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TALES OF THE TURF.

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TALES OF THE TURF. By 0. DARCY FRIEL, I Author of Racecourse Romances," &c. BUSTARU'S BROTHER. I "Patience exclaimed old Ben Parfit. to Lor' love me, some chaps has more I patience than spiders, and that's saying a good deal. Why, I remember—but it's a long story." We were assembled in the cosy bar-room of the Pig and Gridiron, and it was evident that our host had a tale to tell, but did not wish to make his amusing narrative too cheap. However, the proper amount of persuasion was immediately forthcoming, and after a decent show of reluctance Ben began "You remember me once telling you a yarn about Jem Corby- how he got shut of his overweight ?'' Of course, we remembered all about it. Well, this was another or Jem's dodges, i and a rum one, too. Jem ome turned up with a new jumper at a small steeplechase meeting. A bay colt he was, with a white face and four white stockings. He was a big and good-looking enough, hut rather I troubled with the slows and sometimes he wouldn't jump, anu then again it seemed as if he couldn't. Not a promising customer for that line of business, eh He didn't win, I needn't tell you, but Jem wasn't bit down-hearted. He kept entering Bustard —that was the coifs name—at all sorts of meetings, and running him, too but the beast never made any sort of show. Mostly he fell at the first fence, or else refused it but now and then, when he was on extrn, ood behaviour, he got over the obstacles ill right, but couldn't raise a gallop for the run home. A heart-breaking sort of animal should call him. The boys in the ring used to have no STid of fun over Jem Corby and Bustard. Suppose you think they'll all fall 3ome day—eh, Jem,' one would say. Oh, Jem knows what he's about,' another would chime in, he's only throwing dust in the handicapper's eyes. One of these days he'll come out and win the Grand National with him, and break us all.' Then they IVvuid ask jein to back his horse, and offer him all sorts of extravagant prices, but Jem only laughed, and said the stake was good enough for him. •' Now, I couldn't make this business out at all. There was nothing or the Simple Simon about Jem—not by no manner of means: and it was pretty clear to me that he wouldn't keep on paying entrance fees, and bearing the cost of sending the horse round to meeting after meeting, unless he could see his way to getting his money back with interest. I felt certain that J em was playing a deep game, but it turned out deeper than ever I imagined by a long sight. I asked no questions, you may be sure, for Jem never took a living soui into his confi- dence, and besides, as we were old pals, I knewlie would not forget me when there was a bit of the ready to be collared. Well, in course of time the entries for the Great Lansdown Steeplechase came out. and among them was Mr James Corby's Bns?ard. There was laughing a?d chaffing no end, to be sure, and thj boys said Jem must have goue right off h)s head, for he'd never had a shy at an evect of t!us class before. The Lansdown Chase was one of the biggest jumping contest of the early spring, and all the best cross councvy cattle were entered in it. There were a lotof us—jockeys,trainers, bookmakers, and all that—at the Saddle Hotel in Birmingham one night. The Four Oaks meeting was on the go then, and we had been to the steeplechases. We were enjoying ourselves after dinner, when who should come in but Jem Corby. I think I mentioned before that he had a little place in Shropshire, a quiet, out-of-the-way spot, with not a tout within 50 miles—suited him down to the ground. He had been to the meeting, too, but, for a wonder, had left the white stockinged colt at home. The moment he put his nose inside the ioor there was a genial yell of—' Whatpvice Bustard T Jem grinned pleasantly, and sat down. 1 Well, old chap, is Bustard going to hava his head loose at last I' ;aid a big jovial bookninker, Alf Ha re!tela by name. 14 1 Wlien asked Jem. '()h, tw the big race at Lansdown, of course. Well, he might have depends on the weight. v L ,4 It won't be above 12st 71b,' I put in. 011, they'll put him in a class by him- self,' said a smart young jockey 6st, and a quarter of a mile start.' Jem looked at him in a pitying sort of way. Poor little chap,' he says, if what I know and what you don't know were put to- gether. what a devil of a lot it would make.' < Well, but look here, said Hare- field, 4 let's do a bit- of business. I've begged you to back that white-legged colt scores and scores of times, and yoti iiever dare to have a penny on him. Now, can two have a deal ? I'll lay a good price, and if he gets over ten stone it s no oet. 4 What do you call a ,,ooet price ?' asked Jem. 11 4 Well,' said HarcheJd, with a wink to the company, 4 considering the animal's high class and brilliant performances, 1 really couldn't offer more than ifve-and- twenty to one.' ,"They'll lay double that if he sees the post,' says Jem. After a lot of playful haggling it ended in Jem getting a thousand to ten from Hareiield, and he booked the same odds with two other lieldars, who said they wanted to be in at the good thing. Before we broke up I managed to get a word with Tom oii the quiet. I said, 4 what's the game ? Well,1 he said, looking me straight- in the eyes, afraid to risk a tenner you had better fellow my example. Those chaps are eager to lay, but I don't care about taking any more to-night.' Oh, ho t sayi 1, it's business, then?' 44 4 Yes,' he says, it is business, but only do what I've told you for the present, and don't open your mouth about it till you see me at Lansdown. Now, Jem had never put one wrong in his life, and though it required some swal- lowing, I took li"- advice and got a 1,000 to 10 about Bustard for the