WHEN Matchbox galloped home the winner of the Cesarewitch by five lengths, William was lying in his bed, seemingly at death's door. He had remained out late one evening, had caught cold, and his mouth was constantly filled with blood. He was much worse, and could hardly take notice of the good news. When he revived a little he said, 'It has come too late.' But when Chasuble was backed to win thousands at ten to one, and journeyman and Stack assured him that the stable was quite confident of being able to pull it off, his spirits revived. He spoke of hedging. 'If,' he said to Esther, 'I was to get out at eight or nine to one I should be able to leave you something, you know, in case of accidents.' But he would not entrust laying off his bet to either Stack or Journeyman; he spoke of a cab and seeing to it himself. If he did this the doctor assured him that it would not much matter whether Chasuble won or lost. 'The best thing he could do,' the doctor said, 'would be to become an indoor patient at once. In the hospital he would be in an equable temperature, and he would receive an attention which he could not get at home.'
William did not like going into the hospital; it would be a bad omen. If he did, he felt sure that Chasuble would not win.
'What has going or not going to the hospital to do with Chasuble's chance of winning the Cambridgeshire?' said the doctor. 'This window is loose in its sash, a draught comes under the door and if you close out the draughts the atmosphere of the room becomes stuffy. You're thinking of going abroad; a fortnight's nice rest is just what you want to set you up for your journey.'
So he allowed himself to be persuaded; he was taken to the hospital, and Esther remained at home waiting for the