taken not to bet with anyone who has not been properly introduced, frightened her; but her fears died in the sensation of his arm about her waist, and the music that the striking of a match had put to flight began in her heart, and it rose to its height when his face bent over hers.


CHAPTER VII

THE Barfield reckoning was that they had a stone in hand. Mr. Leopold said that Bayleaf at seven stone would be backed to win a million of money, and Silver Braid, who had been tried again with Bayleaf, and with the same result as before, had been let off with only six stone.

More rain had fallen, the hay crop was spoilt, and the prospects of the wheat harvest were jeopardised, but what did a few bushels of wheat matter? Another pound of muscle was worth all the corn that could be grown between here and Henfield. Let the rain come down, let every ear of wheat be destroyed, so long as those delicate forelegs remained sound. These were the ethics at Woodview, and within the last few days they were accepted by the little town and not a few of the farmers, grown tired of seeing their crops rotting on the hillsides. The fever of the gamble was in eruption, breaking out in unexpected places--the station--master, the porters, the flymen, all had their bit on, and notwithstanding the enormous favouritism of two other horses in the race-- Prisoner and Stoke Newington--Silver Braid was creeping up in the betting, for reports of trials won had reached Brighton, and with the result that not more than five-and- twenty to one could now be obtained.

An alarming piece of news it was that the Demon had gone up several pounds in weight, and the strictest investigation was made as to when and how he had obtained the food required to produce such a mass of adipose tissue. The

-47-

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