'Do you know them all?' said William.
'I think so, guv'nor.'
'Be careful to bet with no one you don't know; but I'm so bad I can hardly speak.'
'Much better send them away,' said Esther.
'Then they'll go somewhere else.'
'It won't matter; they'll come back to where they're sure of their money.'
'I'm not so certain of that,' William answered, feebly. 'I think it will be all right, Teddy; you'll be very careful.'
'Yes, guv'nor, I'll keep down the price.'
ONE afternoon Fred Parsons came into the bar of the 'King's Head.' He wore the cap and jersey of the Salvation Army; he was now Captain Parsons. The bars were empty. It was a time when business was slackest. The morning's betting was over, the crowd had dispersed, and would not collect again until the Evening Standard came in. Fred looked round and rapped with his stick, but nobody answered. William had gone for a walk, the potman was at work in the backyard, and Esther was sewing in the parlour; but she had just left the room. And, unable to make anybody hear, Parsons began to ask himself if the house was empty and anybody could come in and drink as much as he pleased without paying for it.
'Oh, it is you, Fred,' and she stood looking at him, surprised by his uniform. 'So you are in the Army?'
'Yes, I've joined up,' he answered; 'but I was always in it in spirit from the beginning, as I think you know.'
She wondered what he had come about.
'Is your husband in?' he asked. 'If he is, I should like to speak to him.'