All right, we ain't done so bad to-night, only it's a bit rilin' when one sees a chance of getting up a bit of Poker or Loo to find that you're hanging after that girl and out of the way." The first speaker spoke in the tones of an educated man and a gentleman. The second voice was a loud, gruff one, and seemed to belong to some one in a lower grade of society. (To be continued.)



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