Lansdown Steeple- chase. Onthefaceofit.iswasthesilliest thing I ever did in my life, for, on any form he'd ever shown it wasn't a thousand to one I but a million to one against the horse. But then, you see, I had a rare belief in Jem. u Well, time passed on. and the day of the race drew nigh. There was some betting on it, but Bustard's name was never mentioned. He was among the bottom lot, at ten stone, as w3 expected. I wasn't particularly anxious about my bet, though I should have been glad to hedge I t, if I'd had the chance, but I must say I was con- sumed with curiosity to know what wonder- ful transformation Corby had made in his horse to give him a ghost of a chance of wrmmng. I kept looking out for Jem on the day of the race. but never caught ight of him tlU the jockeys were weighing out for the big j steeplechase. Then he was so busy he could hardly spare me a minute. I Well,' said I, do you think you have a chance V 'Chance be b.owed he says, it's a bloom in' certainty.' "I stared at him open-mouthed. It was enough to knock anyone silly. Yes, you ma}' stare,' he says. 4 but you'll be wiser in a few minutes. Go and back Bustard to win you a fortune.' And with that he turned away. Well, I felt very sorry for Jem. for, to I Veil you the truth, I believed he had gone right off his nut. 4 4 4 Ah, poor c'i,,iT),, I thought, you'll have a bitter wakening before ll)n.' 44 It never entered my head to put any more money 01\, you may be sure. Indeed, I should liAve been glad to save my tenner if there had been a chance, but there wasn't, 50 weat up to see the race. Tho distance was three miles and a half, with plenty of big jur&ps, and I naturally iroked to see Bustard fall or refuse early on, as usul. nut he did nothing of the sort. The horse was going freely and well, and tymz the crudes like a bird. Jumping J>hosph«»v I exclaimed, that can never 03 BLi.-it-irtl But it Was, right enough. There were the conspicuous markings, die white face and the four white stocking, but he had never before galloped or jumoed like that to my knowledge. I began calling myself a fat head for not taking Jem advice. Hiif riile fron: home there were only fciree ia it, and one of thom was Bustard. When it came to the straight run in I expected to see him drop out, tor he never had any pace to speak of. and you could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw the horse that had been a standing joke to us for so long walk right away from the two smartest chasers in training, and win in a common canter Then there was a regular scene in the ring. Some of the bad-tempered ones called •Tem all the ugly names they could think of, but mos t of th em cheered him heartily, though there was scarcely one that he hadn'-t nailed tor a long shot. They said he had worked the oracle properly and deserved to win. I saw him for a moment after the race. 'Weil,' he said, 41 hope you've raked it in.' Haven't I just,' said I, for I didn't dare to tell him the truth but didn't I curse myself for being so obstinate. Still I had a thousand quid to draw, which was a long way better than nothing. 44 Now, or coursc, vre all thought that Jem had just hacked Bustard about to make people believe lie was no use, and that he'd never had his head lose till he ran at Lands- down but Jem was most original in his roguery, and would have scorned to make anything by a commonplace romp. The real facts were quite different. 44 Happening to meet Bustard's owner some time afterwards, I asked him casually what had become of the horse. he s:1.id.. I sold him to go abroad after he won at Lansdown.' I'm surprised at said I 'I ex- pectect to hear of you clearing the board with him.' he said, carelessly, 'I won a good stake and I was satisfied.' Not you,' says I, I know you better than that. Come, Jem, there's more in this than meets the eve -out with it 4 Well, to tell you the truth,' he says, 4 T wanted him out of the country, and I had good reasons for it.' "After a good deal of coaxing I got him to tell me the ins and outs of the affair, I and to put you out of suspense I may as well tell you at once that the winner of the great i ansdown Steeplechase wasn't Bus tard at all "The fact was that Bustard was just a big, good looking, useless horse, and Jem soon found out that he was never likely to pay his corn bill. But, as it happened, when Jem had about got sick of him, he was over in the South of Ireland, attending a local meeting, when, among the winners, he saw a horse that was the very living image of Bustard. In size, shape, and colour they were identical, the only difference being that the Irish horse had but three white stockings, whereas Bus- tard had four. But, as Jem said, a few dabs of paint would soon make that right. It turned out that the colts were half-brothers of the same ae-from one sire, but different dams. But there was a wide difference in merit. Bustard's brother was a splendid II fencer, and could gallop with the best of them. Every detail of a most glorious plant came into my mind all in a moment,' said J ern. and I bouorht the horse there and then. arranging with the owner to keep him fur the present, and send him over to Liver- pool when required.' Jetii played hi. !ime out, till the name of Bustard became a laughing stock. But shortly before Lansdowii lie set olf one morning with Bustard, on pretence -)f going to a meeting, and sold the horse to a farmer in a remote part af the country. He would make a good hunter, Jem told the man, when he had a little more patience, and he was easy about the price. Then he went on to Liverpool, where his Irish purchase had arrived, and when he got home again not a soul about the place ever knew about the substitution."

ISWANSEA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,

LAST NIGHT'S " GAZETTE "I

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