'Do you listen much to the betting talk here of an evening?' Sarah asked, as she was leaving.

'I don't pay much attention, but I can't help hearing a good deal.'

'Do they talk much about Ben Jonson for the Cesare- witch?'

'They do, indeed; he's all the go.'

Sarah's face brightened perceptibly, and Esther said:

'Have you backed him?'

'Only a trifle; half a crown that a friend put me on. Do they say he'll win?'

'They say that if he don't break down he'll win by 'alf a mile; it all depends on his leg.'

'Is he coming on in the betting?'

'Yes, I believe they're now taking 12 to 1 about him. Blit I'll ask William, if you like.'

'No, no; I only wanted to know if you'd heard anything new.'


CHAPTER XXXVII

DURING the next fortnight Sarah came several times to the 'King's Head.' She came in about nine in the evening, and stayed for half an hour or more. The object of her visit was to see Esther, but she declined to come into the private bar, where they would have chatted comfortably, and remained in the public bar listening to the men's conversation, listening and nodding while old John explained the horse's staying power to her. On the following evening all her interest was in Ketley. She wanted to know if anything had happened that might be considered as an omen. She said she had dreamed about the race, but her dream was only a lot of foolish rubbish without head or tail. Ketley argued earnestly against this view of a serious subject, and in the hope of

-311-

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